Health Benefits of Elderberry

Elderberry has been used for immune support for many, many years. I believe I read something that it’s documented use has gone back to at least the 5th century. That’s a long time! The American Indians used the elderberry plant for many things such as skin problems, headaches, digestive issues, and wounds. These uses tell me that the elderberry has some properties that make it beneficial for colds and immune support.

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I’ve read several references that claim elderberry can not be validated in it’s medicinal use, however, there are several studies that state otherwise.

One study showed that people who took elderberry syrup reduced their recovery time from the flu. Another study showed that travelers who took at an elderberry supplement reduced the duration and severity of their colds.

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Elderberry also has high antioxidant properties and can aid with inflammation.

I’ve personally used elderberry supplements with great success. I’ll share my story in a minute.

What is elderberry

So, let’s back up for a minute and talk about what elderberry really is. The elderberry plant’s scientific name is Sambucus nigra. The bush grows in Europe and North America. Some herbalist use the flowers from the bush in the spring. Then they harvest the dark purple berries from the plant in the fall.

Elderberries are typically cooked in some way before they are consumed. The berries can also be dried for use later. It’s recommended that you not eat the raw berries.

You can find elderberry in many different kinds of products. This includes elderberry syrup, elderberry powder, elderberry gummies, and dried elderberry. I’ve even seen elderberry wine and cordials. I remember when I was young my older family members would make homemade elderberry wine.

How to choose the best elderberry product

With the popularity of elderberry and the growing use of natural remedies, it’s much easier to find elderberry supplements.

My favorite product uses elderberry and zinc and larch to create an elderberry lozenge. It’s from Shaklee and called Defend & Resist. You can chew it, make a tea with it or (what I do) simply swallow it. I have had personal benefits with this product. I also make sure I have at least 2 bottles in my house every winter, or when flu season starts. (By the way, I don’t sell Shaklee, so let my friend Linda know I sent you her way!)

Elderberry for flu and colds

Recently, I caught the flu. The only reason I think it may have been the flu is that another Mom and I were comparing our symptoms. I thought it was just a runny nose, but later that evening it hit me a lot like the flu does. I started taking this elderberry tablet every 4 hours. I felt rotten the next day but pushed through. By the end of the following day, I felt 90% better.*

If you can’t plan ahead and need some elderberry, my next suggestion is to find a local market and see if they carry a local organic elderberry syrup. If you are local to North Carolina, this organic elderberry syrup by Nurture by Nature is made with local honey.

My daughter prefers elderberry gummies. I get them from Amazon, VitaCost (I like this brand of gummies & they’re also gluten free) or a local store. I read the label to make sure there’s not a lot of sugar, and if it’s made with organic and non GMO products.

Also Read: Amazing benefits of CBD Oil

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Where to buy elderberry

As you can see, with the popularity of elderberry (and for good reason) you can find it in a lot of different places. In my little village, I can get it at the local farmers market, at a big box store, online and I can even make my own if I want to!

Seriously! If you are interested in making your own elderberry syrup, keep reading!

elderberrys can be used to make elderberry syrup or other elderberry supplements for immune support
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Make your own elderberry syrup recipe

So you want to make your own elderberry syrup? I think it’s great. There are lots of things I make – like jam – because I can put exactly what I want into it and I know ALL the ingredients.

So, let’s get started. I’ve seen several recipes for elderberry syrup.


7 cups of water 1 1/2 c dried organic elderberry 2 0z sliced fresh ginger 2 lemons sliced 2 oranges sliced 2 cinnamon sticks 1 t cloves

Place all ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil then lower the temp and simmer for about 45 minutes. Let it cool. Mash the ingredients and then strain into a large bowl. Add about 2 c organic local honey and stir. Store in glass jars in the refrigerator.

Again, there are so many recipes. I like this recipe from mountain rose herbs (and they also sell dried organic elderberries as well as elderberry powder.) This looks like another basic recipe. You can see they are all very similar.

Some recipes call for the addition of a spirit to keep it longer. This ingredient would make it less kid-friendly, but it’s something to consider if you don’t have any kids around any longer.

elderberry for flu and cold and immune support
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Final Thoughts about Elderberry

I find it ironic that elderberry leaves, twigs, and seeds are poisonous. They contain a compound similar to cyanide, which is why you should never carve a whistle out of elderberry wood. Also, did you know that the most powerful magic wand in the Harry Potter series was made from elderberry wood? While that has nothing to do with elderberry and your health, I found it quite amusing.

So, I hope you find this elderberry information useful. Find some local elderberry syrup and if you can’t, Nurture by Nature ships! I also like this syrup from Vitacost.

Please remember that this article is simply for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. This info has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. All testimonies are personal testimonies. Please discuss taking any nutritional supplements with your health care provider.

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Also Read: 13 tips to avoiding cold & flu

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