Benefits of the Elderberrys

By Komiko Garcia- Health Education Tech

For hundreds of years people have used plants as medicine to help when someone is feeling ill. One of the plants you may be hearing much about recently is elderberries. Question is what is an elderberry? How does it help you? Where can you get some? Elderberries are a fruit that come from a tree called the sambucus tree. The tree has clusters of small white or cream elderflowers and bunches of small blue or black elderberries. Native Americans long ago used elderberries for many health benefits. This includes boosting the immune system to help your body fight off things like colds, flu, and other respiratory infections.

There have been few studies that show elderberries help fight the flu and other colds. It is believed that elderberries have antioxidants and antiviral effects. In one study in one study, 60 people with flu-like symptoms took 15 ml of elderberry syrup four times a day. Their symptoms improved 4 days before the people who took a placebo. In another study, 32 people with flu-like symptoms took cough drops containing 175 mg of elderberry extract four times a day for 2 days. After 24 hours, they reported an improvement in symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and nasal congestion. Another study wondered whether elderberry extract could prevent people from experiencing cold-like symptoms after traveling on an airplane. People took cough drops containing 300 mg of elderberry extract and 150 mg of rice flour twice a day for 10 days before traveling. Researchers found that the capsules did not prevent the symptoms, but people who took elderberry had less severe symptoms that lasted for a shorter time.

Some of the other benefits of the elderberry is it also contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help to protect healthy cells from harmful bacteria that plays a role in skin problems, thus helping with treating acne. This makes it useful to use an elderberry facewash because of its antiseptic effects. They also contain high levels of vitamin A. The elderberries ay sooth the skin which helps ease the appearance of age spots, and lessen wrinkles.

Elderberries are a great source of fiber, containing 10.2 g of dietary fiber per cup. The daily recommendation of fiber for men 34g and 28g for women. Meeting daily fiber recommendations can have many health benefits for example:

prevent constipation

improve bowel function

protect against colorectal cancer

reduce blood pressure

protect against cardiovascular disease

lower blood cholesterol

Of course too much of a good thing can be bad. Elderberries should be eaten carefully when raw. People can eat elderflowers raw or cooked. However, raw elderberries, as well as the seeds, leaves, and bark of the tree, contain a toxic substance. Eating or drinking raw elderberries or another toxic part of the plant can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. To make your own elderberry syrup you can boil the berries in a mixture of water and sugar. Elderberry capsules, cough drops, and syrups are available in stores for treating a cold or the flu. Elderberry based skin care products are also available in some stores. Please note that elderberry syrup does contain high levels of sugar.

One cup of elderberries contains 106 calories and 26.68 grams (g) of carbohydrate. A cup also contains the following vitamins and minerals:

 870 mg of vitamin A

406 mg of potassium

52.2 mg of vitamin C

9 mg of folate

55 mg of calcium

2.32 mg of iron