Elderberries are commonly used medicinal plants, largely consumed as syrups or supplements, that help with various health conditions and problems. You can eat them as gummies, lozenges, teas, syrups, and more- it’s a very versatile berry! While they’re mostly used for cold and flu prevention and symptom management, there are so many other ways you can use elderberry to support a healthy lifestyle and immune system.
Historically, elderberries were popular among Native Americans and folk healers across Europe. The Native Americans used the berries to treat infections, and the ancient Egyptians even used them to heal burns. Elderberries have been used to dye clothing, make wine, and help with colds and flus for centuries. While we don’t use them in all these same ways today, we still find their benefits in the strictly medicinal way they’re currently packaged and sold.
You can find elderberry products in your local drugstore or even online. As the berries become more and more popular, they’re arriving on shelves all over. You’ll recognize elderberry products by their name or by the distinct look of the berries on the packaging covers.
Elderberries are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and other plant chemicals that provide antioxidants and fight inflammation. Read on for the in-depth benefits of elderberry- namely, their top five most common uses!
- Flu Fighter
- Cold Relief
- Reduce Inflammation
- High Antioxidant Levels
- Heart Health
Benefits of Elderberry
Fight the Flu with Elderberry
While elderberry syrup won’t instantly stop a flu, it can definitely help manage symptoms. If you take a good amount of it during the first twenty-four hours of a flu, it will help you out down the line. It can shorten the duration of a flu by three to four days! When it comes to the flu, that’s a huge benefit- elderberries can change a two-week flu into a week and change.
When you have the flu, the best forms of elderberry come in lozenges and syrups, as well as sachets you can pour into hot water to make tea. (You want to drink as much as you can and go heavy with cough drops!) Combined with lots of rest and other fluids, your body should be feeling better pretty shortly.
Cold Relief in a Bottle
Elderberry extracts and infusions can reduce the length and severity of colds, as shown in trials with many rounds of patients. So this one is proven straight from the doctors- elderberries really work! If you take the standard dosage of syrup two to four times a day for two to four days, your symptoms may clear up by the fourth day. Elderberries work in similar ways on cold and flu viruses, so the same anti-flu benefits will show up here as well.
If you want to be ahead of the game, start taking elderberry supplements at the first sign of a tickle in your throat. This could completely stave off a cold before it begins! Elderberries have high antioxidant and antiviral levels, which makes them so great at helping with colds. Vitamins and potassium aid in this as well.
Because of its high volume of vitamin A and C, elderberries are fabulous for reducing inflammation. Calcium and iron come along to help as well, make elderberry products truly wonderful for runners and anyone else prone to inflammation. Elderberries thus become pain relievers, as they help lessen the damage inflammation does to the body.
These properties of elderberries tie into how the berries can help with heart health, which we’ll discuss below. If you lower your inflammation, you lower some of your risk of heart problems down the line. This berry is seriously powerful!
If you’re not getting enough antioxidants from your daily diet, elderberries can lend you a hand. The berries have three and a half times the antioxidant levels of vitamin E! However, extraction, heating, or juicing the berries can lower their antioxidant levels. If you’re looking for the highest antioxidants from your berries, try to find them fresh.
Antioxidants may help fight off chronic diseases like diabetes and certain types of cancer. Overall, antioxidants are simply great for your health and elderberries are full of them! Along with their anti-inflammatory properties, their antioxidant levels are lovely for helping to fight off heart disease.
Keep Your Heart Healthy
Finally- heart health! Elderberries' anti-inflammatory properties, abundance of antioxidants, and high vitamin levels all combine to create one heck of a natural drug against heart disease or other heart problems. Taking elderberry as a daily supplement is the best vehicle here- avoid the syrups and lozenges and go straight for the pills.
Studies have found that elderberries may reduce fat levels in blood and reduce high cholesterol. With lower blood pressure, you’re less at risk for organ damage. Likewise, elderberries can increase your blood sugar levels, which is great news for anyone with diabetes. Diabetes puts you at a higher risk for heart problems in the first place, so consider elderberries a two in one punch. They may help with heart health and managing diabetic symptoms!
"These gummies are delicious. I actually look forward to taking them daily because they taste so good! Usually I dread vitamins and supplements but not these... I actually had to hid this bottle from my husband because he was sneaking them at night!" -- Amazon Review by Toni Anderson
Elderberries are a super versatile berry that come packaged in many forms and sizes. On top of the five benefits listed above, elderberries can also help fight cancer, fight bacteria, and support your immune system overall. They’re power-packed with benefits for people of any age.
The berries are still being studied for future possible benefits and uses, so be on the lookout for more elderberry benefits in the future. They’re truly great for overall health and wellness, as well as general cold and flu prevention. Pick up an easy-to-take supplement capsule or tasty syrup today and give elderberries a try!