Herb of the Month: Elderberry

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Every year at this time, too many of us get wrapped up into the holiday spiral, skipping on our healthy diet for more holiday sugary treats, slacking on our sleep routine and exercise programs, and all in the name of the celebration season. These may seem like small deviations from our healthy schedules, but small changes usually lead us down the road towards colds and flu. On top of this we are facing the crowds, weather changes, and let us not forget all of the travel during the holiday months on planes, trains and automobiles, putting us in the center of even more unhealthy germ filled situations. Most of us, at the first sign of getting sick, will try anything and everything to reduce the annoying symptoms that are ruining our day. Personally, I prefer to use a prevention protocol, and Elderberry, one of the world’s most widely used medicinal herbs, is my herb of choice.

Elderberry actually refers to several varieties of the Sambucus tree; a flowering plant in the Adoxaceae genus family is a deciduous tree that grows up to 30 plus feet tall with white flowers and black-flu berries

The most commonly talked about is the Sambucus Nigra, you may also know it as European elderberry, or black elder. Over time the dried Elderberries or Elderberry juice have been used to help with viral infections, influenza, infections, and other health situations, as well as speeding flu recovery and shortening the length of down time (1).

Around the world, Elderberry is a “go-to herb,” used for many health conditions including anti-inflammatory benefits, for easing the symptoms of allergies, sinus infections, and even calming an upset stomach. I think Hippocrates, the Greek philosopher known as the “father of medicine’ had it right when he described the plant as his medicine chest, because of the huge diversity of benefits from this amazing plant.

The efficacy of elderberry syrup has previously been investigated in a placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical study during an outbreak of influenza B/Panama.13. A complete cure was achieved within two to three days in nearly 90% of the elderberry-treated group compared with at least 6 days in the placebo group (P < 0.001). Studies also show that elderberry syrup is effective against influenza A virus infections. Both studies show that the duration of the illness can be reduced by three to four days with elderberry syrup compared with placebo (2).

With Elderberry, a small amount of prevention is worth the huge benefits gained. Today we have the choice of Elderberry liquids, capsules, lozenges and gummies, providing formulas for all ages, including children. Elderberry products are available at quality health food stores nationwide.

 

References

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2819815 Phytother Res. 2017 Apr;31(4):533-554. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5782. Epub 2017 Feb 15.A Review of the Antiviral Properties of Black Elder (Sambucus nigra L.) Products.Porter RS1Bode RF

(2) Department of Virology, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel; https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/147323000403200205. The Journal of International Medical Research 2004; 32: 132 – 140 132 Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections

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