Elderberry is a plant that grows in North America. It has a rich history in folk medicine as a remedy for many conditions but is best known for helping to combat colds, flu and allergies.
But how does elderberry work? And how can you use elderberry during cold season (and beyond) to gain its benefits?
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into what makes elderberry so special, how it works (and what it does), and finally, how you can use this special supplement to support your immune system and so much more.
Active Ingredients in Elderberry
In one review that looked at how elderberry works, researchers concluded that its many bioactive compounds can contribute to a wide range of health functions in the body. Here are some of the phytonutrients you will find in elderberry:
- Elderberry is rich in polyphenols, which are a type of phytonutrient that provide health effects throughout the body.
- Elderberry contains flavonols (which are a type of polyphenol) rutin, quercetin, isoquercetin and anthocyanins (which are responsible for the elderberry’s bluish-purple colour). Interestingly, elderberry contains more anthocyanins than strawberries and raspberries.
- Even better, these antioxidants were found to be active in the body after consuming elderberry. Elderberry is also rich in fibre and vitamin C.
Effects of Elderberry
In major reviews of scientific literature, elderberry has been shown to provide many effects throughout the body. Here is a summary of the benefits that research has found that elderberry provides:
- Antioxidant: all parts of the elderberry plant contain potent antioxidants that can help to combat the effects of inflammation and illness in the body.
- Anti-inflammatory: elderberry is rich in a variety of antioxidants that support the body in many ways. Studies have shown that elderberry can help the body recover faster from viral infections to offering cardiovascular support. Elderberry is even used to help with painful symptoms from arthritis.
- Anti-influenza: the berry is the part of the elderberry that contains antiviral properties. In studies, elderberry has been shown to slow the replication of the influenza virus (this is how it spreads in your body), shortening its duration and severity. It is interesting to note that elderberry can do what drugs cannot: there are currently no conventional drugs that can stop the influenza virus from replicating.
- Antimicrobial: the antimicrobial actions in the elderberry plant mean that it may help the body fight off bacterial infections.
- Anti-diabetic: a few studies have found that elderberry could contribute to better blood sugar levels.
- Cardiovascular protection: some studies have evaluated the benefit of elderberry on the cardiovascular system. They found that elderberry supports healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels; however, more studies are needed to confirm these findings.
When cold and flu season comes around, you will find elderberry products stocked up at your local health food store. Here’s a rundown of what you will find:
- Tea: elderberry tea is a relaxing and tasty way to enjoy elderberry. However, it is worth pointing out that tea will not contain a reliable or therapeutic amount of elderberry. Therefore, if you are wanting the maximum benefits from elderberry supplementation, it is best to use tea in combination with a quality elderberry syrup. You can also use brewed elderberry tea topically to help calm skin irritations.
- Capsules: capsules are a convenient way to take elderberry, especially if you are overworked, busy and run down.
- Lozenges: elderberry lozenges can offer relief for a sore throat from a virus, but they won’t offer a therapeutic dose of elderberry. For best results, take your elderberry lozenges alongside a quality elderberry syrup.
- Gummies: like capsules, elderberry gummies can be convenient; however, they won’t offer a therapeutic dose of elderberry.
- Syrup: elderberry syrup is the most effective elderberry supplement. The liquid extraction method ensures that the active ingredients in elderberry are better preserved and delivered to you. While you can make your own elderberry syrup, purchasing a standardized elderberry syrup will ensure that you are getting a therapeutic amount of elderberry in every dose.
How Much Elderberry Syrup Should I Take?
The next time you feel sniffles coming on, start taking elderberry syrup right away. The typical dose for capsules is between 500 and 1500 milligrams per day, taken in divided doses throughout the day. Elderberry syrup is more potent, so it is taken in a smaller amount, between 30 and 45 millilitres per day. Since elderberry is a herb, it is best to take it on an empty stomach.
What Elderberry Supplement Is Best?
Rather than waiting until the cold season to stock up on elderberry, keep elderberry syrup in your medicine cabinet so you’ll always have it on hand. Many people rave about Naturopathic Labs Sambushield Black Elderberry Syrup. It’s a Canadian-made, organic formula that provides an 80mg dose from organic European black elder. Naturopathic Labs Elderberry is a potent formula offering a pleasant taste and is easy to take whether you’re fighting off a cold or flu virus, taking it as a precaution or simply looking to increase your antioxidant profile.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your practitioner prior to taking herbs or nutritional supplements.
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