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Elderberry Health Benefits

Elderberries (Sambucus) have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa; hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered.

 

Elderberries are a dark blue, purplish berry that is both rich in colour and nutrition. These berries contain very high amounts of the polyphenol anthocyanin, which give them their dark colour.

 

Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitamin A and B and a large amount of vitamin C.

 

They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries.

 

Elderberry may help treat cold and flu symptoms by reducing congestion and possibly making you sweat more. One study suggested that using a standardized elderberry extract, Sambucol, could shorten the duration of flu by about 3 days.

 

Sambucol also contains other herbs plus vitamin C, so no one knows whether elderberry by itself would have the same effect.

 

Elderberry may act like a laxative and should not be taken at the same time as other laxatives.Elderberry is available as a liquid, syrup, and tincture, as well as in capsule and lozenge forms.

 

Cooked elderberries are used as flavouring in foods and wine. Elderberries are also in foods like jams and pies. No research has found that these foods have any health benefits.

 

Never eat or drink any product made from raw elderberry fruit, flowers, or leaves. They contain a chemical that produces cyanide.

 

They can cause nausea and vomiting and, at high doses, more serious effects. People who have an allergy to elder pollen might react to elderberry supplements.

 

If you have diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis, talk to your doctor before taking elderberry and is not recommended for children or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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