We are familiar with the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctors away,” but what about elderberries ? Elderberries are considered the number one superfood rich in antioxidants and vital nutrients and are widely known for their medicinal properties to help treat flu and common cold symptoms. Especially in this day and age, elderberry has become the go-to treatment for many, but why?
What Are Elderberries ?
Elderberries, also known as Sambucus nigra, are plants found in regions of North America and Europe containing a rich colour shade of purple and black. Historically, elderberries were referred to as a Holy Tree and, in the words of Hippocrates, as “nature’s medicine chest.”
All parts of the plant were considered valuable, capable of restoring and maintaining good health and longevity. People used them in the Middle Ages in the form of juice to aid with skin softness, complexion, and beauty. Indigenous tribes within North America found the elderberry plant to help their people for medicinal purposes to treat bruises, burns, and fever, however, some groups even believed elderberries could ward off evil spirits and ate large quantities of them.
The use of elderberries carried on as early as the 1900s in treating individuals with elderberry syrup who showed symptoms of the cold and flu, and was found to help treat asthma symptoms and inflammation.
So, what is the magic behind elderberries?
Benefits of Elderberries
Elderberries contain extraordinary amounts of minerals and antioxidants, primarily polyphenols (which help to prevent oxidative stress, a culprit behind many chronic diseases such as cancers, coronary heart disease and inflammation. Helps manage blood pressure levels and keep your blood vessels healthy and flexible promoting good circulation.) and anthocyanins (which possess antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-obesity effects, as well as prevention of cardiovascular diseases).
When consumed daily, whether as a drink, supplement, or in the most popular form as a syrup, your body is able to build a stronger immune system to protect you against various chronic diseases. People have used elderberry syrup for centuries to treat colds and flu by strengthening their immune systems.
At the same time, both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in elderberries help protect your skin cells as you age. If you want a better shine to your skin, elderberries contain antioxidants that protect your skin cells from aging and a great natural remedy for acne, wrinkles, and other skin problems. Although aging is inevitable, you can still look and feel your best by consuming elderberries.
Elderberries contain a variety of key nutrients such as:
Each of these nutrients, alongside the powerful antioxidant properties in elderberries, helps support your immune system to withstand diseases. Here are a few benefits elderberries can provide.
Reduce Cold and Flu Symptoms
Supplementing with elderberries in your daily diet has proven to help with lowering the severity and treating cold and flu symptoms. For instance, in one-study conducted with a group of people with flu-like symptoms, experts found those who consumed at least 15 millilitres of elderberry syrup four times a day had not only reduced the effects of the flu but had shorter durations with symptoms than those who were given a placebo.
Improve Heart Health
Elderberries have shown to have positive effects on protecting your cardiovascular system to prevent heart disease or even diabetes. Many studies show antioxidants in elderberries help balance cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels by preventing a build up of bad cholesterol and balancing your sugar levels.
When your body contains low amounts of antioxidants, your immune system becomes less resilient to fight off toxic substances in the body, potentially leading to certain chronic diseases. Elderberries assist with reducing inflammation by increasing the production of antioxidants in your body which can ultimately help ease joint pain for those with arthritis and swelling for burns, bruises.
Gut health is brain health. Anthocyanins create a bioactive effect within your body to target harmful bacteria and prevent microbial infections from growing and living in your gut to help aid better digestion and bowel movement. Equally important, elderberries can contribute to improving cognitive health and treating cognitive impairment by increasing the antioxidant activities within the mitochondrial (are membrane-bound cell organelles that generate most of the chemical energy needed to power the cell’s biochemical reactions) to help keep your mind sharp and young.
Mentions of other benefits supplementing with elderberry include:
Vision Support, Gingival effects and Bone health.
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