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Health Benefits of Elderberry

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Recent studies have shown that elderberry has numerous positive impacts on health. Read more to find out what it can do.

From the amazing berry family comes another wonder fruit to make lives longer and disease-free with its proven therapeutic benefits– the elderberry. Whether you’re suffering from the common cold, you want to lose weight, or you just want powerful antioxidants to boost your immune system, the elderberry does it all, and more. Once you discover all the marvelous benefits this plant offers, you’ll wish you had discovered it earlier.

The elderberry that is commonly used for treating various types of illnesses is the Sambucus nigra (or black elder). A large shrub that grows mostly in the United States and Europe, it bears tiny white flowers and green berries that turn red then black as they ripen. The flowers and fruits are the repositories of its medicinal content and no parts of this plant may be eaten raw as they contain a chemical similar to the poisonous cyanide. There are other species available and some of them, like the dwarf elder, can be harmful. To be cautious, you should read the labels when buying elderberry preparations.

How Elderberry Benefits You
The elderberry has been used by ancient folks to cure countless ailments. Only recently have serious studies been done by researchers and scientists to find out more about its potential benefits. Anecdotal evidence has shown the following curative actions of elderberry.

  • Cardiovascular System: The elderberry extract lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as the bad cholesterol. High LDL levels contribute to the formation of plaques, leading to atherosclerosis or the thickening of the arterial walls from fat deposits. This condition increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and coronary artery diseases.
  • Respiratory System: The bioflavonoids in elderberry attack the cold and flu viruses, preventing them from invading the cells. Their antibacterial property is effective in the treatment of sinusitis, bronchitis, tonsillitis and asthma. Some chemicals in the flowers and fruits help diminish mucosal membrane swelling, thereby providing relief from nasal congestion.
  • Immune System: The proteins, micronutrients and vitamins found in elderberry extracts enhance the body’s immune system, increasing resistance to various diseases. Because these nutrients are found in great quantities in the elderberry, it is being studied by medical researchers as an alternative treatment for cancer and the HIV virus.
  • Antioxidant Benefits: The polyphenols, carotenoids and flavonoids in elberberries provide their potent antioxidant property, protecting the cells from damage caused by free radicals. These antioxidant actions delay the aging process of the skin. Its high anthocyanin concentration and vitamin A, C and E content protect against age-induced macular degeneration, hence improving vision.

Other uses for elderberries include the treatment of wounds as a topical application, lowering blood sugar levels in diabetes, acting as a laxative and helping in weight loss, curing yeast infections and having diuretic properties to get rid of excess water in the body. Elderberries also have excellent anti-inflammatory properties.

What Makes Elderberry Work
Elderberry is a rich source of phytochemicals that provide preventive measures and therapeutic treatments for several types of illnesses. It is high in polyphenols, specifically the flavonoids, carotenoids, proteins, and vitamins A, E and C. Most significant among its components are the following:

  • Anthocyanins – a flavonoid antioxidant that has a more potent capacity to protect cells against damage than the vitamins E or C; it is found in high concentration in the elderberry, fives more than that in blueberries and twice the antioxidant function of cranberries.

  • Quercetin – another important flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties, it also protects against calcium depletion that leads to osteoporosis, helps in maintaining a healthy heart, reduces the risk for cancer and most recently, has been found to sustain energy, increasing muscle strength and endurance. Elderberries have the highest concentration of quercetin among the berry family.

  • Glucoproteins – or plant lectins that have antiviral properties, protecting the cells from being infected by the cold and flu viruses.

  • Viburnic acid and tannin – present in elderberries, these elements improve breathing and provide relief from nasal congestion.

  • Vitamins A and E, and Vitamin C in large amounts – promote overall wellbeing and support skin and eye health, enhance the immune system and increase resistance against diseases.

Care and Safety In The Use Of Elderberry

  • As a precautionary measure, you should consult with your physician before taking an elderberry preparation if you are diabetic, you have been diagnosed with cancer, asthma or have an autoimmune condition. As with any other supplement, medications may be compromised with mixed with elderberry.

  • Never use unripe or raw elderberries; they are toxic in this form.

  • Pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid using elderberries.

Elderberry supplements are available as syrup, in powder form, capsules and extracts. They can also come as lozenges, tea, throat spray and gummies for kids. You can buy them at local drugstores and online health stores. With all the good things packed in the elderberry, it may be time to take stock and think about adding it to your daily health regimen.

 

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