The benefits of black elderberry extract have been known for thousands of years. The widespread use of this natural remedy has led to a number of studies into its health benefits.
Their medicinal use was documented as far back as the fifth century when it was used as an all-round health tonic.
It has been proven that black elderberry is an effective remedy against colds and flu. Recent studies show that patients given black elderberry extract recovered very quickly, typically within two or three days, compared to almost a week for those not taking the remedy.
An added benefit is that patients do not suffer the side effects of traditional cold and flu remedies, which can often make the user drowsy. Side-effects of the remedy are at a minimum, so it is considered safe for both adults and children. It is known that the Native Americans used it to treat fevers and symptoms of rheumatism.
The remedy can be used to bring on sweats, so fevers are quickly flushed out of the system. The high vitamin content and flavonoids make it a natural antioxidant, thus boosting the body’s immune system.
Other components include a natural anti-inflammatory, which can have a positive effect on aches and pains.
Elderberry tea is one of the most popular herbal teas available, and when it is used there are a number of benefits:
- Easing congestion in the airways when suffering from asthma and bronchitis.
- Encouraging the removal of toxins from the system, helping to keep the kidneys functioning properly.
- Encouraging recovery from diseases such as chicken pox and measles.
- Easing the pain associated with arthritis.
- Soothing a sore throat.
Elderberry concentrate is the juice of the berry and like the berry itself contains large amounts of vitamins. Intake should be limited to one or two teaspoons each day with water. It is used to boost the immune system and is beneficial for those suffering from diseases such as cancer or AIDS to ease the side effects of conventional medication.
Other benefits include:
- Reducing cholesterol levels
- Maintaining a healthy digestive system
- Keeping the skin clear of blemishes
An elderberry tincture is available from health food shops, consisting of black elderberry extract in an alcohol solution. The alcohol preserves the tincture so it can be stored for some time. A simple elderberry tincture can be made at home by simply making a strong elderberry tea, though this has no preservatives and will need to be used quickly.
Raw berries can be eaten, but the seeds have a toxic effect on the system. This is removed when they are cooked. All the green parts of the plant are poisonous and should never be eaten.
Side effects are rare, but should the user suffer any unexpected symptoms then a doctor should be consulted. The very young and pregnant and nursing women are advised to avoid using black elderberry extracts and concentrates. Anyone with a serious liver or kidney disease should not use any black elderberry products.