The immune-boosting elderberry has many benefits for our health and wellness. Find out why this little fruit is such a powerful ally during the winter season.
The fruit of the elder tree, elderberries have a long history of use as medicine. There’s evidence that they were cultivated as early as the Neolithic period and the father of medicine, Hippocrates, is said to have referred to them as the “medicine chest of the people”.
Fast-forward to modern times and elderberry is becoming increasingly popular as a natural protector against upper respiratory tract infections like colds and flu.
Today, we’re diving deeper into the benefits of elderberry for our immune systems. Packed with antioxidants, this is the perfect herb to support your health this winter.
The Health Benefits of Elderberries
1. High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are powerful compounds that protect against free radicals – atoms or molecules with an unpaired electron that damage our cells and cause disease. Fruits and vegetables are typically high in antioxidants, but elderberries are particularly rich in these beneficial compounds.
This high level of antioxidants makes elderberries great for our health. People with diets that are high in antioxidants are less likely to develop chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes or arthritis.
2. Packed with Vitamin C
Elderberries are also packed full of vitamin C, which is essential for many of our bodies’ core functions, including the immune system. 100g of raw elderberries contains 36mg of vitamin C, which is around 55% of our daily recommended intake.
3. Improve Cold and Flu Symptoms
Elderberries have been used as a herbal remedy for colds and flu for thousands of years. This is because elderberries have antimicrobial and antiviral properties, helping our bodies fight off infections and viruses.
People who take elderberry often recover faster from influenza and colds and experience less severe symptoms.
4. Boost the Immune System
All those antioxidants and vitamins make elderberry a great ally for supporting our immune systems. Elderberries increase our immune response, making us more able to resist infections and stay healthy during the winter months.
5. Good for Your Heart
There’s some evidence to suggest that elderberries may also help to protect our heart health. In animal studies, elderberry has been found to lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure, lessening the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In humans, diets that are high in antioxidants like those found in elderberries are associated with a decrease in heart problems.
6. Give You Glowing Skin
While avoiding viruses and colds might be our main priority during the winter months, there’s no denying that the colder weather takes its toll on our skin too.
Fortunately, all those antioxidants are also beneficial for our skin’s health. Elderberries can help to protect against sun damage and reduce the signs of ageing.
Are Elderberries Safe?
Elder trees often grow wild, so you might be tempted to just snag yourself a hand of these shiny berries when you next see them. However, the raw berries can cause stomach issues, so you’ll want to avoid taking elderberry raw.
Once processed, elderberries are safe, and many people take them daily to ward off colds and viruses. Check with your doctor if you are taking any medications and obviously avoid them if you are allergic.
Otherwise, elderberries are one of the most used herbal remedies in the world and you shouldn’t experience any issues with taking them.
How Should You Use Elderberries?
Although you should avoid using elderberries raw, there are plenty of other ways to take advantage of the health benefits of this immune-boosting fruit.
Many people take elderberries as a supplement, usually in the form of a syrup or gummy. However, we think the best way to use elderberry is as a tea. Not only is it a delicious and comforting way of enjoying these fruits, but it also means you can combine the elderberry with other active herbal ingredients, such as thyme, echinacea, or eucalyptus.
When you are feeling under the weather, a warm cup of tea is a calming ritual to soothe your symptoms, clear your sinuses, and ease a sore throat.
We love our NutraDefence tea during the winter months to boost the immune system and relieve the symptoms of colds, coughs, and sore throats. As well as elderberry, it contains herbs like thyme, mullein, ginger, and eucalyptus – all carefully chosen to support your health this winter.