The Sambucus nigra or European black elderberry is a small shrub native to Europe, northern Africa, western and central Asia and some subspecies can even be found in North America. Its flowers and berries are commonly used in medicine thanks to the antioxidants it contains, like quercetin, anthocyanins and rutins. Even Hippocrates believed in the medicinal powers of elderberry, commonly calling it his ‘medicine chest’.
For centuries people in Europe have been using the elderberry as a natural remedy for a stronger immune system and an overall health booster. Nowadays, you can find elderberry extract in almost every health store and add it to your diet as a supplement.
The latest study on this medicinal plant has confirmed what folk medicine has known for centuries, that the black elderberry is a powerful antiviral medicine, effective also against many bacteria strains.
Even though the study only examined the effects of black elderberry, all other varieties of this plant are just as beneficial.
Warning: Please be advised that raw elderberries are slightly toxic unless dried, cooked or turned into tincture so they shouldn’t be consumed.
Studies Confirm the Effectiveness of Black Elderberry
According to a study published in 2011 in the BMC, black elderberry can inhibit influenza type A and B replication. Moreover, the plant can also inhibit the replication of 1 gram-negative bacterium and 3 gram-positive bacteria, both causing infections of the upper respiratory tract.
Another study conducted by a group of researchers from the Hadassah University confirmed that elderberry is highly effective against the flu.
“The study subjects who received elderberry extract as a treatment for influenza had their symptoms relieved 4 days earlier and used less over-the-counter medications compared with those on a placebo treatment. The study showed that elderberry extract provided a safe, effective and inexpensive influenza treatment.”
The researchers from Hadassah University discovered that elderberry offers protection on a cellular level by stimulating immune system response and inhibiting inflammation. The effectiveness and safety of elderberry as an overall health tonic was also confirmed.
In short, the researchers explained that the proprietary elderberry product sambucol can provide relief from the flu as well as boost our immune system and inhibit the inflammatory processes in both sick and healthy individuals.
Sambucol can also have an immune-protective or immune-stimulatory effect in patients suffering from AIDS and cancer if given in combination with chemo and other conventional treatments.
The world-renowned virologist from Israel, Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu was the scientist behind the development of Sambucol and she’s also the president of the company who produced the product, Razei Bar. During the 1993 Israeli flu epidemic Dr.Madeleine tested her product for the first time and the results were quite promising.
”In the first 24 hours of administration 20% of the patients noticed significant improvement in their symptoms, their fever was down and the pains and muscle aches were reduced. 73% of the patients showed improvement by day 2, while 90% by day 3. In the group that didn’t take sambucol just 16% of the patients showed improvement after 2 days. The rest needed a week to start feeling better”
According to a study from 2001 published in the European Cytokine Network the elderberry can have a positive effect on a healthy immune system as well. It stimulates the proinflammatory cytokines, thus activating the immune response. Sambucol has the same effect.
Homemade elderberry remedies
You’ll need the following ingredients:
- 2/3 cup ripe black elderberries
- 2 tbsp. fresh ginger root
- 3 ½ cups of water
- 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
- 1 cup organic honey
- ½ tsp. clove powder (or cloves)
– Grab a saucepan and pour in the water first. Then add the elderberries, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
– Next put the saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Cover it and let it simmer for 45-60 minutes over low heat. Once the liquid is reduced to half you can set it aside and let it cool down. Strain it to get rid of the seeds.
– Now you should compost the elderberries and add the honey once the mixture is completely cooled down.
– Transfer the tincture to a mason jar or a glass bottle and enjoy your delicious remedy. Store it in the refrigerator.
– Take the remedy every day to improve your immune system and overall health. Adults can take up to 1tbsp a day, while kids up to 1tsp. a day. If you’re down with the flu you should take the remedy every 3 hours (the standard dose) until the symptoms subside.