The Medicinal And Immune Boosting Properties of Elderberry - BodyHealth.com LLC

The Medicinal And Immune Boosting Properties of the Elderberry

by Dr. David Minkoff April 23, 2020 3 min read

The Medicinal And Immune Boosting Properties of the Elderberry

The Immune Boosting Benefits Of Elderberry 

Elderberry is a medicinal plant, used by many cultures through the centuries for its astounding health benefits. The ancient Egyptians used the berries to heal burns and aid the complexion, while the Native Americans used it to treat infections. [1]

Elderberry has also been used for centuries as a folk medicinal cure to relieve headaches, nerve pain, and dental pain. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, called elderberry “nature’s medicine chest,” with berries, bark, and leaves, each having powerful medicinal properties.

In modern times, the questions have become “How can it help me?” and “What is the easiest and best way to get it?”

The answer is more straightforward than you might imagine. But first, let’s review some background information on this wonderful, health-inducing berry.

What is Elderberry?

Elderberries are the fruit of the Sambucus tree. The berries appear in umbrella-shaped clusters on trees or bushes across North America, Central America, and Europe. Over the centuries, the berries have been used by countless cultures in the preparation of syrups, wines, jellies, pies, and healing tinctures. [2]

The berries themselves have a sweet, tart taste that balances nicely with the earthy flavor. When you combine the nice flavor with the medicinal properties, it’s no wonder that this berry is a popular base for foods and drinks.

What’s the secret?

The secrets to elderberry’s benefits lie in the berry’s significant antioxidant and antiviral properties. [3] An in vivo (in a live organism) and in vitro (in glass) clinical trial supports the healing properties of elderberry to ward off or treat viral flu infections. The bioactive compounds in elderberry include:

  • Free and conjugated amino acids
  • Unsaturated fatty acids
  • Vitamins A and C
  • Potassium
  • Folate (a B vitamin the body needs to make DNA and other genetic material) [4]
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Polyphenols
  • Phenolic acids
  • Anthocyanins (reduces sinus inflammation associated with flu or cold viruses)

Research Reveals the Facts

With the known health benefits in mind, countless clinical trials have been done to test the efficacy of elderberry. The results have been quite incredible, including:

  • In one research study, 60 subjects suffering from flu-like symptoms took elderberry syrup four times a day, with symptoms subsiding four days earlier than those given the placebo. [4]
  • Another study had subjects with flu-like symptoms taking elderberry lozenges four times a day for two days. Headache, fever, muscle aches, and congestion all improved within 24 hours. [4]
  • A Norwegian randomized study of elderberry extract to treat flu viruses A and B found that subjects recovered four days earlier with a far lower need for rescue medications. [7]

The Immune-Boosting Magic of Elderberry

Research indicates that elderberry boosts the immune response in the body, staving off the symptoms of colds, flu, and other viruses. It does this in two ways:

  • Providing vitamins and minerals that your body needs to produce and maintain the cells and function of the immune system itself, and
  • Acting as an effective antioxidant (see more below)

Elderberry as an Antioxidant

A free radical is an oxygen molecule with an unpaired electron, which means it tends to “steal” electrons from other molecules. Free radicals can be useful in the body in fighting off pathogens, but they must be balanced with enough antioxidants to avoid an overload in your system.

This condition of an unbalance between free radicals and antioxidants is called oxidative stress, and this stress causes the free radicals to attack your cells in what is called lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation damages the cell and begins a chain reaction of tissue damage. This unwanted process can trigger the onset of asthma, Parkinson’s disease, kidney damage, IBD, atherosclerosis, as well as many other diseases and health conditions. [6]

So, to summarize: Elderberry helps neutralize free radicals and avoid cellular damage that can cause severe illnesses and health conditions.

Elderberry and Respiratory Conditions

Elderberry has been found to loosen mucus so it can be expelled through coughing rather than becoming lodged in the lungs, which leads to the onset of pneumonia or bronchitis.

Long flights stress the respiratory system, with unhealthy air circulating throughout the plane cabin. As a result, many travelers develop a cold or upper respiratory symptoms after taking an international flight. A research study on air passengers found the duration of these symptoms was dramatically reduced in people who took an elderberry preparation. [8]

Scientific evidence supports that the chemicals in elderberries help to reduce the swelling in mucous membranes, sinuses, and relieve nasal congestion. [9]


References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/elderberry
  2. https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ncnu07/pdfs/charlebois284-292.pdf
  3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.2729
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323288
  5. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-Consumer/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10459507
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080016
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4848651/
  9. http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=107&pid=33&gid=002880