Herb of the Month: Elderberry Your Natural Cold and Flu Remedy

The weather is changing, the kids are in school, families and friends are gathering in droves… It’s a wonderful time of celebration, but with this time also comes cold and flu bugs!  Your best defense against these unwelcome invaders is to stay balanced using healthy choices and seasonal wisdom. (Sign up for the upcoming Tea Time on this topic!)  In addition, you can use the tiny but mighty Elderberry recipe as part of your daily defense regimen, or as a powerful remedy if illness does strike.  

In various forms, Elderberry has been used for centuries to combat cold and elderberryflu-like illnesses and their symptoms; and in recent years, the scientific literature has begun to prove the efficacy of this nondescript little berry, especially concentrated into a yummy syrup.  In one study60 adult patients suffering from flu symptoms received either 3 teaspoons of elderberry syrup or a placebo 4x per day for five days. Researchers observed that “symptoms were relieved on average 4 days
earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo.”  Elderberry has also been found to inhibit H1N1 (swine flu) in vitro (see study here); and inhibit several influenza viruses while also reducing symptoms (here).

In addition to helping fight off disease when it strikes, Elderberry syrup can be taken daily as a wonderful preventative.   Its anti-viral properties and high contents of antioxidants and Vitamin C make it a great addition to your winter regimen.

You can purchase Elderberry syrup, tea and supplements from many health food stores locally.  Or better yet, with a little effort and lot less money, you can make your own healthy Elderberry syrup recipe at home! Take it by the spoonful, drizzle it on pancakes or holiday desserts, and share it with family members to keep everyone healthier and happier all winter long!

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