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Health Facts & Benefits Of Elderberry You Need To Know

Health Facts Benefits Of Elderberry

Health Benefits Of Elderberry - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)


Are you looking for a natural remedy known to be medicinal? The elderberry might be the one for you. The elderberry dates back to the early man who cultivated the elderberry. Also, there is evidence of elderberry medicine from Egypt.

Reducing nerve pain, inflammation, and allergies are among the many health benefits of the elderberry. Studies show that the elderberry helps relieve colds and flu, and the elderberry can be a remedy for cancer.

The elderberry is good for digestion and bowel movement as it eases constipation. Do you have acne and wrinkles? Then elderberries may work for you without taking other medicine or applying ointments. And, elderberries may help control and lower blood sugar, so it may help you manage diabetes.

Understanding Elderberries

Elderberries are fruits of the Sambucus plant[1], a flowering plant from the Adoxaceae family. You can use its flowers and berries as medicine. Specifically, Sambucus nigra is the most common species used for medicinal purposes.

The elder plant is native to Africa, Europe, and Asia. Elderberry plants are found in woodlands. Standing at about 30 feet, the elder plant boasts white flowers and green berries that turn red and black when they ripen. There are other similar berries, such as:

  • Red elderberry
  • Blue elderberry
  • Lemon lace elderberry
  • Adams elderberry

The elderberry contains carbohydrates, proteins, fat, and a high percentage of water. They have many vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin A. Still, they contain minerals such as potassium and iron.

Elderberry is used for medicinal purposes because it contains quercetin, rutin, and phenolic acids. Also, they have antioxidant properties which help counter cell damage. Further still, elderberries contain anthocyanins[2], which are chemical compounds that help boost immunity.

Health Benefits Of Elderberries With Evidence

Elderberries make supplements

1. Provides Cold And Flu Relief

Elderberries make supplements used to treat colds and cases of flu. Since elderberries contain anthocyanins, they can boost immunity. Recent studies show that elderberries are safe and effective when treating colds and flu. According to studies, elderberry supplements have proved helpful in reducing cold durations for people who travel by air. If you take elderberries a few days before a flight, elderberries can noticeably minimize many signs of the common cold.

Elderberries have antioxidant qualities that have an antiviral effect and can cure the flu. When people with flu-like symptoms took doses of elderberry extract, there was an improvement in their symptoms after 24 hours. Nonetheless, people who took elderberries didn’t fully recover from the flu. They had less painful symptoms that did not last for long.

2. Treating Acne

Elderberries have anti-inflammatory traits due to their high flavonoid levels. Also, they have antioxidant characteristics that make them viable in treating acne. Acne is a skin condition where hair follicles get clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Research suggests that elderberries can help to protect the healthy cells from radicals that cause skin problems.

3. Reducing Wrinkles

According to the American Nutrition Association, elderberries have high levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A may help reduce wrinkles by soothing the skin and removing age spots on the skin.

4. Pain Relief

Anthocyanin is a chemical compound known to reduce inflammation. Elderberries have a high amount of anthocyanin that inhibits nitric oxide production. When nitric oxide is released, the body responds to it as a signal for inflammation to occur. When you take elderberries, the anthocyanin inhibits the production of nitric oxide, which slows down inflammation and eases pain and swelling. Elderberries can relieve dental pain, cuts, burns, and joint pain treatment. However, studies are still ongoing to investigate how elderberries help reduce inflammation.

5. Disease Prevention

Elderberries are known to help boost immunity and greatly help prevent diseases. In addition, elderberries have antioxidation qualities that prevent inflammation. Also, elderberry supplements are known to reduce the chances of having cancer and heart disease.

Reduces Sinus Infection

6. Reduces Sinus Infection Symptoms

A sinus infection is a respiratory condition where nasal cavities in and around the nasal passage become inflamed. Due to the elderberry’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidation, the elderberry[3] may cure sinus infections and other respiratory anomalies.

7. Lowers Blood Sugar

The flowers and berries of the elder plant have treated diabetes. According to some studies, the elderflower extracts stimulate the secretion of insulin, which is responsible for converting excess glucose into fats, which lowers blood sugar levels. Also, some studies claim that eating elderflower extracts may increase glucose oxidation and glycogenesis without the influence of insulin. Glycogenesis is the process by which excess sugar is removed from your bloodstream into your muscles and liver. It helps maintain optimum blood sugar levels.

8. Acts As A Natural Diuretic

A diuretic is a substance that causes the production of urine. If your body retains too much fluid, your doctor will prescribe diuretics to help reduce fluid levels in the body. Research[4] indicates that you may use elder plant’s leaves, berries, and flowers that have diuretic properties that reduce body fluids.

9. Promotes Regularity

The elderberry promotes regularity and digestive health. Traditionally, the elder plant relieved constipation. It was added to herbal mixtures to improve digestive health. When taken, the elder plant promotes urination and bowel movements. Also, it helps reduce body fluids. If you mix elderberries with other plants, you can use them as a herbal laxative to treat constipation. Nevertheless, no studies prove that elderberries can help relieve constipation single handedly.

10. Supports Skin Health

In recent times, elderberries have continuously grown into the cosmetic industry. Notably, you may use elderberries to make cosmetic products. It contains bioflavonoids, vitamins, and antioxidants making your skin look great. Also, studies claim that elderberries have compounds that can help boost your skin naturally. Further, the berries are known for their anti-inflammatory qualities that can help them give correct skin structure and improve the collective conditions of your skin.

