Elderberry: A Natural Defender Against Cold and Flu Symptoms?
Elderberry, a plant native to Europe, North America and Western Asia, is a medicinal powerhouse that has gained popularity for its potent immune-boosting properties. Reputedly utilized by Hippocrates – the “father of medicine” – elderberry has an impressive history of health benefits and, today, is most sought after for its potential in managing the symptoms of cold and flu.
2. Overview of Elderberry
An unassuming Elderberry plant showcases clusters of small white or cream-colored flowers in late spring, succeeded by bunches of small, dark purple berries in late summer and fall. The most commonly used variant, the European Elder (sambucus nigra), has been researched extensively for its health benefits.
The beneficial impact of this tiny berry is vast. It’s often used to soothe headaches, support heart health, and even relieve constipation. However, its immune-boosting properties are likely what has cemented its place in the natural health community.
3. The Impact of Elderberry on Health
Elderberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that may boost our immune system. Certain compounds in elderberry could directly inhibit the virus’s entry and replication in human cells and are rich in anthocyanins, which are a type of flavonoid – antioxidants that can help strengthen the immune system.
4. Elderberry and Its Role in Cold and Flu Management
Despite our best efforts, the common cold and flu occasionally breach our defenses, leaving us searching desperately for relief. Elderberry could be the key to unlocking a faster recovery. Several studies suggest that elderberry could reduce the severity and length of cold and flu.
In one study from 2016, 312 air travelers were given capsules containing 300 mg of elderberry extract, and fewer symptoms were observed in those who used elderberry than in the placebo group.
5. Guidelines for Using Elderberry
Elderberry extract is available in many forms, including syrups, lozenges, pills, and gummies. For fighting colds or flu, a common recommendation is to take 1–2 tablespoons of an elderberry syrup extract four times a day. But it’s important to note, as with any supplement, potential adverse effects may exist. Please talk to your healthcare provider before adding anything new to your regimen.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
Can I consume raw elderberries? – Raw or improperly cooked elderberries can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, due to the naturally occurring lectins they contain.
Are there any side effects to elderberry? – Elderberry is considered safe for most people when properly cooked and consumed in reasonable amounts. However, it’s always wise to consult your healthcare provider first.
Shortening the lifespan of your common cold or reducing the severity of your flu symptoms, Elderberry is a powerful, natural defender against these ailments. It’s definitely something worth considering as a part of your overall strategy for maintaining good health, especially during the flu season.