The Benefits of Elderberries

by Nov 10, 2019Herbs & Medicines

Years ago, my son was coming down with a bad cold, in Phoenix, Arizona, of all places. The desert! Someone told me to buy elderberry syrup, because it worked like a charm. I didn’t listen, until two weeks ago when I came down with laryngitis. I give props to those little berries. With all the extra partying I did that weekend, I was still able to make it to work only somewhat miserable, with a full blown cold.

Elderberries come from the Sambucus tree. There are many types grown all over the world. The most common one is the Black/Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra, native to Europe. It is a tart berry, but has been used to make desserts, put in salads, and made into a syrup for medicinal purposes. The syrup is quite sweet actually. I loved it.

Elderberry was used by Native Americans to treat infections. It was used by ancient Egyptians to heal burns. It has been used to treat cold and flu symptoms. It has been used for pain relief, inflammation, infections, and to even induce sweating. It can also be used as a diuretic and laxative.

So what makes this Elder so great? Haha! See what I did there?

It is full of nutrients including vitamin C, dietary fiber, phenolic acids, flavonols, and anthocyanins(1).

  • Vitamin C: There are 6–35 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit, which accounts for up to 60% of the recommended daily intake.
  • Dietary Fiber: Elderberries contain 7 grams of fiber per 100 grams of fresh berries, which is over one-quarter of the recommended daily intake.
  • Phenolic Acids: These compounds are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce damage from oxidative stress in the body.
  • Flavonols: Elderberry contains the antioxidant flavonols quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin. The flowers contain up to 10 times more flavonols than the berries.

Because of the known immune enhancing properties of Elderberries, a study was done testing it’s effectiveness against the H1N1 virus in vitro. The study was done using a technique called DART TOF-MS combined with Direct Binding Assay. I wish I could explain it to you, but I only took Chemistry 1. Basically, an extremely complicated method of chromatography.

Chromatography: The separation of a mixture by passing it in solution or suspension or as a vapor (as in gas chromatography) through a medium in which the components move at different rates.

The study found two flavonoids that bound to the H1N1 virus and prevented it from entering a host cell. The inhibition activity of the flavonoids compared to Tamiflu and Amantadine(2).

Where Can I Buy It?

  • Being so popular now, any healthfood store will have them.
  • Any large-chain grocery store.
  • Amazon
  • Online

I love Herb Pharm Certified Organic Black Elderberry Liquid Extract for Immune System Support, Alcohol-Free Glycerite, 1 Ounce because I can add a squirt to a bottle of water and be on my way.

I also use Apitherapy Elderberry Extract Honey Gardens 8 oz Liquid when I’m sick. It’s sweet and becomes one of the highlights of my day.

I’ve only scratched the surface on these berries. Elderberries have been used throughout history for their medicinal properties. They have even been used to fight cancer. However, just like anything else, it can have dangers as well. I did not touch on those, so please do your research before taking Elderberry. Please check out the links below for more interesting facts and studies on Elderberries.

By the way, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Have you had your own experiences using Elderberries? Please share in the comment section. Have a wonderful week! Stay tuned for next week’s post “What the $*@% is HIIT?”

  1. Mandl, Elise. “Elderberry: Benefits and Dangers.” Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/elderberry#risks-and-side-effects. Accessed 10 November 2019
  2. Roschek Jr., Bill, et al., “Eldeberry Flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro.” Phytochemistry, vol. 70, Sept 2007, pp. 1255-1261. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2009.06.003



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