Elderberries for Seasonal Discomfort
Holiday gatherings are centered around visiting with loved ones, but that also brings hidden hazards in the height of cold and flu season. Coughing, runny noses, fever, body aches and pains, congestion, sinus pressure and other symptoms can strike as influenza peaks between December and February.
Elderberries are known for boosting the immune system, as well as anthocyanidins, which are known to have immunostimulant, pharmacologic and anti-carcinogenic properties. Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, says, “Elderberries carry many health benefits, including major cold and flu relief, sinus infection aid, lowers blood sugar, natural diuretic, natural laxative, encourages healthy skin, eases allergies, may prevent cancer and improve heart health.”
Several studies confirm that the flavonoids in elderberries bind to the H1N1 human influenza virus, inhibiting it from reproducing. Scientists found that the H1N1 inhibition activities of the elderberry flavonoids are similar to the known anti-influenza activities of Tamiflu. The Journal of International Medical Research published a study that showed when elderberry was used within the first 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, it shortened the symptoms by an average of four days.
The government employed elderberry to ward off the flu during the 1995 Panama flu epidemic. Hippocrates, ancient Greek physician known as the “father of medicine” referred to elderberries as his “medicine chest” because they proved useful for so many health ailments.
Elderberry syrup is a natural alternative made with a powerhouse of ingredients from Mother Nature that naturally boosts the immune system. Due to elderberries’ naturally bitter taste, this syrup is a more popular and pleasant way to consume elderberries. The basic ingredients in most elderberry syrups are dried elderberries, a sweetener source and a mix of herbs.
Considerations when selecting an elderberry syrup include where the product is produced such as in a home kitchen or commercial facility and by whom; what consumer safety practices are used during the production and bottling of the product; ingredients and their quality; and whether the product is lab tested by a third party.