Elderberry is a type of berry that is widely known for its health benefits. According to several studies, elderberry can help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. In this post, we'll take a closer look at four key health benefits of elderberry. Keep reading to learn more!
Elderberry is a plant that has been used for thousands of years as both a food and as a medicine.
Known scientifically as Sambucus nigra, black elderberry has exploded in popularity over the past few years.
While elderberry might be one of the hot new supplements on the market, it has a long history of use. In fact, it was written about by Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Pliny, the ancient forefathers of medicine.
Elderberry has the double benefit of not only tasting amazing - hello elderberry syrup - but also having a strong nutrient profile.
We'll go over the top research-backed ways that elderberry can benefit your health.
1. May Support Immune Health
One of the common uses of elderberry is for boosting immune health. And for good reason, research shows that elderberry can help to support immune health.
A clinical trial showed that elderberry reduced the activity of a variety of different viruses during an influenza outbreak. A significant improvement of the symptoms, including fever reduction, was seen in 93.3% of the cases in the elderberry-treated group within 2 days.
Another clinical trial involving 60 people with influenza found that individuals who took 15mL of elderberry syrup four times per day showed an improvement in symptoms in 2-4 days, while the control group took 7-8 days to improve.
This aligns with a test-tube study that showed that elderberry extract has the ability to stop influenza viruses from replicating.
Elderberry can be used to decrease the length of a cold or flu by about one day. It is believed that the antiviral activity in elderberries prevents viruses from multiplying and spreading.
Several other in vitro studies have shown that Elderberry is effective against a variety of virus strains, including multiple H1N1, H3N2, and type B strains, an H5N1 strain, and animal strains from European swine and turkeys.
All in all, Elderberry appears to be a strong immune system booster.
2. Antioxidant Capacity
Not only does elderberry have antiviral properties, but it is also high in antioxidants. In fact, black elderberry has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any fruit.
Antioxidants are substances that can help to protect the body from free radicals, which have been shown to contribute to a variety of diseases and health conditions.
It's thought that consuming antioxidants through diet and supplementation is helpful for promoting overall health and slowing down the aging process.
Several studies have demonstrated that various kinds of elderberry possess antioxidant activity within the human body.
3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Research suggests that elderberry has anti-inflammatory activity.
Lab studies show that Elderberry extract impacts macrophage activity. The researchers noted that this could be especially helpful for those struggling with inflammatory balance within the body.
Macrophages play an important role in your body's immune system. They work by engulfing invading pathogens and removing them from your body.
Another lab-based study showed that Elderberry extract reduces the inflammatory response in activated macrophage cells.
4. High in Vitamins & Minerals
Elderberries are an incredibly nutrient-dense food.
It's estimated that 100 grams of fresh elderberries contain the following:
- 73 calories
- 18.4 grams of carbs
- 0.5 grams of fat
- 0.6 grams of protein.
Additionally, they have many nutritional benefits. Elderberries are high in the following nutrients:
- Vitamin C. There are 52mg of vitamin C per cup of elderberry, which accounts for 57% of your daily value
- Dietary fiber. Elderberries contain 10 grams of fiber per cup of fresh berries, about 36% of the daily value.
- Phenolic acids. These compounds are potent antioxidants that have the potential to help reduce damage from oxidative stress in the body.
- Flavonols. Elderberry is a rich source of various flavanols, including: quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin.
- Anthocyanins. These phytochemical compounds give elderberry its characteristic dark black-purple color and provide numerous health benefits.
5. Other Benefits
Elderberry has many other benefits that are still being discovered.
Additionally, an animal study involving mice with high cholesterol found that supplementing with elderberry reduced the amount of cholesterol in the liver and aorta but not in the blood. It’s theorized that elderberry could have a similar effect in humans.
How To Add Elderberry To Your Diet:
Based on the various benefits listed above, it appears that adding elderberry to your diet is a no-brainer.
So what is the best way to add this herb to your life?
The best way is by buying fresh, or dried, elderberries and making elderberry syrup.
However, not everyone has the time to make elderberry syrup. Plus, if you've ever made elderberry syrup you know that it's a messy process.
Also, elderberry syrup includes quite a bit of sugar (usually from honey). From a health perspective, it's not ideal to intake high amounts of sugar - especially when you're trying to build your immune system.
Instead, it's better to take an elderberry supplement.
At Earth Fed Muscle, we include 500mg of elderberry extract in our Earth Fed Armor formula. Additionally, our elderberry is a 4:1 extract, which means that you are getting the benefits of consuming 4x the amount of elderberries!
Earth Fed Armor includes elderberry, along with vitamin D, and other immune-boosting nutrients. All of this in only 3 capsules daily.
Elderberry appears to be a safe and well-tolerated herb.
Research shows that elderberry provides a variety of health benefits, especially for immune health. It also appears that this berry has strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s worth looking into elderberry if you are needing support in any of these areas.
Here at Earth Fed Muscle, we include elderberry powder in our Earth Fed Armor formula. This daily immune booster supplement is designed to provide your body with the nutrients that it needs to build a strong immune defense.
As always, make sure to consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or adding a new supplement.
Have you tried elderberry before? What's your favorite way to include this berry into your diet?
Daniel has a master's degree in herbal science from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. He's the founder of The Botanical Institute, where he writes about health and herbs.