Strengthen Your Immunity with Elderberry
Updated: Oct 4, 2019
With cold and flu season just around the corner, you will see most over-the-counter cold and flu medications on sale as well as the popularly advertised flu shot.
However, although cold and flu medications can help relieve symptoms, it’s not uncommon to later deal with bothersome side effects. And, there is no guarantee that a flu shot will in fact prevent you from getting the flu.
It is then that natural alternatives come into play as the key is to help build up immunity in your body and strengthen your immune system for the fight against viruses.
One of the most common herbal remedies for cold and flu viruses is elderberry.
What is Elderberry?
Elderberries come from the Sambucus tree, for which there are several varieties. However, the most common type is the Sambucus nigra, which is typically found in Europe, yet can and will grow in other parts of the world.
The Sambucus tree can grow to be up to 30 feet tall and is adorned with clusters of white or cream-colored flowers in addition to the bunches of elderberries clustered all over the tree. And although in earlier times various parts of the tree were used for remedies and included in recipes, now the focus is more directed towards the use of the berries themselves as elderberries contain many phytochemicals beneficial for the immune system.
Why Use Elderberry for Cold and Flu Viruses
As stated, elderberries contain phytochemicals that not only serve as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant, but also contain antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Elderberries’ high content of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B9, C, and E in addition to trace elements such as copper, zinc, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are what make it the ideal candidate for additional supplementation in strengthening the immune system and supporting respiratory health; two key factors to address in the prevention of cold and flu viruses.
Studies have shown that individuals who took a dose of 15 ml per day for five consecutive days had significant improvement in symptoms within the first two days when given within 48 hours of the onset of flu-like symptoms.
How Can You Use Elderberry?
Most pharmacies and health food stores now carry elderberry syrup and lozenges for convenience. However, many prefer to make their own elderberry syrup to avoid added sugars or preservatives and is more cost effective. There is also the option to make tea and even add to some of your favorite recipes.
Although there have been no reports of serious side effects or fatalities, it is still advised to do your research on the type of berries you are using if you choose to make your own syrup and to note and symptoms that may arise after consumption. And always check with your provider for possible interactions.