Respecting Your “Elder”berries

While I don’t consider myself a competitive person for some reason every year when flu season hits, I treat whether I can “win” by not getting it like it’s a competition. Around the end of each September I gear up for combat as if the flu is this entity and I’m going to battle and score is kept. That said, I am all about not getting it and pretty hell bent on avoiding it naturally. Likely one of my favorite effective defensive mechanisms is elderberry syrup. I prescribe it liberally for patients for a variety of things from head-colds, chest colds, sinus issues, or the flu. It can be used while sick to shorten the duration and severity or it can be used preventatively through the whole season.

What is it?

Also called Sambucus, it’s a large shrub most people would be inclined to call a tree because it can get up to 30 feet high. There are many kinds and some are native to North America and Europe. Native Americans have been eating and using the berries medicinally for centuries. It’s a hardy plant that can grow fairly easily across Europe and the US and Canada. They also attract and support butterflies!

Medicinal effects

Elderberry is antiviral which makes it off the cuff a good defense against the flu. The 2017 flu strains were shown particularity weakened by the berry. One study showed 93% of those who took elderberry got better from the flu in 2 days or less as opposed to the placebo group which took 6 days to get better.

The berry contains a protein that inhibits the virus from being able to break your cell walls, AKA infecting you. (see it really is a battle). Many other viral infections may benefit from this such as the herpes virus. It’s also an anti-oxidant and high in vitamins C, A, B and contains zinc. In fact, elderberries pack in a huge amount of vitamin C- about 60% or your daily intake! They are also high in fiber, as well as phenolic acid. Phenolic acid helps reduce oxidative stress. The compounds found in elderberries can decrease mucus in the sinuses. They also benefit the eyes for conjunctivitis. Benefits to use Vitamin C Powder: Vitamins are compounds that you must have for growth and health. They are needed in small amounts only and are usually available in the foods that you eat. Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, is necessary for wound healing. It is needed for many functions in the body, including helping the body use carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Vitamin C also strengthens blood vessel walls.

Where do I get this magic berry?

Any health food store will carry it! I prefer the syrup you take with a spoon and find it to be the most effective. It’s not cheap but nor is getting the flu. You can also easily boil and strain it yourself if you have access to the berries. Most health food stores stock immune boosting teas that contain elderberry. Traditional Medicinals makes a good tea that combines elderberry and echinacea which is another powerful immune booster and sick-bug buster. Yogi makes perhaps one of my personal favorites called “Immune Support” which combines elderberry with other fruits but with the addition of Holy Basil which is another very effective agent for immunity by reducing inflammation but also combats stress, adrenal fatigue, aging, and anxiety. Elderberry is also found as a wine.

Cheers too that!