The Health Benefits of Elderberry (Recipe and Uses)

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Elderberry is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world, and the benefits of elderberry are still being discovered.

This plant has been used for centuries as a supplement for holistic health and its medicinal properties are praised for healing all sorts of ailments in many different cultures.

There are no extensive research studies to prove its effectiveness with scientific evidence, but the little research we have does point to some likelihood of benefits existing.

There is also tons of anecdotal evidence that this medicinal plant is full of benefits. Many people swear by the benefits of elderberry, most commonly for both prevention and treatment of cold and flu infections. 

Overall, the use of elderberry seems to have a long history of being a good addition to a healthy diet.

The elderberry plant’s origin in medicine can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greek times, ancient Egyptians, and ancient Chinese medicine. Still, many people have never even heard of it, have no idea what it is, or how it can be used in their daily lives.

What is Elderberry?

First, let’s look at what elderberry is, then I’ll share some supplements, and a super easy recipe.

Elderberry is the dark purple berry of the European or black elder tree. This tree grows in the warmer parts of Europe, North America, Asia, and Northern Africa. 

The American black elderberry tree that grows in the United States is similar enough to the European elderberry that it has most of the same benefits. Although it does appear to have less of an antioxidant punch than the European version. 

The American black elderberry is native to the central and eastern United States and southeastern Canada.

It can be found growing in the wild throughout Ohio, usually along roadsides, streams ponds, and farmlands.  

Although the berry gets the most attention in modern-day holistic medicine, that’s not the only part of the tree that can be used.

Historically, the bark was used as a diuretic, a laxative, and to induce vomiting. The flowers and leaves have been used for their anti-inflammatory properties, pain relief, swelling, and more. 

Health Benefits of Elderberry 

Anytime you can use a natural product to improve your health, it’s a plus.

The food and drug administration is reluctant to approve natural remedies. However, the years and years of experience using the elderberry fruit in traditional medicine has been passed down for it’s obvious beneficial effects.

Although elderberry is widely believed to be safe, be sure to consult your doctor before you start using it in case of any possible side effects.

Elderberries are said to be a great anti-inflammatory for people living with autoimmune diseases. However, elderberry also strengthens your immune system. Therefore, it might not be right for everyone with an autoimmune disease, since the very nature of the disease is an overactive immune system.

Always discuss all supplements and natural remedies with a trained health professional.

High in antioxidants

Research suggests that a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods may help prevent chronic diseases. They do this by reducing the number of free radicals that damage cells in the body.

Elderberries have high antioxidant properties to combat oxidative stress in the body, and are a great addition to other antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. Generally speaking, on its own, it won’t have a substantial effect but combined with other antioxidant foods, it’s a great addition. 

High in nutrients 

Elderberries have rich nutritional value while also boasting low-calorie content. They are high in vitamin C, vitamin a, dietary fiber, plus all that antioxidant power we just talked about. 

Fights colds and flu viruses

The elderberry’s other benefits stem from its nutritional components and powerful antioxidants.

The boosting power elderberry gives the immune system is said to be preventative as well as healing.

All of its commercial preparations like liquids, capsules, lozenges, and gummies have been shown to reduce the severity and length of flu symptoms. More studies are needed to prove elderberry’s efficacy in preventing cold and flu infections, but many people find it beneficial. 

Allergy Relief

Elderberries, because they are high in antioxidants, are an excellent way to stay healthy. When allergy season is upon us, our family doubles up on elderberry dosages.

The anti-inflammatory component helps bring relief of allergy symptoms.

Lowers risk of heart disease

Elderberry may have an impact on heart health by reducing cholesterol levels and the level of fat in the blood.

It has also been shown to lower high blood pressure in rats. Again, more studies are needed to confirm these results in humans, but these studies are promising. 

Helps diabetes management

Elderberry can help increase insulin secretion and improve blood sugar levels. This helps with diabetes prevention and management. It also contributes to heart health since type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease.

Popular Elderberry Supplements

If you’re looking for an easy way to get the benefits of elderberries, I suggest making your own using local honey and elderberry spices.

There are, however, lots of options that you can simply order right now at very affordable prices.

Many studies that have been done on the efficacy of elderberry use have been for commercial products. However, you and I both know homemade is always the best and is free of additives. Homemade elderberry benefits are amazing and easy to come by.

Elderberry can be taken in a wide variety of forms of dietary supplements. Check out these popular elderberry products. 

Organic Elderberry Syrup Kit

This elderberry syrup kit is a staple in our house. Simply add local honey and boiling water!

Zarbee’s Elderberry Gummies

These Zarbee’s gummies are really popular for immune support. 97% of people who use them say they would recommend them to a friend. That’s a pretty good rate of satisfaction. They also make these for kids, so your whole family can reap the benefits.

New Chapter Elderberry Gummies

New Chapter is another popular and reliable supplement company, offering sustainably sourced and potent ingredients. They, too, offer an elderberry gummy option for kids.  

Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Adult Daily Gummies

These black elderberry gummies come in regular and extra strength, which would probably be a good option for cold and flu season. 

Organic European Black Elderberry Juice Powder

If you’re not a fan of gummies, this powder can be added to water or something like a smoothie.

MaryRuth’s Black Elderberry Liquid Drops

These liquid drops can be taken orally or even used topically for some ailments. According to folk medicine, used topically elderberry can treat bruises, sprains, burns, and wounds, and as a mouthwash for mouth ulcers or sores.

Organic Elderberry Tea

Herbal tea as a supplement has been widely used by all cultures. Organic Elderberry tea touted benefits have stood the test of time.

The elderberry benefits are just as effective through the supplement of regular tea drinking. Although it may take more frequent dosing this way.

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

If you decide against commercial elderberry supplementation (cheers to you), here are a couple ways you can make your own elderberry syrup. It is pretty simple and relatively cheap.

You will probably have to order your elderberries, as most stores don’t carry them. Keep in mind that raw elderberries, as well as the seeds, leaves, and bark of the tree, contain a toxic substance.

Eating or drinking raw berries or another toxic part of the plant can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. You’ll want to make sure not to snack on these or let your kids get their hands on them before they are cooked.

Organic Elderberry Syrup Kit

As I mentioned above, this is how we make our elderberry syrup, and we highly recommend it.

There are lots of variations in elderberry syrup recipes you can try. This version is convenient if you don’t have all spices available, and are limited on time but want natural healing remedies.

You Will Need:

  • Organic elderberry syrup kit
  • Local honey (we double the amount that it calls for)
  • Water
  • Medium pot
  • Brew bag or strainer bag (the kit above comes with one)
  • Glass jar or glass bottle for storage

Simply put your brew bag, filled with elderberries and spices, into boiling water. Simmer and cover for 20-30 minutes. Then, squeeze out as much of the goodness from the bag as you can. Let cool, then add raw honey. Store in the refrigerator.

Note* You can let your ingredients simmer for up to an hour. But if you’re in a hurry, 20-30 minutes is all you need..

We have 1-3 droppers full a day to help prevent allergies and build immunity.

Ingredients for Elderberry Syrup

If you have elderberries and spices, and prefer not to use the elderberry kit, here is what you will need:

  • 3½ cups water
  • ⅔ cup dried black elderberries (or 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen)
  • 2 TBSP ginger (grated)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup raw honey

The ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, and raw honey add even more health benefits. 

Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy:

12 Benefits of Drinking Olive Oil Before Bed

The Amazing Health Benefits of Walking Barefoot

10 Health Benefits of Mint Green Tea

Benefits of Elderberry