Elderberry, scientifically known as Sambucus nigra, is a dark purple berry of European origin. It is used in folk medicine to treat colds and flu because of its antioxidant properties, which help reduce inflammation and the effects of colds and influenza. Further, it helps in boosting the immune system and has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
With time and enhancement in research, studies show that it also helps lower high cholesterol, protect from UV B rays, liver problems, kidney problems, aids, cancer, etc.
This berry grows on about 99 metres tall trees and has many small white flowers known as Elder Flowers, which further leads us to small blue blackberries known as Elderberry. Elderberry syrup is well-known for its medicinal properties and has been relieving pain and inflammation since ancient times.
People have elderberries in oatmeal, syrups, ice creams, biscuits, tea, jams, jellies, muffins, gin, pie, chutney cookies, popsicles, and lozenges.
Nutritional Properties of Elderberry
As per USDA nutritional value per 100 grams of raw elderberries is
- Energy: 73 Kcal
- Water: 79.8g
- Protein: 0.66g
- Carbohydrate: 18.4 g
- Calcium: 38mg
- Iron: 1.6 mg
- Vitamin C: 36 mg
- Potassium: 280 mg
- Phosphorus: 39 mg
Elderberries have a substantial quantity of dietary fibre per 100 grams, which helps prevent constipation, improve bowel function, lower blood pressure, and prevent cardiovascular disease and colon cancer. Also, the fruit is low on the glycemic index, so it’s unlikely to impact your blood sugar levels significantly.
Elderberries, like most fruits, are poor in protein and have a very low-fat content. Beta carotene, found in elderberries, is converted to vitamin A. This vitamin can help in the fight against free radicals, which can harm your skin, heart, and lungs, and betters eye health. Vitamin A also helps fight inflammation, which can impair the proper functioning of cells and muscles.
Elderberries also contain a significant amount of vitamin C, which helps tissue repair, immunity, wound healing, and collagen synthesis. Elderberries are a low-calorie snack high in antioxidants that can assist the body fight oxidative stress. Anthocyanins, which give the fruit its dark black-purple colour, are a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.
The HealthifyMe Note
Elderberries are high in calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, and phosphorus. Potassium is a necessary mineral for blood pressure and heart rhythm control. Copper is essential for producing red blood cells, and iron is vital for red blood cell formation.
Health Benefits of ElderBerries
Helps Treat Cold and Flu
Elderberry has antiviral properties that can help reduce the severity of colds and coughs, as confirmed by a study. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza..
Helpful for Cancer or Aids Patients
A new study sheds light on the effects of elderberries on cancer and HIV/AIDS, showing the impact of sambucol, a natural substance derived from elderberries, on human cytokines. In addition, Sambucol shortened the duration of flu symptoms from three to four days.
Helps in Preventing Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease mainly managed not just with medicines but with the proper lifestyle and healthy eating. Therefore, a diet rich in elderberry extract could maintain a glycemic index and reduce complications in diabetics. In addition, due to its antioxidant effect, Elderberry can help with diabetes by improving one’s lipid profile.
Help Protect from UV Rays
Nothing harms our skin more than the sunlight falling directly on the bare skin. Therefore, besides using creams, it is also essential to include something in our diet that has a beneficial effect on our skin and can protect us from UV rays. The study shows that Elderberry can lessen the harmful impact of the sun by UVB-induced skin damage, as Elderberry suppresses oxidative damage and thus protects our skin.
May Help with Digestive Issues
Gut health is one of the most important aspects of good health, and it is essential if you desire a tranquil mind and body state. Therefore, we should include food products that help us maintain good health for good gut health. According to a study, the fruit of Elderberry named Sambucus Nigra has laxative properties and can help constipation. Also, therefore, historically, it has been a popular treatment for constipation, continuing from the olden days.
Helps in Respiratory Problems
Elerberry was used in folk medicine treating respiratory infections. This study showed that elderberries are safe for treating respiratory infections.
May Help in Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain which makes a person unconscious. In more simple words, it is a neurological issue. According to a study conducted on saline-treated mice, feeding them the Elderberry extracts decreases the time of seizures as GABA receptors are involved in epilepsy.
