Elderberry suggested uses include for treatment and prevention of the common cold, cough and flu symptoms, sinusitis, as an immunostimulant, and treating mouth ulcers and tonsillitis. Suggested uses for elderberry extract include reducing the damaging effects of LDL cholesterol, and protection as an antioxidant.
Elderberry refers to several different varieties of the Sambucus tree, which is a flowering plant belonging to the Adoxaceae family.The most common type is Sambucus nigra, also known as the European elderberry or black elder. This tree is native to Europe, though it is widely grown in many other parts of the world as well.
S. nigra grows up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall and has clusters of small white- or cream-colored flowers known as elderflowers. The berries are found in small black or blue-black bunches .The berries are quite tart and need to be cooked to be eaten. The flowers have a delicate muscat aroma and can be eaten raw or cooked.Other varieties include the American elder, dwarf elder, blue elderberry, danewort, red-fruited elder and antelope brush .Various parts of the elderberry tree have been used throughout history for medicinal and culinary purposes.
For hundreds of years, people used them to fight colds and flu. A few studies suggest that their extract may shorten flu symptoms if you take them in the first day or two. Only eat cooked elderberries -- raw ones or their leaves can make you sick. Also, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or anyone with immune system problems shouldn't have the berries at all. Don't use them if you take diabetes medicines, diuretics, or laxatives.
What is elderberry extract good for?
Many of elderberry's health benefits can be attributed to anthocyanin. As an antioxidant, anthocyanin works by clearing the body of free radicals that damage cells at the DNA level.1 It also has antiviral properties that may prevent or reduce the severity of certain common infections.
Elderberry also exerts anti-inflammatory effects, reducing swelling and pain by tempering the body's immune response.2
Colds and Flu
Elderberry juice syrup has been used for centuries as a home remedy to treat the cold and flu, both of which are caused by a virus. The syrup is believed to reduce the severity and duration of the infection if taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms. Some preliminary evidence from small studies supports this claim.
A 2019 study on elderberry for both cold and flu suggested that the fruit substantially reduced upper-airway symptoms.
What elderberry did not appear to do was reduce the risk of getting a cold; both the elderberry group and placebo group had more or less the same number of infections.
However, a 2012 study suggested that elderberry could help prevent influenza infection by stimulating an immune response.5
Drinking tea made from dried elderberry may aid in the treatment of constipation. This laxative effect is attributed to a compound in elderberry known as anthraquinone
Also found in rhubarb and senna, anthraquinone inhibits the absorption of water in the intestines.This increases the intestinal pressure, stimulating muscles contractions (peristalsis)to promote clearance of the bowel
Although there is little medical literature related to elderberry's laxative properties, it appears to be safe when used for up to five days.
Anthocyanins are known to reduced inflammation. Those in elderberry do so by inhibiting the production of nitric oxide by the body's immune cells.Nitric oxide serves as a signaling molecule that triggers inflammation in response to injury or disease.By tempering this response, pain and swelling may be relieved.
Topical elderberry tinctures and salves have long been used in folk medicine to treat dental pain, cuts, bruises, and burns. There are even some who claim that elderberry syrup can treat sciatica and other forms of neuropathic pain.
Unfortunately, there have been few studies investigating elderberry's anti-inflammatory or analgesic (pain-relieving) benefits in humans.
Alternative practitioners have long touted elderberry's antioxidant effects, asserting that they can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. While it is true that antioxidant-rich diets may offer such benefit, there is nothing to suggest that elderberries play an exceptional role.
A 2009 study in The Journal of Nutrition concluded that a 12-week course of elderberry extract (500 milligrams daily) did nothing to alter the risk of cardiovascular disease in 52 postmenopausal women.
A 2016 study from Australiareported that, among 312 long-haul airline passengers, those who used elderberry extract 10 days before and five days after their flight had 50 percent fewer sick days resulting from a cold than those who didn't.4 In addition, passengers who used elderberry had less severe colds based on a scoring of upper respiratory tract symptoms.