Elderberries are derived from the European Black Elderberry plant, which can be found all around the world. Although there are many different subspecies of the Elderberry shrub, both the berries and the flowers of the plant are always beneficial.
The use of these berries is a common part in a number of traditional medicines, due to the antioxidants they contain as well as their powerful anti-inflammatory properties. However, the health benefits do not stop there. In the text below, we will show you additional benefits of regular consumption of elderberries.
Elderberries Can Prevent Cold and Flu
According to a study done in 2011, eating black elderberry can inhibit the replication of influenza A and B viruses. It was also proven to assist in killing off bacteria known to cause upper respiratory problems.
Consuming elderberries can fight off the cold and the flu and relieve symptoms for those that already have the cold or the flu. The researchers found that symptoms were relieves 4 years earlier on average when compared to the use of conventional medications.
Part of the reason for this ability to combat the cold and flu symptoms is that elderberries work at the cellular level, protecting the body. Specifically, they inhibit inflammation and boost the immunity.
An Ancient Panacea
The medicinal use of elderberry dates back to ancient times, when it has been used as a multi-purpose treatment. In 400 BC, Hippocrates referred to the elderberry bush as hish ‘medicine chest’ due to the wide area of uses.
How it Works
Scientists have isolated antivirin, the active compound in the elderberry, which can be found in the proteins of the black elderberry. This compound prevents flu virus from invading the membranes of healthy cells.
The main flavonoids present in elderberries are the anthocyanins cyanidin 3-glucoside and cyanidin 3-sambubioside, and are detectable in plasma after oral intake of elderberry extract. A possible mechanism of action of elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza is that the flavonoids stimulate the immune system by enhancing production of cytokines by monocytes. In addition, elderberry has been shown to inhibit the haemagglutination of the influenza virus and thus prevent the adhesion of the virus to the cell receptors. Anthocyanins also have an antiinflammatory effect comparable to that of acetylsalicylic acid; this could explain the pronounced effect on aches, pain and fever seen in the group treated with elderberry syrup.
This is especially significant when it comes to something like the Avian flu, which according to the CDC, has a mortality rate of 60 percent in the 600 cases that were reported all around the world.
Since the first avian influenza outbreak, in 1997, there has been concern that the influenza A (H5N1) virus might either mutate and adapt to allow efficient transmission during the infection of mammals or reassort its gene segments with human influenza viruses during the coinfection of a single host, resulting in a new virus that would be both highly lethal and transmissible from person to person. Such events are believed to have preceded the influenza pandemics of 1918, 1957, and 1968. Several lines of evidence indicate that the currently circulating influenza A (H5N1) viruses have in fact evolved to more virulent forms since 1997, with a higher mortality among human cases, different antigenic properties, a different internal gene constellation,and an expanded host range.
According to 1995 study by Zacay-Rones , black elderberry was proven to be effective against the Avian flu, specifically Panama B strain.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
Elderberries can be consumed in many different ways, but the syrup recipe is without a doubt one of the simplest methods. By creating a warm juice, you help to activate the beneficial compounds in the berries.
To make the elderberry syrup, you will have to prepare the elderberries first. Clean the berries and place them in a saucepan, cover them with water and bring the saucepan to boil. After that, remove it from the heat and let the elderberries sit for a couple of hours. Finally, strain the liquid and store it.
Elderberry Syrup Ingredients:
- 16 ounces of elderberry liquid (using instruction from above)
- 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey
- Mix 16 oz of elderberry juice with 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
- Mix in a saucepan over medium heat
- Bring to boil and then simmer for about twenty minutes
- Remove from heat, stir in the raw honey, and drink the syrup while still warm
- Take the syrup every day to prevent cold and flu, or to alleviate the symptoms if you already have a cold or flu