Elderberries may sound like something you’d pick while out in the country on a fairytale adventure, but they’re very real and very good for you. There are a few different kinds, but the one you’re most likely going to buy is the European or black elderberry. They have a commonly associated use for treating cold and flu symptoms, but there are some secret health benefits packed into their unassuming shape that you should know about.
Since elderberries come in many forms, from teas to gummies, people can be picky about which vitamin-rich foods to eat to reap these benefits. With cold and flu season coming fast, that benefit alone should convince you to look into elderberry products. I use them often for these 4 amazing benefits.
1. Cold and Flu Remedy
Elderberries have been used to treat colds for hundreds of years, especially in syrup form. Sicknesses caused by a virus can be snuffed out with a strong dose of elderberries, which contain an antioxidant super-chemical called anthocyanin.
It not only zaps free radicals to protect your DNA from breaking up and speeding the aging process, but fights viruses, inflammation, and swelling too.
A stronger immune response will help you fight through the sick season, keeping your family safe as well. They’re easy to take too – elderberries taste better than cough medicine, after all.
2. Relief from Pain
The same anthocyanin that fights colds also treats pain by reducing inflammation. This is where elderberries and their extracts become a godsend for me throughout the week.
The thing about inflammation is that we now know it’s the cause of most chronic illnesses, yet most conventional medical treatments for it come in the form of addictive medications that have side effects from long-term use. Finding all-natural inflammation relief is the only relief, as far as I’m concerned.
Elderberry offers it by reducing your body’s nitric oxide production, which will stop triggering so much swelling and pain. We need more studies about how effective it is, but elderberries are a no-risk supplement worth trying for people with out-of-control inflammation.
3. Digestive Health
When you have a busy work schedule, you can’t always use the bathroom whenever you want. Constipation that prevents you from taking advantage of your breaks can make your whole week uncomfortable, throw off your eating schedule, and even cause pain and pelvic tension down the road.
Elderberries can serve as a gentle laxative owing to a compound in them called anthraquinone, which stimulates the muscles you need to have a comfortable bowel movement.
Especially if you’ve had kids, pelvic pressure and tension related to constipation can build into symptomatic pelvic pain if you hold onto it for too long. Use elderberries to break the cycle.
Elderberries contain antioxidants, the same compounds that make blueberries a superfood. They fight runaway free radicals so your body can slow the development of heart disease and cancer. They aren’t a showstopping source of them, however. It’s just a bonus.
The real benefit comes from their cocktail of vitamins, including a ton of Vitamin C, fiber, flavanols, and phenolic acids. These are what give elderberry its ability to fight colds, control inflammation, and boost digestive health. Taking the vitamins together in an elderberry supplement is more beneficial than taking them individually.
Elderberries aren’t as easy to buy as other superfoods, but health stores carry them in many forms including lozenges, gummies, and teas. My favorite way to take them is as a tea since I can add to it and boost my cold-fighting defenses even further. Its mellow, fruity taste, and flu-destroying benefits make it great to have in stock during the winter months.
Beyond that, elderberries contain a host of nutrients that help manage digestion and reduce inflammation. Those of us that live with swelling and pain, either chronic or work-related, benefit from a natural, non-addictive source of inflammation relief. Elderberries’ ability to provide that makes them worth the price of admission alone.