As cold and flu season kicks off, many people are searching for natural remedies and supplements to offset illness. Look no further than the elderberry! Elderberry has become a popular medicinal plant used primarily as a supplement to treat cold and flu. However, it has been used frequently in previous generations. Native Americans have used it to treat infections, Ancient Egyptians used it to heal burns, and it is still widely used in folk medicine in Europe.

Elderberry itself is a flowering plant of the Adoxaceae family. The plant typically develops white or cream-colored flowers with berries that are black or blue-black in color. These berries should be eaten cooked, but the flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. The juice and dried berries are used to treat the flu, infections, headaches, pain, as well as act as a laxative. The berries themselves can be made into pies, wine, jams/jellies, juices, and extracts.

There is a plethora of reported health benefits of elderberries. Let’s look at a few of them:

High in Nutrients: Elderberries are high in vitamin C and dietary fiber. They are a good source of phenolic acids, which is used to help reduce damage from oxidative stress in the body. Elderberry contains many antioxidants such as quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin. The color of elderberry is indicative of anthocyanins which is an antioxidant containing anti-inflammatory effects.

Cold & Flu Improvement: The extract of elderberry has been shown to reduce the extent and severity of the flu. Additionally, a study found that those taking elderberry extract had a reduction in cold and flu symptoms. There are many forms in which one can consume elderberry such as in a lozenge, capsule, and gummy.

Heart Health: Some studies have shown elderberry extract may reduce the level of cholesterol. The antioxidants that elderberry contains have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease. Elderberries may reduce the level of uric acid in the blood which could lower blood pressure and reduce harmful effects on the heart.

Improve Blood Sugar Levels: Elderberry can increase insulin secretion and improve blood sugar levels. Additionally, the elderberry flowers may help lower blood sugar levels due to the enzyme a-glucosidase they contain.

There are many other health benefits of elderberry such as cancer inhibition, fighting harmful bacteria, immune system support, and potential antidepressant properties. More research needs to be done to confirm the health claims, but it is encouraging to see the healing properties of elderberry.

At FreshVibes, we use and sell elderberry products from Norm’s Farm. Norm’s Farm was originally founded in Pittsboro, NC and utilize home-grown elderberries and clean ingredients. At FreshVibes we offer Elderberry Extract as well as the Elderberry Wellness Syrup. In addition, we have just re-launched our Flu Fighter Shots. These “farmacy” shots contain elderberry extract, lemon, ginger, and local, raw honey. Come check out our elderberry products to protect yourself and your family from this year’s cold and flu season!