How To Stay Healthy With Elderberries

Contributed by Dori Cranmore RN

Elderberries (Sambucus) have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995. 

Elderberries have been used for their antioxidant activity to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. 

Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. With a cold, flu or any other virus, drugs only have the ability to mask or treat symptoms, but they cannot eliminate the virus itself. Only the immune system can do that. Viruses, which are very small infectious agents that replicate inside the body, only cause illness in the first place if the immune system fails to do its job.

When the immune system fails, use elderberries.

When the immune system fails to do its job, there is one natural remedy that has proven to be among the most effective for battling viruses. Elderberries, which happen to be a very powerful antioxidant, have been used for centuries in other countries around the world to treat colds, influenza, wounds (when applied topically) and has even shown to be effective against the herpes simplex virus.

A 2001 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine stated that elderberry extracts are "natural remedies with antiviral properties, especially against different strains of influenza virus." Another 2004 study published in the NLM commented on reduced duration of flu symptoms when using elderberry, "Symptoms were relieved on average four days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo." University of Maryland Medical Center writes, "Elderberries may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anticancer properties," and, "One study suggested that elderberries could kill the H1N1 virus."

Why exactly are elderberries so effective?

It is hypothesized that black elderberries may include a specific compound which coats viruses and keeps them from penetrating and infecting healthy cells. The truth is that science cannot always pinpoint the exact reason mother nature's remedies work as well as they do. There are unknown molecules in nature which work in mysterious ways with the body.

The human body and its mysterious abilities to heal and overcome sicknesses cannot always be identified or quantified by science. The body and mind are amazingly complex and that complexity works especially well with nature in its unaltered form. So the next time you have a cold or flu, try black elderberry elixir.

This information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, cure or treat diseases. Dori Cranmore RN is the owner of All About Herbs, Inc. 376-8327