Elderberry refers to several different varieties of the flowering Sambucus tree, which belongs to the Adoxaceae family. Sambucus nigra is the most common variety and is also referred to as black elder. This tree is native to Europe, though you will find it in many other parts of the world too.
Elderberry fruit contains important polyphenols such as quercetin and anthocyanidins which are typically used in immune stimulation, particularly in relation to colds and flus.
In light of the Covid 19 pandemic, research looking into its properties has increased dramatically. It has been shown to be effective against 10 strains of influenza virus and to reduce duration of flu symptoms. In addition to its antiviral properties, Elderberry activates the healthy immune system by increasing inflammatory cytokine production. It has also been shown to have antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus and sinusitis.
Elderberry has been described an alternative to overuse of antibiotics for upper respiratory symptoms due to viral infections, and a potentially safer alternative to prescription drugs for routine cases of the common cold and influenza.
Elderberry also has a high concentration of vitamin C which is a potent antioxidant and helps to prevent a variety of health issues such as viruses, cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory conditions.
Vitamin C is also crucial for collagen production which improves the appearance of our skin. Aside from the vitamin C content, it also produces enzymes which are involved the collagen production process, improving skin elasticity and reducing wrinkles.
Elderberry fruit is most commonly taken as a syrup, which can also feel soothing to the throat when coughing, but it is also available in oral sprays and teas too.
Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006–. Elderberry. 2018 Dec 3. PMID: 30000895.
 Barak V, Halperin T, Kalickman I. The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines. Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001 Apr-Jun;12(2):290-6. PMID: 11399518.
 Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40. doi: 10.1177/147323000403200205. PMID: 15080016.
 Hawkins J, Baker C, Cherry L, Dunne E. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Feb;42:361-365. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.12.004. Epub 2018 Dec 18. PMID: 30670267.
 Grosso G, Bei R, Mistretta A, Marventano S, Calabrese G, Masuelli L, Giganti MG, Modesti A, Galvano F, Gazzolo D. Effects of vitamin C on health: a review of evidence. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2013 Jun 1;18:1017-29. doi: 10.2741/4160. PMID: 23747864.
 Lin P, Hwang E, Ngo HTT, Seo SA, Yi TH. Sambucus nigra L. ameliorates UVB-induced photoaging and inflammatory response in human skin keratinocytes. Cytotechnology. 2019 Oct;71(5):1003-1017. doi: 10.1007/s10616-019-00342-1. Epub 2019 Sep 11. PMID: 31512082; PMCID: PMC6787119.
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