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Elderberry: Health Benefits, Uses & Risks

Elderberry is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world.Traditionally, Indigenous people used it to treat fever and rheumatism, while the ancient Egyptians used it to improve their complexions and heal burns. It’s still gathered and used in folk medicine across many parts of Europe.

Ayushi Raina
Elderbrry syrup on table
Elderbrry syrup on table

Elderberry is one of the world's most widely used medicinal herbs. It was traditionally used to cure fever and rheumatism by Indigenous people. However ancient Egyptians used it to enhance their complexions and heal burns. Many parts of Europe still harvest it and utilize it in folk medicine.

Pain relief, swelling, inflammation, increasing urine production, and producing sweating have all been utilized with the flowers and leaves in the history. The bark was utilized as a diuretic, laxative, and vomiting inducer.

The berries can also be cooked to make elderberry juice, jams, chutneys, pies, and elderberry wine. The flowers are frequently incorporated into tea or cooked with sugar to make delicious syrup.

Elderberries are said to provide a variety of health advantages

Elderberries are a low-calorie, high-antioxidant food. Fresh berries include 106 calories, 26.7 grams of carbohydrates, and less than 1 gram of fat and protein per cup (145 grams).

• Elderberries are high in Vitamin C and dietary fiber

• A good source of phenolic acids and flavonols

• Rich in anthocyanins

Cold and flu symptoms can improve

The severity and length of the influenza were reduced by Black Elderberry extracts and floral infusions. Commercial preparations for the treatment of colds are available in many forms, such as liquids, capsules, lozenges and gum.

One study conducted in 2004 among 60 influenza patients revealed that those who took 15 mL of the elderberry syrup four times a day exhibited a symptom improvement over 2 to 4 days.

Further large-scale studies are necessary to verify this and see if elderberries can also contribute to influenza prevention.

High antioxidant content

The elderberry plant's flowers, berries and leaves are great antioxidant sources. One of the anthocyanines present in the fruits, for instance, has 3.5 times the vitamin E antioxidant strength.
One study revealed that in adults 1 hour after drinking 400 mL Elderberry Saft, antioxidant levels increased. Another rat study revealed that elderberry extract contributed to reducing inflammation and damage to oxidative tissue.

Good for cardiac health

Elderberry can have a favorable impact on the health of several heart and blood vessel. Elderberry juice studies have shown that it can lower the blood fat level and reduce cholesterol. Further, a diet heavy in flavonoids such as anthocyanins reduces the risk of heart disease. The uric acid levels in the blood may be reduced by elderberries. Higher uric acid is associated with higher blood pressure and poor heart health consequences.

Other Health Benefits:

• Helps fight cancer

• Fights harmful bacteria

• May support the immune system

• Can protect against UV radiation

• Increase Urination

• May contain some antidepressant properties

Although elderberry has some attractive potential benefits, its use also presents certain risks.

Side effects of elderberry

The bark, unripe berries and seeds include minor quantities of materials called lectins which might create issues in the belly in case too much is consumed. The elderberry plant also contains cyanogenic glycosides, which may in some situations release cyanide. This toxin is also present in almonds and apricot seeds.

Commercial preparations and cooked fruits do not, however, contain cyanide, which means that there are no records of fatalities. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea are symptoms of food for uncooked fruit, leaves, bark or the roots of the elderberry.

Fortunately cooking can safely eliminate harmful substances found in berries. Branches, bark or leaves should however not be used in cook or juicing.

If you gather the flowers or berries yourself, make sure you identify it as US or European elderberries properly since other species of elderberries are more poisonous. Before using, please also remove any bark or leaves.

For children and teens under the age of 18, or pregnant or nursing women elderberry is not suggested. Although no unfavorable occurrences in these categories have been recorded, insufficient evidence is available to ensure that they are safe.

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