Friday, August 10, 2012

Respect Your Elder-berries

I have to be honest.   Elderberries, or Sambucus, are not one of the first berries that come to mind when I think “berries.”  But all of that is about to change.  It turns out the health benefits of elderberries are too awesome to be ignored.  According to those in the know at herbwisdom.com, the elderberry:
  • Is a powerful antioxidant
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Improves vision
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Improves heart health
This little berry can be taken and is effective for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections, and tonsillitis.  According to a study done in Norway and published at Pubmed.gov, a random study was done on influenza patients with the following results, "Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza."

elderberry health benefits
Elderberries - a hidden health fruit!
There are also herbalists that believe the chemicals in the black elderberry have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antiviral properties.  This is also reflected in the University of Maryland Medical Center article on elderberries.  The benefits of elderberry juice were even used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.  Who could argue with health information like that?

Elderberry health benefits can be found in drug stores and grocery stores and even the wine store in items like:
  • Elderberry cough syrup
  • Elderberry extract
  • Elderberry juice
  • Elderberry syrup
  • Elderberry tea
  • Elderberry wine
  • Elderberry jelly
The elderberries nutritional information is impressive.  Sambucus elderberry contains vitamins A, B, C and amino-acids.  Other elderberry benefits include carotenoids and flavonoids which have a huge impact on the immune system.  As a food there is a load of nutrition packed in these tiny little berries.  Like many berries with a deep rich color, such as these, some consider them a “Superfood.”

Although elderberries are a great source for vitamins, if you are taking medication of any kind, be sure to check with your pharmacist especially if you are looking for a flu or cold remedy.  It should not replace your medication without the supervision of your doctor and NEVER mix herbs with your medications or with other
elderberry syrup
Health benefits by the  bunch!

In the Natural

Elderberry plants are not actually plants, but more like a tree.  My sister grows one in her backyard, but they can also be found in the wild.  They typically grow where there is water nearby.

There are some cautions that come with this powerful little berry.  Black elderberry extract is considered safe when used for up to five days, but it’s not known what the effects are of taking elderberry juice extract for long periods of time.

The cooked elderberry fruit is safe for consumption.  But the raw and unripe fruit could cause nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea.  Only fully ripe or cooked berries are safe so don't pick it off the tree and eat it!     You should never eat the stems, unripe berries, or any other part of the elderberry plant.  But don’t let fear stop you from enjoying the elderberry syrup benefits or the elderberry juice benefits; it could be just what your body needs.

Gwendolyn Adams
First Level Raw Nutrition Certification
Advanced Practitioner of Health through Nutrition, Exercise, and Education
Yoga, Cycling, Group Exercise and Personal Trainer Certified

1 comment:

  1. elderberries share few values with spirulina powder that's make them unique and literally superfood

    ReplyDelete