Elderberry is an age-old folk remedy with a history that dates back to the time of Hippocrates. In European folk medicine, it was referred to as "nature's medicine chest" due to its many benefits. These days, elderberry is known by nutritionists and herbalists as one of the best supplements for immunity out there. Read on to learn more about this incredible superfood.
True to its name, elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is an actual berry. In fact, it’s a superfood native to North Africa, Europe, and Asia. The berries grows on deciduous trees that can get up to 30 feet tall. Its immunity-boosting properties are attributed to its high levels of powerful antioxidants and flavonoids.
In addition to being celebrated by herbal medicine practitioners, there is emerging scientific research that indicates elderberry’s potential to support immune function. In a double-blind study in 2016, elderberry extract was shown to decrease the length and severity of colds.
You might be wondering how you add elderberry to your diet. Unlike many berries you know and love, elderberry is not normally eaten fresh. In fact, raw elderberries can be poisonous. However, with considerate cultivation and preparation, elderberry can make excellent teas, extracts, pie fillings, and even wines.
For supplementing, elderberry can be taken in capsule, liquid, or powder form. Elderberry does have the potential for toxicity, so it is important to get elderberry products through a trusted source. Take care to avoid any preparation containing stems and leaves, as well as any uncooked or unprocessed berries.
If you are allergic to honeysuckle, or plants from the honeysuckle family, you might be allergic to elderberry as well. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to consult with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements, including elderberry.
The antioxidant-rich elderberry can be a valuable part of any wellness regimen. As modern science is showing, there’s good reason this folk remedy has been a celebrated natural medicine for centuries. Make elderberry part of your immunity regimen this winter, and then you can brag that you are just as wise as the ancient Greeks. Consult with your healthcare provider, or take an online lifestyle assessment to receive personalized supplement advice tailored to your unique needs.