When it comes to keeping colds and flu at bay, we may have some go-to habits. Washing our hands, eating a nutrient dense diet and improving our sleep habits can all improve our immunity.
But when these habits don’t quite meet the needs of our immune system, how can we support ourselves?
Considered one of the world’s most healing plants, elderberry is an antiviral able to help support your immune system during cold & flu season. In fact, it’s been used in medicine since 400 BC, by the father of medicine, Hippocrates. High in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, elderberry can protect us against colds as well as alleviating symptoms if you do contract a cold or the flu.
Elderberry extract explained
The elderberry’s small berries and flowers are packed with immune boosters, including:
- Hemagglutinin protein, proven to stop a virus’ capability to replicate by inhibiting its ability to penetrate the cell wall. If elderberries are taken after infection, it can prevent the virus from spreading, alleviating symptoms.
- Vitamin C, which helps promote a healthy inflammatory response and boost immune function, especially when you’re under stress.
- Vitamin A for healthy mucosa and skin.
- Phenolic acids to reduce damage from oxidative stress in the body – which otherwise may inhibit our immunity.
- Flavonols for cardiovascular health, relaxation and a boost of antioxidants.
- Anthocyanins to help regulate your inflammatory response.
It’s no wonder elderberry extract is lauded as a force against flu, but don’t just take our word for it.
The global experts on elderberry extract
- In the early 90s, world-renowned Israeli virologist Dr Madeleine Mumcuoglu tested its healing properties on patients during a flu epidemic in Israel. She discovered that within 24 hours, 20% of patients that took elderberry extract experienced dramatic improvements in symptoms like fever, coughing, muscle aches and pains. By the second day, 73% improved and by day three, 90%. In the group that did not receive elderberry extract, only 16% felt better after two days. The majority of that group took almost a week to see signs of improvement.
- During an outbreak of influenza B in Panama in 1993, researchers conducted tests on 27 patients. 93.9% of those in the group taking elderberry experienced a significant improvement of symptoms within 2 days. By day 3, 90% of those supplementing were completely cured, compared to the control group who took 6 days to recover.
- During the influenza season of 1999-2000 in Norway, a study of 60 people found that those who took 15 ml of elderberry syrup 4 times a day saw signs of improvement in 2 to 4 days, while those who took a placebo syrup took 7 to 8 days to improve.
- 312 people took part in an Australian study on elderberries between 2013 and 2014. It showed that those supplementing 3 times a day with elderberry extract had colds that were half the severity and two days shorter than those who did not.
Used for centuries to support healing, modern medicine has verified the efficacy of elderberry in boosting immune function. Research shows that elderberry is best used when taken 24 to 48 hours after symptoms first appear.