The elderberry is a plant of the honeysuckle family, at least 30 species are known. Its fruits are berries and are located mainly in the humid regions of the planet’s northern hemisphere. Its scientific name is Sambucus and the most common species, the North American Sambucus canadensis, can grow to almost 4 meters in height.
What is elderberry for
The properties of elderberry, when treated as medicinal remedies, serve as diuretics, anti-inflammatories, stimulants of the immune system, antibiotics, laxatives and have application even in the area of body aesthetics. They are a source of high concentrations of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, and iron.
Elderberry is also used for the common cold, “flu” (influenza), and “swine” H1N1 flu. It is also used for HIV / AIDS and to boost the immune system. Elderberry is also used for sinus pain, back and leg pain (sciatica), nerve pain (neuralgia), and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Elderberries have many more health benefits. Let’s see some of them in detail:
Helps in digestion
Dr. Paulo D Picon and his team of researchers published a report in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine that stated that, although most vegetables and fruits help us to consume the daily fiber, elderberry, in a single serving is it carries 40% of our daily fiber requirement.
Elderberry is packed with dietary fiber that helps with constipation, excessive gas, and increases overall gut health. Fiber is effective in absorbing nutrients in the intestine.
Improves bone health
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds found in elderberry are helpful in relieving joint pain due to inflammation, and pain in general.
Its essential mineral levels promote the development of new tissue in the bones, and with it, it also promotes bone strength. Increased bone density in younger years can significantly delay the onset of osteoporosis, and elderberry is helpful.
Improves heart health
A study published in Phytotherapy Research revealed that elderberry fiber removes excess bad cholesterol from the system and makes room for the HDL (good) cholesterol that the body needs, helping to eliminate the possibility of the appearance of atherosclerosis and other heart problems.
Its flavonoids, such as the anthocyanins it contains, reduce the risk of heart disease.
The high level of potassium in elderberry helps the heart by relaxing the tension of the arteries and blood vessels. Potassium is a vasodilator that can significantly lower blood pressure and keep the heart healthy.
Improves respiratory health
A great option for a sore throat is elderberry juice, it is also for coughs, bronchitis, colds or any other problem in the respiratory tract.
The active ingredients in elderberry syrup (bioflavonoids like anthocyanins) relieve irritation and inflammation.
Elderberry syrup also acts as an expectorant, helping to eliminate phlegm. It is recommended even for people with asthma.
A dose of elderberry syrup can make a person recover faster than one who does not receive that dose.
Its metabolism-accelerating effects together with its fiber help with weight loss. The fiber keeps you satisfied, the low-calorie count does not affect your intake too much and in addition, you take it with everything is, many other health benefits as well as its vitamins and minerals.
Elderberry contains active antioxidant ingredients and those go directly to the pancreas when consumed, regulating glucose and insulin levels. This provides stability for people suffering from diabetes or helps non-diabetics avoid developing this terrible condition.
Protect the skin
The active bioflavonoids in elderberry are exemplary for skin health, that is why elderberry can be used in cosmetics.
Its high levels of vitamin A and antioxidants make elderberry perfect for the prevention and reduction of wrinkles, also helping to fade spots on the skin, giving it shine and tone.
Elderberry syrup has certain antibacterial and anti-infective qualities and is very commonly used to ward off the flu during bad seasons, where it seems like everyone is catching it.
Additionally, elderberries can protect against the effects of autoimmune disorders, even relieving certain symptoms and pain associated with AIDS.
A 2011 paper published in Romanian Biotechnological Letters, cited a study in which rats given elderberry polyphenols were found to aid immune defenses by increasing GB numbers.
How to make an elderberry syrup to strengthen the immune system
Ingredients for elderberry syrup
- juice of half a lemon
- ½ cup dried elderberries
- About 2 cm fresh ginger
- 2½ cups of filtered water
- ⅓ cup of raw honey
How to prepare it
- In a large bowl, heat the water with the berries and ginger over medium-high heat until it reaches a boil.
- Once it has boiled, reduce the heat to a minimum, and keep at this temperature for about 20 minutes. Some of the water will have evaporated by then.
- Remove from the fire.
- Using a small strainer or cheesecloth, strain the preparation.
- When the liquid is no longer hot, add the raw honey and lemon juice, and mix.
- It can be stored in a glass bottle in the refrigerator in the summer months or in a dry place in the winter months.
For those who have access to fresh elderberry, the fruits are simply removed from the branches, and it is prepared following the same instructions, except for the amount of water, which is the only thing that varies. Use about 1½ cup.
Side effects of using elderberry syrup
If you are going to cook elderberries for consumption, you should be cautious because most of the berries of that genus, which is Sambucus, are toxic.
The leaves and branches of these species contain trace elements of cyanide, which can accumulate in your body, especially if you do not consume them with caution. Accumulating it in the body eventually puts your health in high danger, so be careful.
Now, if we take into account that so few species are edible, do not go to harvest elderberries that are wild and it is advisable to go for elderberries in places authorized for sale.
In addition, allergies to wild plants are common. Just be careful adding elderberry to your diet if you have food allergies.
Also, elderberry is known to act as a diuretic, so if you suffer from kidney problems, these plants can exacerbate symptoms.
However, even though you have to be careful with its side effects, elderberry is a plant full of beneficial nutrients, used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years.