Elderberry – A Wonder Herb
Being in use since ages, Elderberry is a wonder herb used for its antioxidant ingredients, and benefits like improving vision, lowering cholesterol, boosting immunity and for flu, cough, cold, tonsillitis and bacterial and viral infections. Elderberry juice was proved very effective during the 1995 flu epidemic in Panama.
Elderberry is a folk medicine being used for centuries in Europe, North America, and North Africa. Today again, this herb has become the topic of curiosity for modern scientists because of its great medicinal properties and the herb is being reinvestigated for the same.
Elderberry has been proved to contain bioflavonoids and other proteins which can kill viruses of cold and flu.
The wonderful medicinal properties of elderberry are because of its unique set of ingredients like vitamins A, B and C, flavonoids, carotenoids, rutin, sugar and viburnic acid. The herb also has mild laxative, diaphoretic and diuretic properties. Flavonoids in elderberry include anthocyanins that are potent antioxidants that protect cells against oxidative stress.
Elderberry has been mentioned in 1985 in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs and also in Mosby’s Nursing Drug reference in 2000 as a remedy for cough, cold, flu, chest and nasal congestion, yeast infection and hay fever. What’s more, Hasassah’s Oncology Lab in Israel has confirmed that it stimulates immune system of the body so much that diseases like AIDS and cancer can also be treated.
Another important study has found that the anthocyanins in elderberry enhance the production of cytokines. Cytokines serve as messengers to help organize immune responses, thereby helping to protect the body against various diseases. Further studies have also proven that these anthocyanins have significantly higher antioxidant ability than that in vitamins C or E.
Studies have also shown that the reason behind the reduction of cholesterol due to elderberry is that the extract of the herb decreases the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Is Elderberry Toxic?
Most species of elderberry are non-poisonous and edible if picked after they are ripe and then cooked. The fruits can be eaten along with its skin.
However, it should be remembered that most species of berries or other parts of the plant are poisonous. The species of elderberry used for its medicinal properties is Sambucus nigra, as it’s the only species supposed to be non-poisonous even if it’s not cooked. Still, overall recommendation is to cook any variety of elderberries in order to improve their digestibility and taste.
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