Helps with Kidney Problems
Administration of Elderberry is standard folk medicine for difficulties relating to kidney and urine, in addition to cold and cough symptoms caused by inflammation. It also suggested that about 500 milligrams per day of elderberry extract for about 12 weeks is safe and can help with kidney and urinary problems.
Although cholesterol is essential for the body’s cells, its high levels are very harmful. Numerous heart diseases start with high cholesterol in the body, among which the most common are heart attack or cardiac arrests. Taking a diet that is good for cholesterol is vital.
The extract of elderberry improves cardiovascular health. In addition, studies suggest that elderberry extract can lower the risk of chronic implications By impacting HDL dysfunction.
Ways to Incorporate Elderberry into Your Diet
You can have it in several ways:
Smoothies are the perfect blend for weight loss, and if it includes something that is a hub of vitamins and minerals, it makes it more effective and enjoyable. Elderberry smoothie is an excellent way to serve Elderberry.
It consists of simple ingredients, including elderberry syrup, frozen banana, water, strawberries, and orange juice. Of course, you can use any other available fruits. Blend everything, and a beautiful smoothie is ready to drink.
What is more, loved by children than muffins, and what is more relaxing for parents if the children eat something fun and nutritious? Muffins can be an excellent choice for breakfast or evening snack recipes. Just by using simple ingredients available in every kitchen, like oat flour, nuts, brown sugar, and butter, you can make them instantly.
Jelly is something that children always love, and if it comes with a lot of benefits, it becomes more fun. Jelly is high in vitamins and minerals; you can use it in various ways, such as in ice cream and smoothies.
Elderberry lozenges are pretty popular. For centuries, these berries worked as an immune system remedy. The lozenges reduce swelling and inflammations and help in common colds, coughs, or flu. Always ask your physician or read the label carefully to avoid overdose.
Elderberry Ice Cream
Everyone loves this light pink-purple colour ice cream; it has a sweet to tart taste, made with simple ingredients: whipping cream, eggs, sugar, salt, and elderberry syrup. It is rich in nutrients and minerals and is an excellent blend of taste and nutrition.
The HealthifyMe Note
Elderberry, which is high in vitamins and minerals and has several health advantages, comes in various forms that everyone enjoys.
Healthy Recipes Using Elderberries
- Elderberry Tea
Elderberry is one tea that boosts our immune system, cleanses the body, helps in inflammation, and soothes colds and coughs.
Serves: 1 serving
Preparation time: 20 min
- Water: 2 cups
- Elderberries: 2 tbsp (dried)
- Cinnamon stick: 1
Method of Preparation
- In a small pot, combine all of the ingredients. The berries will begin to release their colour almost immediately.
- Over high heat, bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the tea simmer for 15 minutes after it begins to boil.
- Please turn off the heat and leave the tea to rest for 5 minutes once it has simmered.
- Strain the tea into a cup via a fine-mesh sieve and drink!
Nutritional Value per Serving
- Calories: 30 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 8 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Fat: 1 g
- Potassium: 83 g
- Calcium: 61 g
- Vitamin A: 177 µg
- Elderberry Juice
As elderberries are full of the goodness of vitamins and minerals, the juice can help boost your immune system and reduce stress and different kinds of problems. You can make juice with raw elderberries or blend berry powder in water. You can also add superfruits like cinnamon and ginger to add an extra health punch.
Quantity: 2 litres
Preparation time: 45 min
- Elderberries (remove the twigs): 2 kg
- Apples: 1 dozen
- Water: 1 litre
Method of Preparation
- Wash and clean the elderberries.
- Wash the apples and slice them.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the elderberries and apples with all the water. Allow to boil for about 30 minutes, or until all the juice is extracted from the berries.
- Place the strainer on top of a second big pot or mixing bowl. Pour the juice into a sieve and squeeze the berries with a spoon to extract all of the juice. Allow it to sit until the juice has drained through the strainer completely.
- In a saucepan, cook the concentrated juice over medium heat.
- Fill clean bottles with concentrated elderberry juice and close/seal the bottles immediately. If you want the juice to last longer, this stage is necessary. After that, keep the juice in the fridge to enjoy it for a week.
