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Respect Your Elders: Elderberry Benefits

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Elderberries are a dark, purplish sour berry harvested from Sambucus nigra "elder" trees from the late summer to autumn for their health benefits.

Elder trees have a long history in European folklore and magic. The tree was so revered that it was thought to have magical powers. According to legends, it could be used to ward off evil spirits and protect against evil spells.

The elder tree was also believed to possess healing properties. It was often used to make ointments and tinctures that were said to help relieve pain and heal wounds.

In recent years, the elderberry plant and its fruits have been making a comeback in the health and wellness scene, as more people have become interested in their potential health benefits.

Today, you can find elderberry supplementation (elderberry juice, extract, and pills) for cold and flu symptoms, to support the immune system, and for its nutritional benefits. Dried elderberries and flowers are commonly used in teas and other preparations that are said to support heart health, normal blood sugar levels, and treat colds.

While there isn't a lot of definitive research on these health benefits of elderberries yet, they do offer some unique qualities that could make them a valuable addition to supporting healthy lifestyles.

Keep reading to find out more about these little powerhouse berries!

Key Takeaways:

  • Elderberries come from the Sambucus nigra "elder" trees that have a long history of use in Europe for food and medicine.
  • Elderberries are full of antioxidants and flavonoids that are said to contribute to health benefits that strengthen the immune system and protect against certain viral infections.
  • While the research on the benefits of elderberry is promising, further research is needed to fully understand its potential.
  • Adding elderberry to your CBD regimen can have a number of benefits as they have complementary effects on the immune system.
  • Eating too much elderberry can cause digestional upset and it should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women. If you're on medication, you should speak with your doctor before adding a new supplement to your wellness regimen.

This Age-Old Cold And Flu Remedy May Also Have Other Health Benefits

real elderberry, elder, spring

The tart fruit of the Sambucus nigra "elder" tree is an age-old remedy for the cold and flu.

The medicinal components of raw elderberries include anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants believed to support the immune system and protect cells from free-radical damage. Its flavonoids and flavonol esters may have potential anti-inflammatory actions, and anti-viral activity against certain strains of influenza virus [1, 2].

While fresh elderberries aren't widely available (or palatable), you can find elderberry syrup, cough medicines, lozenges, and capsules in health stores when cold and flu season hits.

In addition to its use to ease cold and flu symptoms, there is also some evidence to suggest that elderberry may be helpful for supporting arthritis and gastrointestinal issues [1]. However, more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits.

How To Use Elderberries & Dosages

Raw elderberry is actually quite tart and has a sharp flavor that can be difficult to enjoy on its own. It's no surprise, then, that the raw berries are often prepared as a syrup or tea before being taken for their health benefits.

Elderberry Syrup

elder, blossoms, raspberries

If you're lucky enough to have a bountiful harvest of fresh elderberries, you may be wondering what to do with them all.

One delicious option is to make elderberry syrup. The first step is to wash the berries and remove any stems. Next, place the berries in a pot with water and bring to a boil.

Once the raw berries are soft, mash them and then strain out the solids. To the remaining liquid, add an equal amount of sugar, honey, or maple syrup and stir until dissolved.

When used in this way, the tart berries are mellowed out by sweeteners. Many people will take a healthy spoonful of the elderberry syrup and allow it to coat the throat as a natural cough syrup. Or you can enjoy it on top of pancakes, yogurt, and oatmeal as a delicious treat.

Elderberry Juice

elder, elderberries, berry

This is another way to use raw berries if you have them on hand to take advantage of the dietary fiber and antioxidant benefits.

As we know, the raw berries have a very tart flavor on their own, but when paired with apples and bananas, it tastes delicious. Rather than throwing all the ingredients into a juicer, we recommend blending them with water to take advantage of the dietary fiber in your fruits.

You can also purchase elderberry juice concentrates online and in health food stores if you don't have access to fresh berries.

Elderberry Extract

Oral elderberry extract comes in the form of tinctures and capsules that contain a concentrated form of antioxidants and flavonoids.

