Elderberry is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world, yet many people are still unfamiliar with all the health benefits it offers. Learn more about what elderberry is and how elderberry may keep you healthy.

What is elderberry?

There are about 30 types of elder plants and trees found around the world. The European version (also known as Sambucus nigra) is the one most closely tied to your health and healing.

Its story dates as far back as 400 BC, and Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” called the elder tree his “medicine chest.” The berries are tart and need to be cooked to be eaten. The flowers have a delicate muscat aroma and can be eaten raw or cooked.

How may elderberry help with good health?

According to Healthline, the flowers and leaves have historically been used for pain relief, swelling, inflammation, to stimulate the production of urine and to induce sweating. The bark was used as a diuretic, laxative, and to induce vomiting. In folk medicine, the dried berries or juice are used to treat influenza, infections, sciatica, headaches, dental pain, heart pain, and nerve pain, as well as a laxative and diuretic. Teas and syrups made from the elderberry plant have been commonly used to fight upper respiratory infections for hundreds of years. Elderberry is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and may boost your immune system.

What research backs elderberry’s health benefits?

One study of 60 adults who were showing flu-like symptoms took elderberry syrup four times a day and saw those symptoms clear up on average four days earlier than study participants who were taking a placebo. A second study focusing on air travelers also showed that those taking elderberry had a shorter duration of cold symptoms, as well as having less severe symptoms. If you want to add a boost to your immune system, many doctors say it’s safe to take elderberry as part of a healthy diet plan that includes foods with vitamin B, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.

As always, be an informed consumer

We’ll again repeat the same mantra we always say when it comes to adding any kind of supplement to your health regimen: always consult your physician to ensure that any new supplement you start taking doesn’t in any way conflict with medications you’re taking or other health conditions you may have. And of course, only purchase your supplements from a trusted supplement company that focuses on quality without adding unnecessary fillers and other ingredients.

Keeping your immune system strong is essential all year round. Understanding how elderberry may keep you healthy can put you on a path to a healthier life!