Take elderberry to boost immunity

Clusters of black elderberry fruit in the garden.

Elderberry naturally boosts immunity and has incredible health benefits.

We’ve all had a rough case of the cold or flu and know how miserable that can be. Fortunately, nature provides healing remedies such as elderberry that may help us avoid getting sick or shortening the duration when illness strikes.

One of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world, elderberry refers to the fruit of the Sambucus tree. When taken at the onset of symptoms, this powerhouse has been found to reduce the duration of colds, the flu, allergies, sinus pain, inflammation and digestive issues.

Traditionally, Native Americans and ancient Egyptians have long used elderberry for its supposed range of health benefits and culinary purposes. Clusters of floral and light flowers and bunches of tart purple berries are still gathered and used in folk medicine across Europe and North America.

Today, elderberry is most often taken to boost immunity and to treat symptoms of respiratory infections related to the common cold and flu.

Dried berries are cooked down to make syrup, juice, nutritive jams, chutneys and wine. The flowers are often steeped to make teas or boiled with sweetner to make syrup.

Be cautious, however, as the bark, berries and leaves of the plant are poisonous in their raw state and should always be cooked first.

Commercial preparations of elderberry for the treatment of colds and flu come in various forms, including syrups, lozenges and gummies, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make your own!

Try this recipe for DIY elderberry syrup to boost immunity and discover the 6 Reasons Why Elderberry is Good for your Health.

6 Reasons Why Elderberry is Good for Your Health

1High in nutrients

Elderberries pack a nutritious punch, rich in vitamins and minerals. They’re low in calories and a great source of dietary fiber and antioxidants. Elderberries are packed with Vitamin C, containing 6 to 35 grams per 100 grams of fruit. That accounts for up to 60% of the recommended daily intake.

2Fights colds and flu

Black elderberry extracts have been shown to reduce the severity and duration of the flu, decrease pain and sinus inflammation and reduce symptoms of upper respiratory infections.

3Supports skin health

Elderberries hold a rich source of Vitamins A and C, each shown to retain moisture in the skin and maintain a natural glow. Anthocyanin, the compound responsible for the berries vibrant color, acts as an anti-inflammatory. These compounds have been shown to combat natural signs of aging by improving skin’s structure and condition. The antioxidants and flavonoids found in the berry can also help reduce damage from oxidative stress in the body.

4Allergy relief

The immune boosting and anti-inflammatory properties of this superfood make it a great natural remedy for allergy symptoms. The herbs known to remove excess mucus from the body called anti-catarrhals make this potent berry an effective medicine in clearing up runny noses, congestion, sneezing and itchy watery eyes.

5Gut health

There have been numerous studies linking elderberry with immune support via microbial reaction in the gut. Elderberries contain polyphenols, an antioxidant found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, known for their ability to combat cell damage. It’s thought that the health benefits one would get from combining antioxidant-rich foods with a probiotic, would be greater than what could be achieved using each individually.

6Heart health

While limited, there is some research suggesting that elderberry may improve cardiovascular health. The anthocyanin found in black elderberry may reduce cholesterol levels while improving HDL function. Another study found that polyphenols, like those found in elderberry, may be beneficial for those with high blood pressure.

Pretty cool, right? I asked Melissa to create a cocktail or two with elderberry syrup. See How to Incorporate Elderberry into Cocktails.