Elderberry: Uses, Benefits and Side Effects

If elderberry sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve probably seen it in syrup form at your local pancake house, in a sweet wine at a liquor store, or on the shelves of the supplements section of your pharmacy. Here you will find everything you need to know about the benefits of elderberry and what it is for.

What is elderberry?

Elderberries, a dark purple berry from the European elderberry, can be eaten fresh in salads or cooked into jams and pies. The most popular edible variety. Sambucus nigra, either black elderberryIt comes from the Sambucus shrub, whose drupes grow in delicate clusters containing hundreds of deep purple berries.

People have depended on elderberry for centuries and it has been used as a traditional homeopathic remedy. Today, elderberry is a popular ingredient in a host of products, from healthy teas to elegant liqueurs.

Elderberry Benefits

Isolated image of bunch of elderberries |  What is elderberry?

1. Elderberry contains essential nutrients

Raw elderberries have a high nutritional content. “We get the phytochemicals that our body needs from the foods we eat. Incorporating elderberry into your diet not only helps meet your daily fiber needs, but also provides essential vitamins and minerals,” says a registered dietitian. Dr. Nina Hall RDN, LD.

These vitamins and minerals include:

2. Elderberry contains flavonoids

These sweet and tart berries are famous for their flavonoid content but also deliver anthocyanins and phenolic acids, which are believed to have the potential to help reduce oxidative stress.

Flavonoids They are found in almost all fruits and vegetables, as well as in the products we make with them, such as tea and wine. They act as powerful antioxidant-like compounds and can impart many health benefits.

3. Elderberry May Support a Healthy Immune System

A study of 312 air travelers found that after taking a supplement containing 300 mg of elderberry extract three times a day, those who became ill showed signs of a healthier immune system. While more research is needed, these initial findings are promising.

Are there risks associated with elderberry?

Isolated image of elderberry branch |  What is elderberry?

Dr. Hall notes that any substance that affects the body raises some level of concern and could complicate existing medical conditions; Elderberry is no exception.

Be careful when preparing

Leave elderberry preparation to the experts. While the flowers and berries can be safely consumed (preferably ripe and cooked), caution should be used, especially with homemade preparations, as some parts of the plant can be toxic. The safety and effectiveness of home remedies have not yet been determined.

elder bark, leaves, stems, and roots contain sambunigrin, a potentially toxic compound known to release cyanide. This substance is likely responsible of some recorded cases of elderberry juice poisoning. Serious side effects are more likely to occur with homemade elderberry juice, where little care was taken to exclude the leaves and stems from the mixture.

It is rare for elderberry to cause allergic reaction. However, improperly prepared or underripe elderberries can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, so it is important to purchase elderberry supplements from a reputable retailer.

Consult your doctor before supplementing

Hall recommends turning to dark berries, such as elderberry, to complement a healthy diet, with some caveats. She suggests consulting a medical professional before introducing any new dietary supplements into her routine.

“It’s important to get additional information about how a particular supplement might interact with anything you’re already taking,” he says.

Pregnant women and children should avoid eating elderberry or taking elderberry supplements until more research is done on its safety, or unless approved by a healthcare provider.

Where can you find elderberry?

Fresh, raw elderberries may be difficult to find in your everyday supermarket, but you may be able to find them in smaller stores that specialize in organic products. Dried elderberries, teas, and supplements are more common and available in brick-and-mortar stores and on Amazon.

Elderberry is also common as part of a broader mix of ingredients in supplements. For example, THE FIRST Contains elderberry, along with beta-glucan, vitamin C and zinc, to help support a healthy immune system.*

Here are some popular elderberry items available on Amazon:

The Republic of Tea Organic Elderberry Herbal Tea

MaryRuth Organics Elderberry Syrup

Nature’s Way Sambucus Elderberry Gummies

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

All trademarks, trade dress, product names and logos, as shown, are the property of their respective owners. The inclusion of third-party products in this article does not express or imply in any way any endorsement, approval or recommendation by such third party of any content provided herein, or any recommendation, endorsement or approval of the product by the author. or editor of this article.

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