Used for centuries by the Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Greeks, elderberries have a long history as an organic cure for a variety of ailments, including the common cold, flu, sinus issues, allergies, immune conditions, and even cancer. This natural remedy, most notably related to the ancient Greek, Hippocrates, the ‘father of medicine,’ who described the plant as his ‘medicine chest’ due to the variety of conditions it cured.
Curious how this ancient plant works? Keep reading to learn its health benefits and the different symptoms it helps to alleviate now!
Natural Cold & Flu Reliever
There are numerous health benefits associated with the elderberry plant including improving colds, the flu, sinus issues, nerve pain, inflammation, chronic fatigue, allergies, constipation, and cancer. The elderberry is renowned for helping improve cold and flu symptoms within a matter of hours. When this super berry is consumed within the first forty-eight hours of onset cold and flu symptoms, it shortens the duration of these symptoms by an average of four days compared to other cold and flu medicines on the market.
Several studies have demonstrated elderberry extract is highly effective in relieving flu-like symptoms due to the flavonoids in the berry’s extract that bind to the H1N1 human influenza virus and the H5N1 avian influenza virus. Elderberries are also rich in antioxidants and are an excellent immune system booster due to their chemical compounds called anthocyanins, which have immunostimulant effects. Overall, elderberry extract has proven to be a safe, efficient, and cost-effective cold and flu treatment that is considered a more natural or organic choice compared to other over-the-counter medications.
Next, find out how elderberry is a natural sinus and allergy aid that can help lessen sinus congestion and allergy symptoms.
A Natural Sinus And Allergy Aid
Due to elderberry’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant chemical compounds, it has proven to significantly help with sinus issues, such as infections and congestion, as well as allergy symptoms. A study done by the Institute of Complementary Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine at the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, analyzed the use of elderberry flowers in a sinus product. The product was used to treat bacterial sinusitis along with an antibiotic and a decongestant. Patients who took this combination did significantly better than taking an over-the-counter product alone or without elderberry present, leading researchers to believe the flowers of the elderberry in this study are an effective herbal allergy remedy and are what made the difference in relieving allergy and sinus symptoms.
Considering allergies involve an overreaction of the immune system resulting in inflammation, elderberry’s ability to improve the immune system and calm inflammation within the body can help provide allergy relief. Some herbalists believe the black elderflower is one of the most effective herbs used for treating hay fever symptoms, and can be used alone or in combination with other herbs. In addition to its allergy relieving tendencies, elderflower, the flower buds of the berry, is also believed to be a natural detoxification aid for improving liver function.
Keep reading to discover how elderberry is one of nature’s strongest cancer fighters.
Nature’s Cancer Fighter
In addition to its variety of health benefits for common conditions, such as colds, allergies, and sinus infections, elderberry extract is known for being rich in anthocyanins and has been proven to have a broad range of therapeutic, pharmacologic, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Lab studies have specifically shown the elderberry has some chemopreventive properties, meaning the elderberry can delay or reverse cancerous formations. One particular study in the Journal of Medicinal Food compared the anticancer properties of the European and American elderberry fruits. The European elderberry is known for containing anthocyanins, flavonoids, and polyphenolics, which all contribute to the high-antioxidant properties this superfruit has, while the American elderberry displayed inhibition of ornithine decarboxylase, an enzyme related to the promotional stage of cancer formation. Overall, the study proved both the European and American elderberry strands have potential as a natural cancer treatment, and both demonstrated significant chemopreventive potential.
Continue reading to learn more about the elderberry’s wide variety of health benefits including promoting healthy skin and lowering blood sugar.
A Variety Of Health Benefits
The power of the elderberry is incredible, as it clearly is a superfruit that can aid in healing a variety of conditions and help with relieving symptoms. Elderberry is known for helping to lower blood sugar, as both the flower and berry have traditionally been used to treat diabetes, and research has confirmed its extracts stimulate glucose metabolism and the secretion of insulin, helping to lower blood sugar levels. Elderberry is also a natural diuretic as it has been proven to promote both urination and bowel movements, and is also a natural laxative. One study indicated elderberry extract is an effective natural laxative for the treatment of constipation, however, further research is needed to know how it can help relieve constipation in patients. The elderberry also encourages healthy, glowing skin, as its extract is being implemented into cosmetic products. The bioflavonoids and antioxidants, along with its high vitamin A content results in beautiful, glowing skin, that boosts the skin’s overall appearance.