Adverse Effects and Allergies of Elderberries
Some of the common symptoms of excess elderberry consumption are:
- Nausea vomiting (taking it in the uncooked form of leaves or bark)
- Runny nose
- Stomach cramps
- Breathing problems (infrequent)
- Swelling of lips, face, or throat
Note: These symptoms of Elderberry are not identical, and more research is needed to confirm them. However, overdosing or consuming them inappropriately can cause some of the abovementioned symptoms.
Elderberries are berries loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which help the immune system and are very good in reducing the severity of cold and fever. It is considered to be safe to consume and has numerous advantages. It is also used for commercial purposes to make jams, jellies, lozenges, and other similar items.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the health benefits of elderberries?
A. Elderberry is a rich source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that help our immune system. It’s popular in folk medicine, and researchers have now confirmed that it helps treat cold fever and influenza. Furthermore, it helps reduce stress and aids in diabetes, heart problems, liver diseases, kidney problems, etc. Elderberry plays a massive role in the wellness market as its syrup helps treat influenza and cold-like symptoms. Also, its power is used in lozenges, gummies, and supplements to treat the problems mentioned earlier.
Q. Is it okay to take elderberries every day?
A. An Elderberry, much more than a berry, is used in supplements to treat symptoms like influenza, cold, and fever. People can consume it regularly in the suggested amount. Having them in the cooked form is better than in the raw form.
Q. Who should not take Elderberry?
A. It is not recommended for children and pregnant women or lactating women. As Elderberries can stimulate the immune system, people with autoimmune disorders or any severe problems should consult their dietician or doctor before taking any product related to elderberries.
Q.What does Elderberry do to your immune system?
A. The immune system is a system in the body that provides the body with the resistance to fight infections and the harmful toxins in the body. Elderberry is very rich in antioxidants that help in lessening the inflammation and thus reducing the pain. It can also help relieve stress because it has antioxidants, and most diseases caused by free radicals are very harmful. It can bind with those free radicals and thus can protect our health. In ancient times, people used it for symptoms like cold, influenza, etc.
Q. Can you take Elderberry and zinc together?
A. No recent research says there is an interaction between Elderberry and zinc. However, immunosuppressant medications can interact with elderberries. Elderberry can increase the activity of the immune system; because it contains antioxidants, it is best advised not to take it with the immunosuppressant drugs.
Q. Can you take elderberries and vitamins ?
A. Although there is no problem in taking vitamins with elderberries, it is always best to ask your physician before taking any new vitamins.
Q. Can you take elderberries and turmeric together?
A. Both are excellent immune boosters that help reduce the symptoms of colds, flu, and influenza. Still, if you take a medicine or supplement with turmeric supplements, you should avoid taking it twice.
Q. Are elderberries good for lungs?
A. As elderberries are rich in antioxidants that can reduce the symptoms or severity of respiratory infections on inflammation, it may help the lungs, but if you have any severe lung problems, don’t just depend on them.
Q. Can you take elderberries if you have high blood pressure?
A.Elderberry supplements may help lower blood pressure, but it is always advisable if you want to take any medical prescription first, ask your doctor and then start up with any medicine.
Q. Does Elderberry help in growing hair?
A. Yes, if you are using natural elderberry-based oil, it can help you with hair problems like split ends, rough hair, or dullness and uneven hair growth and encourage natural hair growth, shine, and treat your dry scalp nourish your hair.
Q. Does Elderberry have side effects?
A. If taken in the raw form of leaves, stems, or bark or if taken in excess, it can have severe side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, or dizziness. Still, Elderberry has no side effects and helps boost the immune system. You should consult your doctor to avoid interaction if you take certain medications.
Q. Can you take too much Elderberry?
A. No one should not take too many elderberries as an excess of anything is harmful. It can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, muscle cramps, and many other problems. Hence, taking it as prescribed by a physician or labelled on the packet is advisable.
Q. When should I not take elderberries?
A. Elderberries that aren’t ripe or cooked are unsafe, and infants should avoid such supplements. It should be better for pregnant or lactating women to refer to their gynaecologist before taking any such supplement. If you have any uneasiness, don’t take them further.