What Are The Proven Benefits Of Elderberries?

Elderberries are known for their ability to strengthen the immune system and help relieve coughs, colds and flu. What does evidence say about that? In this article we will tell you everything you should know.
What are the proven benefits of elderberries?

The many benefits of elderberries ( Sambucus ) are documented in books on natural medicine. In fact, they have been an interesting topic in various scientific studies, which have dealt with some of its uses in relation to health. What does the evidence say about that?

To begin with, one should know that there are about 30 types of elderberry trees and plants worldwide. However, the European version ( Sambucus nigra ) is the most popular in terms of its medicinal use. You can use the flowers, berries and bark of the plant.

Benefits of elderberries

When it comes to health, the part of elderberry that is used the most is its black berries. They stand out for their content of organic pigments, tannins, carotenoids, amino acids, vitamins C and nutrients, the intake of which contributes to the prevention of diseases.

In particular, elderberries contain these things, which are mentioned in a review published in the  Journal of Functional Foods:

  • From 6 to 35 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams, which is up to 60% of the daily recommended amount.
  • 7 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams.
  • Phenolic acid.
  • Quercetin, kaempeferol and isorhamnetin.
  • Anthocyanin.

Proven benefits of elderberries

Today, many benefits of elderberries are used to make supplements and natural products. It is actually the best way to ingest them as the raw berries, bark and leaves have toxic components which can cause stomach problems if not used properly.

However, it is important to state that although elderberries have positive effects on health, backed by evidence, it is not the first choice for treatment against diseases, and it is not a substitute for medical recommendations. For this reason, it is important to talk to a doctor only when facing a disease.

Elderberries against influenza and colds

Sick woman takes her fever

People have used elderberry remedies since the old days as aids against flu and colds. A tea made from both the flowers and the extract from the berries  seems to reduce the degree and duration of the disease  when ingested at the first sign of symptoms.

A study published in 2019 through  Complementary Therapies in Medicine  found that the berries have positive effects against symptoms in the upper respiratory tract due to their content of antioxidants.

In addition, another study published in the  Journal of Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry  in 2012 said that these fruits  help stimulate the immune system, reducing the risk of diseases such as influenza.

Benefits of elderberries for heart health

One of the most prominent benefits of elderberries has to do with heart health. More specifically, studies have shown that the berries have positive effects on cardiovascular health.

A review published in  Phytotherapy Research  mentioned that the fruit from the plant helps reduce the risk of heart disease thanks to its content of anthocyatins.

These substances, which act as antioxidants,  seem to reduce the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessels. In addition, they will also have a positive effect on blood pressure. Although more studies are needed, these findings support the use of them to support heart health.

Against constipation

A publication on the site of the Penn State School of Medicine and Academic Medical Center states that elderberries have a mild digestive effect and should therefore not be ingested along with other digestive aids. Scientists attribute this property to a substance known as anthraquinone, which is also found in rhubarb.

They also explain it by its significant supply of fiber, which contributes to optimal intestinal function. In general  , tea with dried elderberries helps to stimulate intestinal peristalsis to promote the excretion of waste products. We need more evidence, but it is considered safe when taken for up to five days.

Other possible benefits of elderberries

To date  , there is not enough evidence to confirm that elderberries have a unique role in disease prevention. However, due to its content of antioxidants, it can still have other positive effects on health. Of course, you should still supplement your intake of it with a healthy lifestyle.

  • The anthocyanins in elderberries give it an anti-inflammatory effect, which can help relieve physical pain.
  • A study published in  Phytotherapy Research  emphasizes that black elderberries have antiviral and antimicrobial properties that are useful against pathogens that cause sinusitis, bronchitis and intestinal infections.
  • In research with animals, elderberries have a diuretic effect that is able to stimulate the frequency of urination.
  • Its antioxidants and nutrients also have a positive effect on mood. In particular, it improves mental performance and reduces the risk of depression.
Woman with constipation needs to take advantage of the many benefits of elderberries

Side effects of elderberries

In most healthy adults  , a moderate intake of elderberries is not a problem. However, it is extremely important to avoid excessive intake as it can irritate the stomach due to its content of lectin.

On the other hand, elderberry plants contain substances called cyanogenic glycosides, which can release a smaller dose of cyanide. The amount of this substance per 100 grams is of course only 3% of the estimated lethal dose for a human.

Commercial supplements and prepared elderberries have also not been shown to contain cyanide  and are therefore safe to consume. Ingesting a portion of the raw plant, be it berries, leaves or bark, can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Products based on elderberries, such as supplements with the plant or berries,  are not recommended for children under 18 and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. People with a particular disease should talk to their doctor before taking these types of remedies.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button