Herb of the Month: Elderberry

Elderberry was my introduction to the power of herbs. I work in a small but open office and take public transportation every single day. Ugh. Elderberry was just what I needed to avoid getting sick. 

Elderberry, known by its medical name Sambucus nigra, is a small, shrubby medicinal plant native to most of Europe. Historically, elderberries have been used to boost the immune system and current studies show that it's reasonable to use this plant to fight infection.

Image of Elderberry

(Image from Edible Wild Food)

So, with an elderberry syrup recipe from Nikisha Brunson (I just love her, she's so awesome and holistic and Jamaican), I set out to better my health through the power of herbs that I didn't know anything about. After doing my research, I made the cough syrup (which I have since tweaked). Me and elderberry been tight ever since.

Ja Rule Gif

Elderberries pretty much do everything, like: prevent flu and cold, lower cholesterol, alleviate respiratory conditions, destroy cancerous cells, reduce joint pain associated with inflammation, and some mo'.

Elderberries are anti-viral, high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C, quercitin, flavanoids, and virus fighting proteins. Blogs about quercitin and flavanoids soon come.

Know The Ledge:

  1. In the woods and you see some elderberry? Grab some, but also take the leaves, roots, bark, and flowers cuz they're useful, too.
  2. Elderberries enhance cytokine production, key to suppressing viruses.
  3. These berries contain flavanodes, a secondary metabolite chemical. They're FULL of antioxidants.
  4. Studies show that elderberries shorten the length of colds by 4 days, can make you feel like 100% better in 2 - 3 days, and may even be able to block infection by directly inhibiting viral infection. Look at God!

How to use it:

  1. Make your own syrup
  2. Buy a prepared syrup (a good bad idea)
  3. Get an extract in capsules (an expensive good bad idea)

Hol' Up:

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  • Don't eat the berries raw or when they're unripe, they contain cyanogenic glycoside, a cyanide chemical that must be destroyed by heat (cookin).
  • Got autoimmune disease? Definitely talk to your doctor before using elderberries. 


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