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8 Health Benefits of Elderberry

by | Apr 29, 2021 | Adaptogens, Defense, Health & Wellness, Immune System Support

You might have noticed that elderberry has been trending recently. This is because of its boasted immune-boosting and antiviral properties. You can now find elderberry commercially in supplements, syrup, lozenges, beverages, wine, jam, baked goods and tea! Elderberry has actually been around for centuries dating back to the times of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. It has commonly been used as medicine or food in different cultures around the world. In Turkey, elderberry is referred to as “mother physician” due to its wide range of touted health benefits. Here are some of the incredible health benefits of elderberry backed up by scientific studies.

elderberry tea being poured into a glass
elderberry mojito with a bottle of defense in the background

What is Elderberry?

Elderberry comes from a flowering plant native to North America. The leaves, flowers and fruit of the elderberry plant are harvested for commercial use. However, the fruit is most commonly used in herbal supplements. Elderberry is typically used for cold and flu but it can be taken regularly as well. It is recommended to take for up to 12 weeks and the doses vary based on the type of supplement. Never consume raw elderberries because they are poisonous and always consult a licensed health care practitioner before starting a new supplement routine.

Health Benefits of Elderberry

  • Rich in Antioxidants
  • Full of Beneficial Nutrients
  • Helps Fight Cold & Flu
  • Supports Skin Health
  • May Improve Exercise Performance
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • May Aid in Weight Loss & Prevent Obesity
  • Supports Heart Health
elderberry jam, tea and fresh elderberry

1. Rich in Antioxidants

Elderberry gets many of its health benefits from the antioxidants in it. Specifically, it’s polyphenols, anthocyanins and phenolic acids. Antioxidants may prevent and treat certain diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and diseases that affect the brain.

2. Full of Beneficial Nutrients

Elderberries are high in vitamin C, dietary fibre, vitamin A, iron, vitamin B6 and potassium. One cup of elderberries contains 87% of your daily dose of vitamin C and about 30% of your daily dietary fibre intake. Vitamin C helps with tissue repair, collagen formation, iron absorption, immune system function and healthy bones and teeth. Dietary fibre helps improve digestion, prevents constipation, improves bowel function, lowers blood cholesterol and supports heart health.

3. Helps Fight Cold & Flu

Elderberry has antibacterial and antiviral properties meaning it can help fight multiple strains of flu viruses, bacteria and pathogens. It may also help reduce symptoms and severity of the herpes simplex virus and boost immune system function for people with HIV/AIDS.

 There are many studies to date that showcase elderberries antiviral properties. In one study, the participants were given elderberry syrup within 48 hours of having flu symptoms. They made a full recovery in 2-4 days, while the control group took 7-8 days to make a full recovery. The study also found that the participants given elderberry used fewer cold medications/aids. 

 In another study, participants were given elderberry extract in the form of lozenges. Their symptoms (headache, fever, muscle aches, nasal congestion) began to improve within 24 hours, while the control group showed worsening symptoms over 48 hours. 

 Upper respiratory infections are often treated with antibiotics, but there are some safety concerns, or they aren’t always effective. The most common cause of an upper respiratory infection is a virus, which can’t be cured with antibiotics. Your body will naturally fight a virus over time. Antibiotics simply help relieve the symptoms. Supplementation with elderberry may be a natural solution and help relieve upper respiratory tract infections. 

 Elderberry may also help in the prevention of influenza. This could make it incredibly valuable for viral infections that do not have a current treatment or immunization, like the Covid-19 virus. Since the pandemic started, some scientists have begun to look at how adaptogens, including elderberry, may help boost the immune system in the treatment and prevention of the Covid-19 virus, but further research is needed.

dried elderberry next to some other herbs

4. Supports Skin Health

When applied topically, elderberry extract could help protect your skin from UV rays, reduce acne, relieve eczema, aid wound healing and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Consumption of elderberries can also benefit your skin health because of the nutrients in them. Vitamin C and vitamin A are both essential parts of good skin health.

5. May Improve Exercise Performance

Supplementation of elderberry extract before exercising may be able to protect the cells in your body from damage caused by the physical stress of exercise. This would reduce recovery time post-workout from muscle aches and inflammation. Physical performance during exercise could also benefit. Elderberry has the potential to decrease fatigue and improve circulatory functions, like oxygen and blood flow.

6. Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation happens in the body for several reasons. Exercising, allergies, exposure to toxins, stress, smoking, sleeping problems, age, and obesity all can cause inflammation. It’s your body’s normal defence response, and it is what helps your body heal. However, chronic inflammation could become a problem for your health. It has been linked to more serious health concerns, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, arthritis and Alzheimers. Elderberry has been proven to have potent anti-inflammatory effects in the body.

7. May Aid in Weight Loss & Prevent Obesity

Chronic inflammation contributes to obesity and its related diseases. There are over the counter options for people suffering from obesity, but some have undesirable side effects. This makes foods rich in antioxidants a valuable alternative in the prevention or treatment of obesity. In one study, elderberry was able to reduce weight gain, lower body fat percentage and lower cholesterol levels. 

There is also a connection between the immune system and metabolism. Immune cell function is what determines your metabolic rate. Your metabolism is what regulates and stores energy. Then your immune system uses that energy to function properly. This means the immune system could play a part in regulating body weight.

8. Supports Heart Health

Studies show that dietary anthocyanins may reduce your risk of heart disease. Anthocyanins are a type of antioxidant found in elderberries that give them their rich colour. Consuming foods rich in anthocyanins may be able to lower blood pressure, blood fat and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. All of which are considered risk factors for developing heart disease.

*** Disclaimer: The content on this website (Thrive Remedies) is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended or suitable in place of advice from your health care practitioner or licensed physician. The information and products on this website should not be used for diagnosing, treating, curing or preventing a health problem, you should always consult a health care provider or licensed physician for advice. ***

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