Elderberries, the fruit of the Sambucus tree, are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that have been used to boost the immune system, fight off colds, flu, and other respiratory infections, and decrease inflammation. This one is a popular one among herbalists, who have been using elderberries for ages. In fact, Hippocrates - who is often considered the ‘father of medicine’ - described the elder as his “medicine chest,” using the berry to cure a wide array of ailments.
1. Flu + Colds
Although elderberry is not proven to prevent the flu, it is an effective treatment option if you do get hit with the virus. Research has found that a reduction of the duration of flu-like symptoms is reduced by 3-4 days when elderberry is used. It also has the power to lessen symptom severity when taken within the first 24 hours of flu symptoms. When it comes to recommended dosages, WebMD suggests “one tablespoon (15 milliliters) of a specific elderberry juice-containing syrup (Sambucol by Nature’s Way) has been taken four times daily for three to five days, while a specific lozenge (ViraBLOC by HerbalScience) containing 175 milligrams of elderberry extract has been taken four times daily for two days.”
Elderberry’s vitamin A and C content also helps fight cold-like symptoms. A 2016 research article published in “Nutrients” found a significant reduction of cold duration and severity when elderberry is used throughout symptoms. Expect a reduction in symptoms of 2 days when using this incredible berry.
2. Supports Skin Health
Anthocyanin, which gives the elderberries their vibrant color, also has been proven to support skin health. By combating the internal consequences of natural aging, anthocyanins have been proven to combat natural aging, which leads to an improvement of the external appearance of skin tone and glow. Because of the rich sources of vitamins A and C in the berry, elderberry also increases moisture in the skin and helps maintain its integrity.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Elderberry also displays numerous anti-inflammatory activities, particularly related to its anthocyanin and vitamins A and C contents. Inflammation has shown to be the root of many chronic diseases, which may label elderberries as a contender against the fight against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
- 1 cups dried organic elderberries
- 2 cups cold water (distilled, purified, or spring water works best)
- 1 tsp. organic dried ginger root
- 1 organic sweet cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup raw, local honey (or organic maple syrup or agave for a vegan/infant-friendly recipe); double the amount of sweetener to increase shelf life
- Combine berries and herbs with cold water in pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and allow herbs to simmer 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let steep 1 hour.
- Strain berries and herbs using a funnel overlaid with doubled cheesecloth or undyed cotton muslin bag and squeeze out liquid (careful, liquid will likely still be hot!). Discard used herbs in compost.
- Once liquid has cooled to just above room temperature, add honey and stir to incorporate.
- Bottle in sterilized glass. Keep refrigerated for up to 4 weeks