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Author: doctor Eric Madrid

In this article:

  • Infections of the upper respiratory tract
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Hypertension
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Diabetes
  • Cholesterol

Elder (lat. Sambucus) is a flowering plant that for hundreds of years is used in many countries for medical purposes. In recent years, the popularity of the elder has increased. According to studies on measurement of adsorption capacity against oxygen radicals (ability to absorb oxygen radicals), the elderberry has a higher level of antioxidants than blueberries and cranberries (which, as you know, antioxidants are very many), and therefore more healthy.

Traditional use

In traditional medicine, elderberry is used for the treatment of joint pain and pain caused by arthritis. Often used elderberry to treat symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. Elderberry for centuries been used as medicine in South America. Native Americans used elderberry to treat a variety of infections and hypothermia. In Europe, elderberry began to make medicinal syrup. In Italy the elderberry used to treat infection of shingles, as reported in a 2005 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

Nutritional value

Raw elderberry contains about 80% water and 20% carbohydrates. Less than one percent of the berries contain proteins and fats. Elderberry is a rich source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in one serving of berries contains more than 25 mg of vitamin C. the Fruit of the elderberries also contain moderate amounts of vitamin B6 and iron.

Elderberries are rich in antioxidants, particularly polyphenols such as anthocyanins. The presence of polyphenols gives the berries are bluish-purple. In addition, the high content of antioxidants in elderberry is one of the reasons why this berry is so good for your health.

Infections of the upper respiratory tract

SARS, a type of infection of the upper respiratory tract is the most common infection, which people face in their lives. According to some estimates, there are over 200 different cold viruses that infect humans. If a person susceptible to the virus after infection to the onset of the disease typically takes one to three days. SARS usually takes seven days, but if weakened immunity mean duration of the disease can be several weeks. As a rule, one and the same virus is never infect the same person twice because usually after the first contact with the virus develops immunity.

From SARS, there is no medication, but there are reasonable ways to prevent infection. These include frequent hand washing, healthy eating, avoiding contact with sick people and restful sleep. However, this is often not enough, and even those who is cautious can find themselves are clear symptoms of a developing cold.

The flu virus is more dangerous than the common cold. Sick with the flu every year millions of people around the world. Sometimes the flu can lead to death from high-risk groups (e.g. diabetics, patients with lung disease, the elderly and cancer patients). Death usually occurs as a result of development of secondary infection such as bacterial pneumonia. Doctors recommend flu shots to reduce the risk of infection.

Elderberry can also help. According to a study 2016, elderberry has demonstrated a significant reduction in the duration and severity of SARS from passengers that it took. A 2009 study published in Phytochemistry showed that elderberry may act similarly to the popular antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Amantadine. In addition, the study of 2014 showed that elderberry may be effective in the treatment of influenza virus. The authors of the study 2017 proposed scientific mechanism by which elderberry might help to prevent getting the flu. Through this study the usefulness and effectiveness of the elderberry received additional scientific evidence.

Finally, the authors of the 2012 study concluded that concentrated elderberry juice has a beneficial effect on the body, stimulating immune response, being, thus, means of preventing viral infections.

Strengthening the immune system

The immune system is a complex system, through which the body learns to defend itself against invading bacteria, viruses and fungi that can cause harm. The immune system has developed a complex mechanism through which it can differentiate the harmful from the useful microbes such as those contained in probiotics. The ability of the immune system to recognize bacteria by 80 % meets the intestinal tract (mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue of the mucous membranes (MALT) lymphoid tissue and the gastrointestinal tract (GALT), therefore, the best biodiversity of the intestinal microflora is very important for the body. For optimal health it is important to cure the leaky bowel syndrome.

Taking care of strengthening the immune system, it is important to minimize the level of stress and go on a healthy diet. It is useful to enter into the diet of fruits and vegetables of different colors. In particular, the elder may also help to strengthen the immune system, which is confirmed by the research. Studies conducted in 2001 and 2002, showed that the use of elderberry to strengthen the immune system.


High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the leading risk factors for developing cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension affects more than a billion of the 7.5 billion people on the planet.

