Elderberry – Benefits and How to Use It
Elderberry (Sambucus) is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world. Natives of North America used it traditionally to treat infections, while in ancient Egypt it was prized for its cosmetic value and for healing burns. It’s still valued for use in natural medicine throughout many countries in Europe.
What Makes Elderberries Special
The elderberry flowers, roots and fruit all contain medicinal properties helpful for a multitude of issues. Organic pigments known as anthocyanidins stimulate the immune system, while phenolics destroy free radicals that have built up in your body and can cause various health issues. When combined with large amounts of vitamin A, B and C, amino acids, tannins and rutin, elderberries make for powerful medicine. You can use elderberries for several different medical conditions, including:
- blood pressure,
- HIV, and
- heart disease.
It’s also practical for more simple issues, and is most commonly used for colds, flu and allergy relief.
Treating Colds and Flu
Cut the time you’re suffering from a nasty cold in half with elderberry. Due to its ability to stimulate your immune system, elderberry is the perfect weapon against these conditions. With cold and flu season upon us, now is a great time to begin preparing food and drinks with elderberries. Whether you drink elderberry tea, bake a delicious cobbler, or make a tincture from the flowers, it’s really easy to add elderberries into your diet. By taking it regularly before you even notice any symptoms, you’re giving your body more protection.
A 2004 study shows elderberry can reduce the severity and length of a cold or flu attack significantly. In this study, there were two groups: the control group and a group that received elderberry syrup. The subjects took 15 ml of elderberry syrup 4 times a day for 5 days and recovered in 2-4 days, whereas the control group who took a placebo took 5-7 days to recover.
There have been several studies into phenolics compounds that show the benefits they have against infections, degenerative diseases, inflammation and allergies. Elderberries are rich in phenolic acids, flavonoids and tannins. What this means for all those suffering with allergies is that instead of popping back allergy medications, you could be enjoying some delicious elderberry candies to combat your terrible symptoms.
Elderberry is truly one of the most versatile medicinal plants out there. It grows in Zones 3-7 making it easy to find in Canada, especially in our southern Ontario region. If you’re wanting to venture out next season, you will find elderberries ripe for the picking during mid-August through mid-September.
When wildcrafting, it’s important for you to be 100% sure of what you’re harvesting, and elderberry has some seriously poisonous look-alikes. Moonberry is one of these imposters and is very toxic. Make sure you learn how to identify which is which!
You can also purchase elderberries and make your own syrups, cough drops and teas. Check out some recipes online and see what you can brew up for some delicious healthiness.
To purchase your elderberry or discover other herbal compounds you can use for medical conditions, contact us today. We have all the herbs you need.