Elderberry is well known for its ability to heal. It’s just another of the many beautiful natural medicines that Mother Nature created for us.
Elder normally refers to two varieties from the honeysuckle family that produce berries. Hippocrates referred to the elderberry as the medicine chest and both the Romans and the Greeks used elderberry flowers to treat a myriad of ailments.
Often, the berries from the elder plants would be used to make wines and jams until the Middle Ages, but after this herbalists from European regions started to realise its medicinal uses and it was used to treat infections and influenza.
Native Americans have also been discovered to have used it for this purpose. It is only in recent years however that science has proven its medicinal benefits.
Boosting the Immune System
Scientists from a medical school in Jerusalem used elderberries as a syrup to treat a flu outbreak in Israel in the early 90s.
The scientists were amazed to see that the recovery time was cut in half by the elderberry elixir. As a result, the elixir was trademarked and it is now available in health food shops across the US and Europe and in some other countries.
The same scientists later visited Norway during a flu epidemic and gave flu sufferers the elderberry elixir or a placebo.
The group taking the elixir recovered around 4 days faster than those taking the placebo. The reason for the improved recovery time is the increased production of cytokine, which are immune compounds.
But elderberry does have lots more benefits too. It contains lots of antioxidants that fight off free radicals in the body like many other dark berries. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, fight infection by supporting infection fighting blood cells, and can be used as an antiviral.
It is recommended that you take two teaspoons of elderberry syrup per day, or drink 200ml elderberry juice each day. Elderberry tea doses can also give you’re the many benefits. Thus far, no side effects have been reported, however it is known that consuming berries that are not yet ripe can cause nausea and in some cases vomiting.
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