Increase in blood pressure – a consequence of the increased resistance in the arteries, often resulting from vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis. As a result the heart has to work harder than usual to effectively push the blood through the body. When the heart works harder than it should, it can increase, which increases the risk of congestive heart failure and heart disease.

Research 2016, published in Pharmaceutical Biology has demonstrated the effectiveness of elderberry in the control of high blood pressure. In order to keep hypertension under control, it is also very important to exercise regularly and eat a lot of vegetables.

Chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a known risk factor for the development of many symptoms and diseases, including heart disease, autoimmune diseases and joint pain. A diet rich in antioxidant fruits and vegetables can help to lower the overall level of inflammation and normalize the functioning of the digestive system – this factor is extremely important for overall health.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology showed that kind of elderberry dwarf elderberry helped to reduce the inflammation of the tumor necrosis factor-alpha, blood markers, detectable by the presence of chronic inflammatory processes. Another study 2017 published in Pharmaceutical Biology showed that the elderberry extract has also helped to reduce the level of inflammation in the subjects. Finally, the study of 2014 showed that elder unique varieties growing in the Canary Islands, can be used to reduce chronic inflammation and related pain. Typical of these useful properties for other species of elderberry are unknown.


Diabetes type 2 is becoming one of the most common diseases. Diabetes is primarily a lifestyle disease, the result of excessive consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates. This leads to insulin resistance and, eventually, to disease and conditions associated with increased levels of glucose in the blood.

For many, the most important measure for the prevention and treatment of diabetes is to refuse excessive consumption of refined sugar. However, when changes in diet and lifestyle is not enough, the doctor usually prescribes a medication to help manage blood sugar levels. Some prefer a more natural approach using herbs and nutritional supplements. Elderberry is one such obviously useful medicinal plants.

Research 2015 and 2018 on mice showed that elderberry extract was able to reduce insulin resistance – the constant companion of diabetics. Held in 2016, the animal study also showed that elderberry may be effective in the treatment of diabetes. According to the study in 2017, the elderberry has anti-diabetic effect and can be considered a “functional product” in the fight against diabetes.

Finally, the study of 2017, published in PLoS One, studied the drink from different types of berries, including elderberry. It turned out that these berries useful for the prevention of loss of cognitive abilities, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

If you have diabetes before you start consuming any supplements, it is important to consult with your doctor. In any case, do not stop taking prescription drugs.

Normalization of cholesterol

Cholesterol – a waxy substance that circulates in the blood and lines the inner shell of the arteries. High cholesterol is a risk factor of coronary heart disease and stroke. Many believe that the lowering of cholesterol helps prevent cardiovascular disease. In General, cholesterol is an important molecule required for normal brain function, healthy nerves, and hormone synthesis.

Published in Food & Function in 2015 a study on mice showed that in comparison with mice receiving placebo, the mice who were given the elderberry, the latter contributes to a decrease in total cholesterol in the aorta and simultaneously improves HDL (good cholesterol). Also studies in mice have shown the ability of elderberry to reduce the level of triglycerides.

The study authors 2014, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutritio, came to similar conclusions. The results showed a decrease of 15% total cholesterol, reduced triglycerides by 15% and decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) by 25 %. The level of antioxidants in the blood also improved. So many people use elderberry as food or as dietary supplements to improve your overall metabolic profile.

Other studies

Other studies are evaluating the effectiveness of elderberry in the treatment of epilepsy. However, at the moment the results are still preliminary. Of course, if you are taking medication for epilepsy, you cannot stop them or change the drug without the permission of the attending physician.

Nutritional supplements

Elderberry is available in the form of tea, syrup and lozenges for sore throat. We also offer restorative chewy bears and capsules elderberry.


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  • The author of this article — doctor Eric Madrid, a member of the American Council on integrative and holistic medicine, certified American Board of family medicine and the American Council on integrative and holistic medicine. He is the author of “the purpose of the vitamin D, the healing energy of the sun.” Eric Madrid graduated from medical school at Ohio State University. He is a partner of Rancho Family Medical Group and is accepting patients in Menifee, California. More information about Dr. Madrid here.