What Is Elderberry?
Elderberries are the fruit from the elder bush that are harvested in the fall. There are a few varieties of elderberry but the one most commonly used for health benefits is the European variety, black elderberry (Sambucus nigra). They grow most commonly in woodlands and are found in Europe, Western Asia, North America, and North Africa.
Benefits of Elderberry
Elderberry has been shown to fight the virus that causes the flu. A 2004 study found that elderberry extract had anti-viral properties against the flu. Participants in the study were less likely to need rescue medications and symptoms were relieved on average 4 days sooner than those who didn’t use elderberry. Additionally, elderberry is effective against 10 strains of the flu, according to a 2009 study.
This popular superfood berry works for most respiratory illnesses. A 2019 meta analysis concluded that elderberry is “an alternative to antibiotic misuse for upper respiratory symptoms due to viral infections, and a potentially safer alternative to prescription drugs for routine cases of the common cold and influenza.”
The berries and flowers of elderberry are packed with a powerhouse of antioxidants and vitamins that can naturally help to boost your immune system. As cold and flu are more prevalent in the winter months, here's how to make your own elderberry tea:
How to make Elderberry tea
- 2 tbsp of dried elderberries
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 1-2 tbsp of agave syrup
- Add a slice of fresh ginger or lemon for a boost of antioxidants!
- In a mug place the elderberries in a tea strainer
- Add boiling water, cover and allow the tea to steep for 2-3 minutes
- Remove strainer and add agave to taste
- The elderberries can be reused up to three times
- Zakay-Rones, Z., Thom, E., Wollan, T., & Wadstein, J. (2004). Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections. Journal of International Medical Research, 32(2), 132-140.
- Roschek, B., Fink, R. C., Mcmichael, M. D., Li, D., & Alberte, R. S. (2009). Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro. Phytochemistry, 70(10), 1255-1261.
- Hawkins, J., Baker, C., Cherry, L., & Dunne, E. (2019). Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 42, 361-365.