11. Eases Allergies

Flowers of the elder plant are known to be effective in dealing with allergies. Allergies involve inflammation and an unstable immune system. Fortunately, elderflowers can help ease allergies since they have anti-inflammatory qualities and help boost your immune system. Many herbalists have used elderberries to deal with allergies effectively. Most herbalists prefer the black elderflower.

12. May Contain Cancer-Fighting Effects

Elderberry extracts are rich in anthocyanin which has proved to be effective in several medicinal purposes. These berries also contain flavonoids and some polyphenols that make the berry carry high antioxidant abilities. Furthermore, some elderberry species may prevent the production of ornithine decarboxylase[5] enzymes. The production of this enzyme causes the start of cancer formation. By inhibiting the production of this enzyme, the elderberries show that they are potential cancer-fighting foods.

Elderberry extracts

13. May Boost Your Heart Health

There is no valid proof that elderberries improve heart health. However, different studies show that elderberry helps in reducing cardiovascular diseases. Due to the presence of anthocyanin in the elderberry, there is a reduction in cholesterol levels when elderberry extracts have experimented on mice with high cholesterol. It is because of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory aspects of the elderberry.

Some reports on weight loss tips point out that elderberry may lead to weight loss to help reduce body cholesterol. Weight reduction also improves heart health since blood will flow better since the blood vessels will be clear of fat. Also, the berries contain polyphenols, which are known to reduce hypertension and the side effects that come with it.

Risks, Side Effects, And Interactions

Despite the many health benefits of elderberry, there are a few side effects. Ripe or cooked elderberries are safe when taken in moderation. However, eating too many elderberries may give you diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and stomach aches. Below are some side effects of eating unripe or too many elderberries.

1. Poisoning

The leaves, stems, bark, roots, and unripe elderberries contain a poison known as a cyanogenic glycoside. If you chew unripe elderberries, the cyanide is released into your body. Also, ripe berries contain traces of cyanogenic glycoside, so consume them in moderation. The raw berries can make you sick by causing nausea, numbness, vomiting, and diarrhea. But, elderberries are not suitable for children and pregnant or nursing mothers.

2. Drug Interactions

Elderberries’ interaction with drugs meant to subdue the immune system could affect their ability to work effectively. It is because elderberries boost your immune system. Therefore, they tend to undo what these drugs work on. People with autoimmune disorders should not take elderberries without permission from the doctor.

Elderberry Nutrition

Elderberries have many nutrients that make them many health benefits. A cup of elderberries contains:

  • 100 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrates
  • 50 mg of vitamin C
  • 55 mg of calcium
  • 2 mg of iron
  • 400 mg of potassium
  • 800 mg of vitamin A
  • Elderberries also contain some amounts of fiber.

How To Use Elderberries?

To use elderberries correctly, know which parts are poisonous and edible. You can find elderberry supplements such as syrups, capsules, and lozenges in stores. There are also elderberry skin care products available in cosmetic products. Nonetheless, if you want to prepare elderberries, follow the procedures below.

To make syrup from elderberries, start by removing the stalks, then cook the berries in water and sugar. Strain the berries and boil the liquid until it takes a syrup-like consistency. You can take the syrup with yogurt or smoothies.

Dosage And Preparation

Since ancient times, elderberries have been used as natural medicines for different disorders. They are made available in:

Elderberry Tea
  • Teas
  • Syrups
  • Capsules
  • Tonics
  • Ointments
  • Gummies

Never take more than the manufacturer’s recommended dosage of elderberry to avoid side effects. Also, never use elderberry as a substitute for medicine given by the doctor.

What To Look For

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies elderberry medications as diet supplements. It means they shouldn’t be sold as treatments for any medical condition. Since supplements do not undergo quality testing by the FDA, the elderberry supplements may vary in quality. Therefore, research before buying any elderberry supplements to avoid harmful side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Elderberries have antioxidant qualities that can help relieve joint pains, and constipation and improve your heart health. Further, they help boost your immune system and reduce symptoms of colds and cases of flu.

Yes, you can take elderberries every day. However, avoid taking more than the prescribed amount.

The best way to store elderberries is by putting the berries in a container and then storing them in a refrigerator.

To make elderberry syrup, start by removing the stalks in the berry, then cook the berries in water and sugar and then strain them. Finally, boil the liquid until it takes a syrup-like consistency.


In short, you may use all parts of the elder plant. It includes the leaves, berries, and flowers to manage or control several conditions, and you can use it naturally for fun, as a natural supplement, or as food.

Elderberries are known for their ability to treat some medical conditions. It can help relieve a cold or flu. Furthermore, elderberries are known to help in cancer and joint pain treatment. Also, the elderberry plant can reduce constipation and improve heart health.

This natural medication is made available in several forms. You can find it as syrup, juice, tea, and tablets. Eating raw elderberries might bring harmful side effects to your body.
You may experience symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

So, take elderberries with caution to avoid harmful side effects. If you are under medications, do not take supplements without consulting your doctor first. Still, one of the most recommended weight loss tips is taking elderberry supplements regularly. With time, several people have reported a significant reduction in weight after taking elderberry supplements for some time.

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