When it comes to exploring natural health remedies, elderberry is one of the most prevalant fruits. Elderberry has been used for centuries for a wide range of purposes across many different cultures.2 Still to this day, we reap the benefits of this plant by integrating it into herbal remedies as well as commercial uses. The most commonly used elderberry plant is the European species Sambucus nigra although the American elderberry plant Sambucus canadensis is common as well.11 Elderberry has been shown to provide a variety of health benefits including the following:

Elderberry Benefits

Supports Cold & Flu Symptoms

One of the more widely known benefits of elderberry is its ability reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms.14 Some of these symptoms include headache, fever, body aches, and nasal congestion.12 
 

Constipation

In randomized clinical studies in 2010, the effect of S. nigras in a combination product consumed by individuals with chronic constipation was observed. These individuals were evaluated daily and it was determined that individuals in the treatment group showed a perceived improvement in bowel function by 62.9%.1
 

Joint & Muscle Pain

The Dwarf elder, also known as Sambucus ebulus L, has estalbished a reputation for supporting joint pains in history. It has an anti-inflammatory effect resulting from ursolic acid as well as nitric oxide scavenging activity.4 elderberry benefits

Reported Support from Elderberry Requiring Further Evidence

 

Heart Health

Elderberry contains anthocyanins, which are flavonoid antioxidants. Anthocyanins have been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease when added to dietary intake.13  Elderberry has also been apart of studies which support the notion it  supports healthy cholesterol and healthy blood pressure as well.7 
  

Combats Harmful Bacteria

Studies involving elderberry liquid extract show that is does demonstrate antimicrobial activity against harmful pathogens. Elderberry liquid extract is active against bacteria strains S. pyogenes, B. catarrahalis, and C & G Streptococci. These are all strains of human pathogenic bacteria.5
 

Acne

While further studies need to occur, elderberry has the potential to support the clearing of acne. Elderberry harbors antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which may support clearer skin. However, these speculations still require further testing for validation.5
 

Wrinkles

Eldeberry contains high levels of vitamin C, A, B, carotenoids and minerals. In addition to this, it also is a source of polyphenols which protect the body against oxidative stress due to its antioxidant activity. All of these properties have the potential to support healthy skin and prevent wrinkling. Similar to the theory of elderberry supporting clear skin for acne, further testing is necessary to confirm this speculation.10
 

Harboring Antidepressant Properties

In a 2014 study with mice testing the antidepressant activities of S. ebulus and S. niagra, it was determined that extracts from both species yielded safe and effective antidepressant activity.5 Of course, further studies on this need to occur to validate these findings.
 

Combats Harmful Bacteria

Studies involving elderberry liquid extract show that is does demonstrate antimicrobial activity against harmful pathogens. Elderberry liquid extract is active against bacteria strains S. pyogenes, B. catarrahalis, and C & G Streptococci. These are all strains of human pathogenic bacteria.5
 

Lowering Insulin Resistance

In a 2016 study with rats, elderberry dietary supplementation resulted in lowered insulin resistance. A polar extract demonstrated modulation in glucose metabolism while the lipophilic extract lowered insulin secretion. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the extent on this support.9
 

Other Reportings Include: Weight loss and dental pain.

 

Commercial Forms of Elderberry

Commercial forms of elderberry may include: lozenges, syrup, tea, gummies, and liquid. Elderberry may also come in the form of capsules. In GutProtect Total Immune & Digestive Support capsules, 100mg of elderberry fruit extract is included in every serving. This is in combination with clinically studied ingredients Epicor and Probiotic Bacillus subtilis to support regularity, gut health and the immune system.  

 

Safety Precautions

Pregnant or nursing: Elderberry should not be taken while pregnant or nursing as there is not enough sufficient evidence to declare it as safe.

  Preparing elderberry: When it comes to preparing elderberry, the roots, bark, seeds and leaves should not be consumed, even after cooking. Uncooked  and unripe berries should also be avoided, however, after cooking they are relatively safe to consume. Incorrect preparation of the elderberry plant can have adverse effects on the body such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.3

  Autoimmune diseases: Individuals with autoimmune diseases should consult with their primary care physicians before supplementing their diet with elderberry. Since elderberry supports the immune system, it has the potential to heighten symptoms from autoimmune diseases.8

  Drug interactions: If you take any drugs, You should consult with your doctor prior to supplementing with elderberry as it has the potential to interact with them.

 

The Composition of Elderberry

  1 cup of Elderberry contains:
  • Vitamin C: 52.2mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.333mg
  • Magnesium: 7.25mg
  • Calcium: 55.1mg
  • Protein 0.957g
  • Fiber: 10.2g
  • Vitamin A, IU: 870 IU
  • Iron: 2.32mg
  • Potassium: 406mg
Please note that the composition of elderberry is more extensive3, but these are some of the more known health nutrients.  

Conclusion

If prepared properly, elderberry has the ability support health in regards to providing the body with nutrients, providing relief from cold & flu symptoms, and even has potential to support heart health. It is not a recommendation that elderberry be the sole form of support for managing such aspects of health. Further studies are necessary to validate many of the claims surrounding the health benefits of elderberry. It is crucial to prepare elderberry from the outdoors properly to avoid sickness.

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