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Elderberry for Colds and Influenza

Posted on 26 September 2015


Elderberry is a natural remedy that has been used for centuries to treat common illnesses such as the cold and flu, as well as allergies, inflammation, and sinus infection, and even for topical treatment of wounds. Today, modern scientific studies have substantiated many of the traditionally believed benefits of Elderberry. We now know it is rich in anti-viral compounds, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and immune boosting properties, as well as having diuretic and laxative effects, which can promote urine flow and alleviate constipation. Historically native to Europe, Africa, and some parts of Asia, it has since spread to North America and become widespread in the United States, where it can be gathered in the wild.

Health Benefits & Uses

Elderberry is currently used by many people for treating a variety of illnesses, as well as to promote general immune health:


Influenza

Through scientific research we now know that the anti-viral property of elderberry comes from its rich flavonoid content, which binds to viruses and inhibits them from invading your cells. As such, a number of studies have shown that treatments made from elderberry are highly effective at reducing the time flu and cold symptoms are experienced by several days if taken within the first 24-48 hours after the onset of illness. For instance, in one Norwegian double blind study, researchers found that patients who received elderberry syrup were relieved of influenza symptoms on average 4 days earlier than the placebo control group. Elderberry is now accepted by medical science as a safe, highly effective, and low-cost natural treatment for influenza and colds.

Immune System Booster

In addition to helping treat specific illnesses such as virus and infection, Elderberry is great for promoting general health by boosting your immune system. This is because elderberry increases the production of infection-fighting cytokines, which help regulate your body’s immune response to pathogens. This means elderberry may actually be better in some ways at protecting you from viruses like flu than vaccines. Whereas vaccines only protect you from one or two strains of influenza, elderberry gives your body the boost it needs to fight many types of infection.

Safety

However, in disclaimer, it is important to note a number of safety considerations when taking Elderberry. If you are pregnant or breast feeding, you should avoid taking Elderberry. Likewise, if you are currently taking medications for the following: diuretics, diabetes, chemotherapy, laxatives, theophylline, or immune suppressants, you should consult your physician before taking elderberry. Also, Elderberry should never be eaten raw, as that can cause unwanted symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Only consume Elderberry if it has been cooked. Finally, Elderberry is best obtained through a qualified herbalist or herbal vendor, as a few species of Elderberry are actually toxic, and require expertise to discern which ones are safe. As always, if one is dealing with a serious illness, you should already be working with a qualified medical professional. In these cases, you should always consult your physician before taking herbal remedies such as Elderberry.

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