Brief History of Use
Elderberry (Sambucus negra), was used by Hippocrates, the “father of medicine” who liked it so much, he called elderberry his “medicine chest.” Native American healers from tribes such as Cherokee, Meskwaki, and Menominee used elderberry as medicine to treat various health conditions.
In colonial times, members of the middle class and poor did not have the means to pay a doctor for medical care, so the colonial mothers treated any ailments affecting their families.
These women healers kept a paste of elderberry mixed with sugar on hand and used it to treat coughs and other flulike symptoms.
How does it work?
Elderberry has many different components which make a useful and potent medicine as well as a booster for the immune system.
Three important components that contribute to elderberry’s effectiveness are:
- hemagglutinin protein– can stop a virus from penetrating a cell well and form spreading inside the body
- anthocyanins – reduce inflammation
- flavonoids – have antiviral activity
What does it do?
- helps prevent/treat viral infections like colds
- fights bacteria and viruses
- calms inflammation
- reduces body aches & fever
- treats coughs
How is it administered?
- added to a syrup with sugar or honey
- taken in a tablet or capsule
- in a tincture
- brewed as a tea or decoction
- in lozenges
- in gummies
What are the side effects?
Elderberry is well tolerated by the young and old alike, but should be avoided by:
- pregnant and breastfeeding women
- people taking diuretics
- those with known allergies to elderberry
WARNING: You should never consume unripe or uncooked elderberries since they can make you sick. Do not consume other parts of the tree, including stems, leaves, bark, roots, or seeds since they contain cyanide and can make you very ill.
Summary: Elderberry is a versatile medicine that has been around for a long time. It boosts the immune system and fights symptoms of illness like fever and body aches
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Z Zakay-Rones, E. T. (2004, April 1). Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral ELDERBERRY extract in the treatment of Influenza A and B virus infections – Z ZAKAY-RONES, E Thom, T wollan, J Wadstein, 2004. SAGE Journals. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/147323000403200205.