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Elderberries may be able to help with treating acne due to some of the natural components of the plant. Scientific research is necessary to determine the exact effect elderberries have on different types of acne, along with whether the effect compares to currently available and approved acne treatments. If individuals use elderberries to treat acne, they're likely to get the best results if they combine them with an existing skincare routine rather than replacing their skincare routine entirely. The fruit of the elderberry plant has high flavonoid levels. Flavonoids are compounds that may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants are vital to protecting cells in the body against damage from free radicals, skin cells included. Free radicals often have a marked impact on skin damage. Anti-inflammatory properties can also help reduce the immune response to acne infections, which may reduce redness and swelling for some individuals. Elderberry face wash does have antiseptic effects that can protect against further infection.
Keep reading to learn more health benefits of elderberries now.
Reduce The Appearance Of Wrinkles
Many of the same elderberry properties that help fight acne can also affect signs of aging. The flavonoids increase antioxidant levels in the skin, which protects against free radicals. Most skincare products with elderberry include elderberries because of the antioxidants. As for specifically age-related issues, elderberries have high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Vitamin A is capable of fading age spots and helping give individuals a smoother and younger-looking complexion. Vitamin E is well-known for being a vital skincare component with an effect on an individual's collagen levels. As individuals get older, they start to lose their collagen, which leads to decreased elasticity in their skin. When the skin stretches out and droops or sags, it leads to fine lines and wrinkles. By using the compounds in elderberries to increase collagen production, individuals can tighten existing wrinkles and slow the aging process. They'll probably see the best effects if they use an elderberry face wash regularly for several weeks.
Discover additional health benefits of elderberries now.
Help With Constipation
Some of the compounds found in elderberries may help with constipation. There haven't been specific studies done regarding the link between elderberries and constipation, but several of the components that make up elderberries have been proven to reduce constipation. Experts recommend brewing a tea with dried elderberries if they want to use the plant as a laxative. The main compound that causes laxative effects is anthraquinone. This substance can also be found in plants like senna and rhubarb. It inhibits the intestines from absorbing water in the same manner the digestive system usually does. The increased amount of fluid in the digestive system causes pressure in the intestines to increase. As an individual's body recognizes it needs to relieve the pressure, it will undergo abdominal muscle contractions to help clear the bowel. This is an unconventional laxative method, as most other laxatives aim to increase the bulk of stool or to redirect water to the bowel. Stimulating muscle contractions may cause more discomfort. But this method does appear to be safe to use for up to five days.
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There are a few helpful effects elderberries can have on cardiovascular health, including the health of an individual's blood vessels and heart. Several research studies have gathered links showing juice from elderberries can reduce fat levels in the blood and lead to a reduction in cholesterol. On top of this, the flavonoids have been proven in other independent studies to help lower an individual's risk of developing heart disease. With that said, there have been studies that didn't show a strong correlation between elderberries and heart health, so it might not work for everyone. Thirty-four study participants took four hundred milligrams of elderberry extract for two weeks, with each dose occurring three times per day. There wasn't a significant reduction found in the average cholesterol levels of the participants. One study done on mice did find adding black elderberry to a diet did reduce cholesterol in the aorta and liver, but there wasn't a significant reduction in cholesterol in the blood.
Get familiar with more health benefits of elderberries now.
Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease
The cardiovascular benefits of elderberries don't stop at cholesterol. In addition to the benefits of the flavonoids, there have been animal studies showing a correlation between elderberries and reduced blood pressure. One study showed when rats were fed with ingredients extracted from elderberries, their blood pressure reduced as a whole. The rats were also less prone to ongoing damage to the organs due to high blood pressure. On top of this, there have been studies showing elderberries can help reduce uric acid levels in an individual's blood. Elevated concentrations of uric acid have been correlated with negative heart health and high blood pressure. Elderberries have been shown to have a positive effect on diabetes management, as they can increase the body's secretion of insulin and help improve blood sugar. This is a big deal because type 2 diabetes causes patients to have a much greater risk of cardiovascular disease. It should be noted though the results are promising, more human studies need to be done to determine whether or not elderberries affect overall cardiovascular health.
Next, reveal how elderberry is used and the different ways it can be consumed.
How To Use Elderberry
Elderberry extract can be purchased and consumed in a variety of different ways, either from a local health store or online. The different ways a patient can consume elderberry include tea, wine, juice, jelly, jams, ointments, astringent, infusions, sprays, lozenges, pills, liquid, powder, and capsules. The easiest and most popular way to consume elderberry extract is in its syrup form, which can be found in many health stores, grocery stores, and pharmacies. The syrup is often used to treat colds, the flu, and upper respiratory issues, and there are a number of high-quality brands available in stores, or individuals can make their own at home.
There is no denying elderberry is one powerful little berry packing an incredible health punch that promotes numerous health benefits. Rather than reaching for over-the-counter medications, try elderberry extract to give your overall health an amazing boost!