Myth or Reality?
Elderberry has been treated like a home medicine for centuries, but it suddenly gained popularity in recent times as a flu remedy. Many pharmaceuticals and herbal medicine brands started making elderberry supplements. We now commonly see and hear these supplements being sold and used, such as New Chapter Elderberry Gummies, Elderberry Gummies by Gummies Garden, Vegan elderberry supplement by Garden of Life, and many more.
Not much research and abundant evidence have been accumulated to medically prove its significant effects on human health as a medicine alternative for flu or cough. Still, many people have sworn to its antiviral and health-beneficial properties. Few kinds of research that have been conducted in this aspect with summary and results are mentioned below.
Is Elderberry Effective For Cold And Flu Treatment?
- Russell Greenfield, belonging to Novant Health Integrative Medicine, claims that extracting products from elderberries like syrups, tablets, pills, and gummies or teas are not a substitute at all for a flu shot. Still, as long as symptoms are concerned, it does help you to minimize them.
"Further studies indicate that good quality elderberries might be quite beneficial in reducing the severity of symptoms and duration of the disease if taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms," Greenfield said. However, he also recommended that patients already suffering from flu symptoms should consult their doctors before using berries to treat their symptoms.
- A 2011 study worked on some investigations regarding antimicrobial properties of elderberry extract in a lab setting. Researchers reported that extract appeared to prevent the growth of certain types of influenza virus and bacterial strains.
- Similarly, a 2012 study reported that elderberry has several properties that might allow the immune system to work more effectively against flu.
- Another study conducted in 2017 claimed that elderberry branches and berries contain very useful antioxidants that might aid overall health.
- Another randomized 2016 study was conducted among airline passengers. The researchers compared the effects of a placebo versus elderberry in the form of supplements among 312
passengers. Again, no noticeable changes were observed in individuals who developed a cold after the trip.
However, researchers felt that people in the placebo category tended to have severe and longer colds than the elderberry group. The research was concluded on the fact that more study is required to confirm the observed effect.
- A 2018 review reported great relief from elderberry supplements in individuals suffering from upper respiratory tract disorders, mainly having a runny nose, nasal congestion, or heavy cough. Data was evaluated of about 180 participants. However, good but large-scale sample size is needed to understand whether these effects are for most people or not.
How it works; 'The Main Mechanism':
So, we know that these natural berries can affect the influenza virus. How it combats the flu and cold symptoms can be investigated through an ingredient called hemagglutinin protein present in the elderberries. This protein can prevent the virus from replicating itself and penetrating the cell walls of the cells present in our body.
This, in turn, prevents any infections from being caused. However, when consumed after symptoms have already arrived and infection has occurred, it may help to reduce the duration of symptoms.
Thus, elderberries can play a critical role in the prevention and treatment of cold and flu. Due to this quality of the fruit, it has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.
The elderberry plant is generally safe for most people. However, only consuming raw seeds or tissue barks and roots may lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea symptoms.
However, excessive intake may be harmful. Therefore, the recommended daily dosage is not set to a fixed standard value, but on average, one tablespoon of extract four times a day is sufficient to treat cold.
It is not yet tested for fetal life, so consult your doctor before consuming elderberry if you are pregnant or nursing.
Where to get Elderberries from?
Although fresh ones may be very hard to find, you can look for any local farmers if they harvest elderberries. These dried elderberries are very effective, but homemade syrups sometimes get in seeds and barks containing toxins harmful to the body. Many online stores have been working to provide good quality, natural ingredient berries that are safe to consume and hardly possess any side effects.
Elderberry is undoubtedly an excellent nutrient to add to your diet. It has become very important in recent times, where healthy food is ignored. The junk prevails. We need to add more and more intake of organic nutrients that are natural and nourishing to the diets that give us balanced nutrition and prevention and cure to many health diseases.