Elderberry is a popular supplement found in stores everywhere you go. Since the pandemic, people have had more of an interest in natural remedies that may boost immune support. Elderberry has a long track record of boosting immune function, among other exciting benefits.
Origins of Elderberry
Elderberry has been used for hundreds of years, dating back to medieval times. North American Indians used elderberry for a variety of purposes, including cuts, common colds, and burns. The elderberry comes from the European elder tree, a highly adaptable deciduous plant that grows all around Europe, making it readily available during the medieval period.
Over time, elderberry has been associated as helpful in treating over 70 ailments caused by weakened immune systems.
Elderberry Uses Today
Since the arrival of modern medicine, elderberry is not used frequently as a standalone treatment, but rather as an immune-boosting supplement that can aid in a quicker resolution of several ailments.
Elderberry is not widely researched; however, the research we have today points to the idea that elderberry can mitigate symptoms caused by ailments that affect the immune system, such as a cold or influenza.
In fact, a specific syrup containing elderberry juice (Sambucol by Nature’s Way) has been shown to relieve flu symptoms and reduce the length of time the flu lasts if it’s taken by mouth within 48 hours of symptom onset.
Elderberries are jam-packed with flavonoids, which can increase your vitamin C absorption, therefore supporting the immune system and likely shortening the duration of viral illnesses. However, little modern research has been conclusive on the benefits of elderberry treatment.
Considerations Before Taking Elderberry
Unlike a lot of modern medicine, elderberry supplements have very few adverse side effects and rarely cause allergic reactions.
However, some populations should take caution before consuming elderberry supplements, such as:
- Children under 12. Elderberry has not been tested or researched in this age group.
- Pregnant women. Medical professionals do not know if elderberry affects pregnancy or lactation, so it is best to stay clear.
- Raw elderberries (i.e., not store-bought supplements) should be ingested with extreme caution. The roots and leaves of elderberry can be toxic to humans, and elderberries in raw form can be toxic if someone ingests far too many.
Unfortunately, research is somewhat inconclusive on exactly how elderberries help our immune systems, and to what extent. However, over-the-counter elderberry supplements are safe for human use and worth a shot. Before pumping your body full of yucky cough syrup, pop some elderberry supplements and see if your symptoms get better. Elderberry is known to shorten the duration of some viral illnesses, so it’s always worth a try!