Amazing Facts About Elderberry
Elderberry is a very popular medicinal plant worldwide. It was used by Native Americans to treat inflammations, whereas the Egyptians used it to heal burns and improve their complexion.
It is still in use across various parts of Europe. Elderberry is a very commonly used supplement to treat cold and flu nowadays.
Surprisingly the leaves, bark, and raw berries of the plant are poisonous and can cause digestive problems.
In this article, you will learn all about the Elderberry, its benefits, and its side effects.
What is Elderberry?
Elderberry is a variety of the Sambucus tree. It is a flowering plant from the Adoxaceae family. Black elderberry is the most common type of Sambucus nigra. The tree grows clusters of small cream-colored or white flowers known as Elderberry. You can find these in blue-black or small black bunches. These berries cannot be eaten raw due to their tart taste.
Some other varieties are dwarf elder, American elder, danewort, blue elderberry, antelope brush, and red-fruited elder.
Elderberry helps to treat swelling, inflammation, and relieve pain. Different parts of this plant have different culinary and medicinal purposes.
The dried elderberry juice can treat infections, Influenza, dental pain. Headache, sciatica, and nerve pain.
Not only this, but the berries were also cooked to make jams, juices, pies, chutneys, and elderberry wine. People used elderberry flowers to make a sweet syrup by boiling with sugar or infused in a tea.
Elderberry Health Benefits:
Elderberries are known to have many health benefits. These are nutritious and help prevent flu and cold symptoms, fight inflammation, support heart health, and have many other benefits.
Let’s learn about the health benefits of Elderberry in detail:
Elderberries are low in calories and antioxidant-rich. One hundred grams of elderberries contain 18.4 grams carbs, 73 calories, and less than 1 gram protein and fat.
It also has many other nutrients:
- Vitamin C- 100 grams berries contain 6-35 mg Vitamin-C making up for 60% of daily intake.
- Fiber- 100 grams Elderberries contain 7grams fiber.
- Phenolic acid- Phenolic acids are powerful antioxidant compounds that reduce free radical damage caused by oxidative stress.
- Flavonols- These are rich in antioxidant flavonoids like Kaemferol, Quercetin, and Isorhamnetin. These flowers contain ten times more flavonoids than berries.
- Anthocyanins- This compound is responsible for the dark black color in elderberry and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Improves Flu Symptoms
Black elderberry extract can reduce the length and severity of influenza. Elderberry medicine helps in the treatment of flu and cold and comes capsules, liquids, gummies, and lozenges.
A study was done on 60 people suffering from influenza who took elderberry syrup every day 15 ml four times a day, improved the symptoms in 2-4 days and the condition improved in 6-8 days.
However, there is no large case study done so far to prove this health claim.
Rich In Antioxidants
At times when the metabolism is normal, reactive molecules start to release that get accumulated over time in the body. This can result in Oxidative stress and the development of cancer and type -2 diabetes.
Antioxidants are natural food components that include flavonoids, phenolic acid, which can remove the reactive molecules. According to research, an antioxidant-rich diet helps to prevent chronic disease.
The elderberry fruits, flowers, and leaves are a great source of antioxidants. However, the processing elderberries by juicing, heating, or extraction method can reduce the antioxidant activity.
Therefore, elderberry products like teas, juice, jams, and syrups reduce the benefit as compared to when it is in raw form.
Improves Heart Health
Elderberry has shown some amazing positive effects on the health of the heart and blood vessels. According to studies, elderberry juice reduces the level of fat and cholesterol in the body. Also, a high flavonoid diet like anthocyanins can reduce the chances of heart diseases.
Elderberries helps to reduce the uric acid levels in the blood. Excess uric acid causes higher blood pressure and poor effects on heart health. These are also helpful to improve blood sugar levels and insulin secretion. Type 2 is a major risk factor for vascular diseases and heart diseases. To prevent these diseases, it is important to control blood sugar levels.
Certain studies present the evidence that its flowers contain an enzyme called a-glucosidase, which lowers the blood sugar levels. It also helps to improve blood sugar levels in mice.
Despite so many positive studies, the relation between heart diseases and heart attacks is still not clear; we require more human-based studies.
Read More:- Healthy Late Night Snacks To Try
Other Health Benefits:
There are many health benefits of elderberry; sadly, there is less scientific evidence. Some other common elderberry benefits are:
- Helps to fight cancer
- Fights harmful bacteria
- Supports the immune system
- Protects against UV radiations
- Increase urination
- Contains antidepressant properties
Elderberry Side Effects And Risks
There are some promising elderberry benefits. However, we cannot neglect the side effects associated with its consumption.
Unripe berries, the bark, and seeds contain a substance called lectins, which is responsible for causing stomach problems when you eat too much.
Elderberry plants also contain cyanogenic glycosides, a substance that releases cyanide. This toxic compound is present in almonds and apricot seeds.
When prepared commercially, it does not contain any sign of cyanide; therefore, you can consume them safely. Some common side effects symptoms of eating the berries, roots, bark, or leaves raw include vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea.
Fortunately, the toxic substances present in the berries can be removed safely by cooking. Try and avoid using leaves or bark in cooking or juicing.
Warning: Keep elderberries away from children and pregnant or lactating women.
Elderberry has various health benefits, as per the research conducted in the labs on animals. However, avoid using it for treating health concerns due to the lack of human-based research.
Elderberry juice, extract, syrup, and supplements help to treat cold and flu, improve heart health, reduce blood sugar levels, and so many others. It is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetes effects on the body.
It is also a rich source of Vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients. Before consuming elderberry, consult with your doctor about the side effects and precautions.