Elderberry has been identified throughout history for its benefits. An antioxidant-rich fruit from the Sambucus tree, elderberry is commonly grown throughout Europe and North America. Typically consumed as jam, wine, jelly, or syrup, elderberries have become more popular in our modern culture.
Elderberry Uses and History
For centuries, many herbalists and traditional civilizations have used elderberry to naturally support health and wellbeing. Many ancient writings from healers and scholars, like Hippocrates, mention the use of elderberry. Native Americans have also used elderberry flowers to make tea. Ancient Egyptians have used elderberry to improve skin complexion and heal burns and scars.
In folk medicine, dried elderberries have also been used to relieve headaches, soothe nerve pain, and ease dental pain. In modern day medicinal use, elderberry is often consumed in syrup or tablet form.
Elderberries and and elderberry flowers contain a variety of immunological and antioxidant properties that have been shown to have benefit in treating influenza, bacterial sinusitis, bronchitis, and other ailments.
In one Australian study, researchers discovered that phytochemicals found in elderberry inhibited the early stages of an infection by intercepting viral proteins before entering host cells. The scientists also found that elderberry had the capacity to prevent the influenza virus from continuing to spread even after cells had been infected by the virus.
What Does Elderberry Do?
In addition to being a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A & C, iron, and other important minerals, elderberry is also considered to be able to:
Provide antioxidants to the body
Boost the immune system
Alleviate respiratory conditions
Fight against colds, flu, viruses, and bacterial infections
Fun Fact: The elderberry tree has even been used to make instruments, like the ancient Asian lyre-like instrument known as the sambuca. Native Americans have also used the tree’s branches to make instruments, which gave the tree the common name as the “tree of music.”