One of the benefits of taking elderberry extract to syrups and juices is that you can get exact doses of the active ingredients that have been investigated for their health benefits.

While most people can tolerate preparations of the elderberry plant, consuming too much can have adverse effects due to its large concentration of lectins known to cause stomach discomforts. It's important that you follow the recommended dosing guide on your product.

What Should I Look For In A Good Elderberry Product For Health Benefits?

There are a lot of elderberry syrups and juices that aren't meant to have health benefits but add flavor to food and drinks—which isn't a bad thing, but they tend to be full of sugar and aren't as focused on preserving the phenolic acids, anthocyanins, and flavanols, which are the active compounds that hold health claims.

Elderberry-based remedies have the status of a dietary supplement, and cannot be used in medical situations as a treatment for an autoimmune disease or other conditions.

As supplements are not subject to rigorous testing or studies, quality may differ significantly. For the best quality products, only purchase supplements from trusted brands that prioritize sourcing quality elderberries and have information on how to leverage the products to make the most of their potential health benefits.

Safety Warnings

Elderberries are a delicious and nutritious fruit, but there are some safety concerns to be aware of before you start munching on them.

Most health care professionals believe that they are safe to consume in small quantities—unripe berries or raw berries can cause digestive upset.

There haven't been many studies conducted on the effects of elderberries on pregnant and breastfeeding women, so it's probably best to err on the side of caution and avoid them if you're in either of those groups.

Finally, parts of the elder tree (twigs, leaves, and roots) contain cyanide and are therefore toxic. So make sure you only eat the berries, and not any other parts of the plant!

Is it OK to take Elderberry Every Day?

Most people can tolerate and benefit from daily elderberry supplements, but you should not exceed your recommended dosage per day.

It's recommended that you consult with your health care practitioner if you plan on adding dietary supplements to your wellness regime alongside prescribed medications, or if you take the compound for longer than three months.

Possible Side Effects

Ripe, baked elderberries are generally safe if eaten in moderate amounts.

However, like all remedies, it comes with a few potential side effects. The most common side effect of elderberry is gastrointestinal distress, which can include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Other possible side effects include headaches, dizziness, and fever. While these side effects are rare and generally mild, they can be quite unpleasant.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the side effects of elderberry.

First, be sure to start with a low dose and increase gradually as needed.

Second, take elderberry with food or immediately after eating to help prevent nausea. And finally, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

The Benefit Of CBD & Elderberry Combined

When it comes to natural remedies, there are few plants as versatile or beneficial as elderberry.

This versatile herb boasts a range of wellness benefits, from its anti-oxidant and antiviral potential But in addition to these amazing benefits, some experts have also found that elderberry can be even better when combined with CBD—the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis.

Not only does CBD work synergistically with elderberry's natural compounds, but it is also believed to enhance their effects, helping you feel better faster and more naturally.

So if you're looking for an easy way to boost your health and wellbeing, why not try our limited edition bundle, Elderberry with CBD.

After all, the combination is sure to make you feel better from head to toe!

The Takeaway: Health Benefits Of Elderberry

Elderberry extract is a natural remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments.

The elderberry plant is native to Europe and North America, and the berries have been traditionally used to make jams, pies, and wines. Elderberry extract is made by boiling the berries in water and then straining off the solids.

The resulting liquid contains a high concentration of flavonoids, which are thought to have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Elderberry extract is commonly taken as a supplement to boost immunity and alleviate cold symptoms, but it is also said to be effective against other respiratory infections, such as sinusitis and bronchitis. While many of the listed health benefits of elderberry are promising, more research is needed to understand its effectiveness for these conditions.

When choosing an elderberry supplement, only purchase from trusted brands that are transparent about the source of their ingredients and provide responsible information for its safety and use.

Resources:

  1. Ağalar, H. G. (2019). Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.). In Nonvitamin and Nonmineral Nutritional Supplements (pp. 211-215). Academic Press.
  2. Porter, R. S., & Bode, R. F. (2017). A review of the antiviral properties of black elder (Sambucus nigra L.) products. Phytotherapy Research, 31(4), 533-554.

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