Could understanding Elderberry help you get through cold & flue season this year?Elderberry refers to several different varieties of the Sambucus tree. The most commonly used in nutritional supplements is Sambucus nigra, also known as the European elderberry or black elderberry. Various parts of the elderberry plant have been used throughout history for medicinal and culinary purposes. Hippocrates (often referenced as the father of medicine) called elderberry a medicine chest because of its seemingly endless health benefits and usability.
For hundreds of years people have been using teas and syrups made from elderberry to fight upper respiratory infections and boost immunity. So, should we be adding elderberry into our diets during cold and flu season?
Elderberry supplements include syrups, gummies, lozenges, pills and teas. These are believed to work by supplying the body with antioxidants and boosting your natural immune response. Elderberries have twice the natural antioxidant capacity of blueberries and significantly more than cranberries. Some studies found that elderberry has been shown to reduce the severity and length of the flu. One study of 60 people with influenza found that those who took 15ml of elderberry syrup four times per day showed symptom improvement in two to four days, while the control group took seven to eight days to improve.
For most people, it wouldn’t hurt to include elderberry as a part of a healthy diet as we navigate cold and flu season, along with foods and supplements high in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin E, to support the immune system. Make sure you check with your doctor or healthcare professional that the product is right for you. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are not recommended to take elderberry.