Elderberry FAQs: How the OG Health Trend Took Off
Elderberry is having a moment right now and was all the craze during the Covid-19 pandemic, making it nearly impossible to find on store shelves. That’s no surprise. This power berry has been cherished for centuries due to its powerful antioxidant and immune-boosting properties. Let’s explore why elderberry is so hot right now and how you can harness all of its benefits.
What is Elderberry?
Elderberry is a type of berry belonging to the European or black elder tree, the most common type of Sambucus tree in a family of many. This tree is native to Europe but also grows in parts of Asia, North America, and Northern Africa. The black elder tree is a flowering tree and grows clusters of small white flowers called elderflowers. The berries from this tree, elderberries, are dark blue-black and can be found in clustered bunches. They have a distinct flavor described as earthy, tart-like, and not overly sweet, making them popular in many culinary creations.
Raw, unripe elderberries are toxic to eat as are the leaves and bark. They contain toxic substances that can cause severe illness if ingested in large quantities. Smaller quantities will cause unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. You can eliminate these substances by thoroughly cooking elderberries. However, the leaves and bark of the elder tree should not be used. Elderberries also contain small amounts of lectins which can also cause digestive issues if eaten in large quantities.
From Folklore to Science
Elderberries have been used medicinally for centuries tracing back to Ancient Egyptians, Europeans, and Native Americans. Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” referred to elderberry as the “medicine chest” of herbs due to its abundant number of benefits which has carried weight to today’s world of medicine.
Some of the age-old uses of the elder tree and its parts included but were not limited to:
- Skin conditions
- Colds and flu
- Sore throat
- Nerve Pain
Elderberry is also surrounded by folklore and myths that made the tree both feared and loved for its power. In many parts of Europe, the elder tree was believed to house a powerful spirit, “Elder Mother,” that could both harm and protect. The tree branches were commonly used in homes to ward off evil spirits or thieves. At the same time, building baby cradles of elder wood was warned against as it would bring forward a spirit that would pinch the child.
Looking back at the folklore surrounding the elder tree and the words of Hippocrates, it is clear that they both share a common belief...the elder tree is powerful.
Modern Elderberry Health Benefits
Today, elderberry continues to be recognized for its health benefits and has even been deemed a “superfruit.” Here are some of the top benefits of elderberry:
- Supports Treatment of Cold & Flu: The most notorious and studied health benefit of elderberries is their potential to help treat colds and cases of flu. Scientists believe the berry stimulates the immune system’s chemical response, relieving symptoms and shortening the duration. Studies have found promising results with people reporting symptom improvement in 2-4 days instead of 7-8 when taking elderberry.
- Powerful Antioxidant: Antioxidants are natural components that help protect the body against oxidative stress, which can lead to chronic disease. Elderberries seem to take the lead in antioxidant content against a variety of other berries.
- Promotes Heart Health: Some studies have found that elderberries promote healthy levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, and uric acid, all associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Promotes Diuretic Effects: Elderberries are believed to promote diuretic effects on the body. Diuretics help the body get rid of excess salt and water.
- Supports Healthy Cell Regeneration: The powerful antioxidant properties of elderberries protect the body from damage caused by free radicals and promote healthy cell regeneration.
- Boosts Nutrition: Black elderberries are rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and iron.
How to Use Elderberry
Elderberries are used to create a variety of commercial products such as jam, wine, lozenges, syrup, gummies, supplements, tea, juice, and baked goods. When commercially processed to make foods such as baked goods, jams, or juices, elderberries may lose some of their antioxidant properties, but they do remain delicious.
If you want to reap all the benefits of elderberry, you can try using fresh elderberry at home. It is important to remember that elderberries must be cooked before consumption!
Below are some recipes we recommend to try:
Elderberry Syrup: When you feel under the weather or your immune system needs a kick.
Elderberry Jam (No Pectin): A healthy and delicious morning spread for your toast!
Where do you Source Elderberry?
Elderberry season usually occurs during the months of August and September. It can be found in the wild growing in woodlands, along streams, marshes, and even in your backyard! Before picking fresh elderberries, make sure they are black elderberries as other forms of berries may contain higher levels of toxins and can be dangerous to your health.
You can also grow and harvest your own elderberries. When planting be sure to plant the correct seed to avoid growing the incorrect type of berries.
When in doubt you can try a local farmer’s market, frozen or dried berries, or our favorite source…elderberry supplements.
What Makes a Good Elderberry Supplement?
Growing, harvesting, and prepping berries is sometimes just not everyone’s cup of tea. Supplements offer a fast and reliable source of elderberry. They are easy to use, safe to take daily to promote good health, and are considered safer than raw berries due to toxicity concerns if not appropriately cooked.
Elderberry supplements promote:
- A strong immune system
- Cold and flu symptom relief
- Reduced inflammation
- Cardiovascular health
- Antioxidant activity
When looking for an elderberry supplement make sure the supplement is using black elderberry. It can be listed as Sambucus Nigra or elderberry extract. There is no standard dose of elderberry but try to check for at least 300mg of elderberry to promote higher potency and best results.
Elderberry+™ capsules from Natura Genics® provide a comprehensive elderberry formula with a combination of immune-boosting ingredients. Elderberry+™ contains 500mg of black elderberry together with 100mg of vitamin C and 50 mg of citrus bioflavonoids for additional antioxidant support. Zinc and ginger are also part of this formula and are well known to promote immune support and speedy recovery when dealing with a stubborn cold.
Elderberry is far from your average tree. It endures from ancient remedies to modern wellness trends and elderberry products continue to fly off the shelves. Harness the benefits of elderberry safely and deliciously!
Your Hispanic American Health Store
Health Hispanica® is a Hispanic-American health store specializing in supplements from Hispanic-American-owned brands such as Natura-Genics® and Yerba Farma®. We strive to provide quality and innovative supplements at fair prices and educate our clients and community on healthy living.
The statements above have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.