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Elderberry – Your go to for Flu Season

This berry is a must have when it comes to preventing viral infections, reducing the symptoms of a viral infection, and fighting viruses to shorten the duration of an illness. We will be referring to the variety of elderberry called Sambucus nigra (the dark purple berry), also known as “European elderberry” or “Black elder”.

It’s cousin, Sambusucs racemosa also has healing properties although less intense than its darker purple berry cousin. For this post, we are referring only to the dark purple berry.

We will only be referring to using the berry portion itself, as the other parts of the plant, if not cooked are poisonous, and in some individuals may cause irritation even when cooked. If you are in a pinch, purchasing elderberry syrup from a local health food store is your “go to” for getting it quick. Otherwise, getting a trusted recipe to make your own syrup easily will save you a money and you will know you can trust the ingredients!


Taken early as a preventative may help to stave off the chance of contracting flu strains, or other viruses, such a mononucleosis or the common cold or RSV

Use during an active infection: taken during and after a flu/viral infection may reduce the chances of it spreading to others or reduce its symptoms

Immune booster: omay strengthen the immune system during colds, bronchitis, and flu outbreaks

Anti-viral properties anti-inflammatory properties inhibitor of growth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria

Anti-cancer properties

Promotes sweating (perspiration) so that the body is able to detox from the virus

Reduces cholesterol/cardiovascular benefits, but further human studies are warranted to prove claims othe juice/tea/syrup may reduce the level of fat in the blood and cholesterol in the liver

May help reduce blood pressure

May help reduce levels of uric acid in the blood

May help increase insulin output

The flower and leaves can be used externally after being made into a tea for pain relief, swelling, and inflammation

Whereas the bark can be used as an emetic (for vomiting) and a laxative

Culinary uses:


Health Benefits:
High vitamin C content
phenolic acids (think antioxidants)
flavonols (antioxidants)
anthocyanins (responsible for dark pigment, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory) Elderberry loves to work synergistically with vitamin C. For natural sources of vitamin C content, look at companion herbs such as rose hips, peppermint, yarrow, anise, and acreola cherry powder.
For a more absorbable form of vitamin C, locating a trusted source of liposomal vitamin C is also an option.

WARNING: All parts of the fresh/raw plant are mildly toxic (poisonous) and can cause stomach issues due to the lectin content and cyanogenic glycosides although the amount of cyanide is minute. To avoid toxicity, dry or boil the berries before use, and dry the flowers. Do not use the fresh plant without cooking or drying. The bark and root portions of the plant are emetic, in other words they will make a person vomit, and neither are not advised to be taken internally, under any circumstance.

The leaves and unripe berries are toxic. Please heed this warning. Symptoms to toxicity: nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. NOTE: Commercial preparations and cooked preparations do not contain the cyanogenic glycosides due to the application of heat. The cyanogenic glycosides are removed due to the heat when cooked. However, this does not include safety for internal use of the bark, branches, leaves, or roots.

We love this recipe by Wellness Mama!

Check it out here. Try it out!

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