Elderberry or Sambucus nigra is a classical herb used for curing flu and cold. This traditional herb has amazing antiviral properties effective against influenza A and B viruses. Sambucus nigra has black coloured berries that are enriched with some wonderful medicinal qualities.
The oils of elderberry are extensively used in preparing wines, drinks and yoghurt.
In China, the herb elderberry is mixed in wine and is believed to treat rheumatism and arthritis. Chinese people also make homemade syrup by dissolving flowers of elderberry in water over nightly.
Nutritional Profile Of Elderberry
It has high amounts of following ingredients
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Dietary fiber
- Vitamin B complex except B12
The common side effects of elderberry are:
- Mild indigestion
- Abdominal discomfort or pain
- Hypersensitivity reaction
Flu And Elderberry
Elderberry extract contains Antivirin, an active compound that is concerned for the effectiveness in curing of flu. This active compound is found closely associated with proteins in elderberry. Various studies have shown that elderberry extract is effective in curing flu.
Some scientists believe that elderberry reduces the duration of flu infection to just two days in around 93 percent cases as compared to normal duration of 6 to 7 days. The extract elderberry is potent in fighting against influenza viruses.
Elderberry not only has effective antiviral properties but also contains the important properties of suppressing upper respiratory tract bacteria. These notorious bacteria worsen the attack of flu and aggravate the flu symptoms.
The actual mode of action of elderberry in killing and controlling influenza viruses is still unknown. It is believed that elderberry contains active phytochemicals that checks the virus invasion of cells. It prevents the viruses from clinging to the healthy cells and inhibits the appearance of disease symptoms.
The adhesion of viruses to the body soft tissues particularly those of nose and throat, is caused by neuramididase enzyme. This special enzyme is released by the viruses and elderberry extract checks the viruses from producing neuramididase enzyme.
The homemade syrup made from dried elderberry is used to enhance your immune functions and speed the recovery from flu.
These berries are useful in wading off not only slow goring influenza B virus but also the common influenza A virus.
Few health experts are also of the opinion that elderberry is a good alternative for flu drugs such as Tamiflu.
Elderberry is pretty safe and does not cause any side effects such as drowsiness that is frequently seen with other flu drugs. However adverse effects such as vomiting, nausea, vertigo and diarrhea can be seen occasionally.
Elderberry is commercially available as capsules, syrups and juices and the extract is widely recommended for usages and elderberry leaves, flower, bark, roots and unripe berries of the plant are not recommended for usages.
The elderberry extract is easy to prepare and is not toxic at all. However freshly harvested parts of elderberry plant might contain cyanide compounds that can prove fatal if taken in high amount.
The most popular brand of elderberry is Sambucol- a standardized preparation.
The prescribed dosage of elderberry extract for kids is ¼ tablespoon for 4 times per day.
The recommended dosage for adults is 1 to 2 tablespoon for 4 times a day.
Elderberry And Immune System
The antimicrobial property of elderberry is attributed to the presence of anthocyanins and flavonoids. They are also responsible for the valuable antioxidant action of the elderberries. Studies have shown that the ORAC value (the oxygen radical absorption capacity) is identical to that of cranberry. The antioxidant power or capacity is assessed in terms of ORAC. Elderberry is concerned with oxidative stress reduction and eliminates the free radicals from the body.
The antioxidant action of elderberry flavonoids stimulates the immune system by accelerating the monocyte activity and the anthocyanins of elderberry interfere with the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. It can be stated that the elderberry catalyses the ‘attacking arm’ of the immune system and checks the ‘inflammatory arm’. Thus the elderberry compounds soothe fever, ache and satiate flu.
This is why elderberry is considerably lowers the duration of sickness caused by flu. This is a brief account of the simple elderberry!