The Health Benefits of Elderberry: Is It Safe for All?
The Health Benefits of Elderberry: Is It Safe for All? – Elderberry has been a useful medicinal plant for many centuries. Traditionally, indigenous people found this plant to offer benefits for fever and rheumatism. In folk medicine, the juice or dried berries are used to treat influenza, sciatica, infections, heart pain, dental pain, and nerve pain.
Today, elderberry is commonly taken as a natural supplement to enjoy a host of health benefits, which we shall be discussing below.
However, some people are concerned about the safety of using elderberries, asking, “Can it be poisonous?” Can it cause stomach upset?” Do not worry. We shall also talk about its safety in this piece.
Without much ado, let’s begin.
Table of Contents
What are Elderberries?
Elderberries refer to the dark purple fruits from the elderberry shrub. There are about 30 different types of elder plants and trees around the world. However, the European elder – Sambucus nigra – is the most commonly used in supplements, which is often available in gummies, syrups, lozenges, teas, and more.
Health Benefits of Elderberry
Elderberries are not only nutritious, they also contain a high amount of vitamins and antioxidants (anthocyanins and flavonols), which tackles free radicals in the body and offer a plethora of health benefits.
Below are some of the health benefits of adding elderberries to your diet:
Elderberries are highly rich in antioxidants that help protect the body against the damaging action of free radicals. This way, the anthocyanin content helps reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and decrease swelling.
Anthocyanins block the production of nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that triggers inflammation when you have a disease or suffer an injury. So popping some elderberry gummies can be a delicious way to reduce inflammation.
Colds and Flu
Elderberries strengthen the immune system and prevent cold and flu symptoms. A 2016 study conducted on a travel group showed that those who took elderberry supplements had milder symptoms of cold compared to the other traveling group who took a placebo.
Blood Sugar Levels
Elderberries help increase insulin production, which helps regulate your blood sugar levels.
Also, studies show that the elderberry flowers may inhibit the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down starch into glucose. This helps to regulate the release of glucose and maintain blood sugar levels.
Elderberries have good effects on blood vessels and the heart. Several studies have shown that the antioxidant contents in elderberries help to reduce bad cholesterol levels and your risk of heart diseases.
Other health benefits of elderberries to health include:
- Fights cancer
- Has antidepressant properties
- Protects against ultraviolet radiation
- Prevents bacterial growth
However, more studies are still ongoing to explore the full benefits of this medicinal plant.
Are Elderberries Safe for All?
Talking about safety, elderberry supplements, including gummies, syrup, and juice made from processed berries are generally safe to all.
Luckily, you can now enjoy a safe and delicious 100% vegan elderberry supplement loaded with processed berries, vitamin C and zinc to maintain a strong and healthy immune system.
However, taking the bark, raw fruit, or leaves may cause stomach distress. So avoid elderberry supplements or extracts derived from the raw plant parts as the raw berries are indigestible and can cause constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
In conclusion, here’s an advice for you: Always buy elderberry supplements from genuine producers and trusted brands that have been certified by an independent certifying body, such as the NSF International and U.S Pharmacopeia (USP) to prove the authenticity of their products.