Is Elderberry Safe For Kids To Take
Though many elderberry syrup products on the market list a dosage for children, there’s limited research regarding safety in kids. Talk to your pediatrician if you have specific questions about giving elderberry to your kids. However, there is ongoing research assessing the safety and effectiveness of elderberry extract in patients 5 years and older with the flu. Stay tuned for those results.
Can An Herbal Beverage Neutralize Influenza
The berries themselves are high in antioxidants. This study lends support to the use of elder extract for colds and flus. The researchers conclude that it shortens flu symptoms by a whopping four days on average.
Furthermore, the authors suggest, elder can also lessen the amount of medication necessary for flu treatment. Therefore, elderberry seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza, the authors conclude.
Elderberries also may also have health benefits when used for conjunctivitis and arthritis.
What Does Elderberry Tea Taste Like
Sweet and tart and bursting with ripeness, the elderberry isnt as sweet as some of the other more popular berries but instead holds on to its soft earthy hues too. One of the best things about working with elderberry tea is that you can change the taste to suit your own palate by adding in a few other spices. From clove to cardamom and a pinch of cinnamon, you can easily add more layers to bring this berry burst into warming autumnal shades.
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Gives You A Shot Of Protective Antioxidants
Elderberry fruits and flowers are a rich source of antioxidants like anthocyanins, flavonols, phenolic acids, and proanthocyanidins and can increase your bodys antioxidant capacity thanks to these polyphenols.Sidor, Andrzej, and Anna Gramza-Michaowska. Advanced research on the antioxidant and health benefit of elderberry in fooda review. Journal of functional foods 18 : 941-958. And why is this important? Antioxidants counter free radicals that damage your DNA and cells and contribute to aging as well as many diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers disease, vision loss etc. All of us grapple with them on a daily basis not only does your body produce free radicals during the process of converting food to energy, these damaging chemicals are also a reality when we eat refined and processed foods in excess, smoke and drink, expose ourselves to environmental pollutants, grapple with stress etc. Besides a balanced lifestyle, a healthy dose of antioxidants via diet can work well to fend off free radicals. So enjoy the strong dose of antioxidants that your elderberry tea provides.Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype. Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. Netzel, M., G. Strass, M. Herbst, H. Dietrich, R. Bitsch, I. Bitsch, and T. Frank. The excretion and biological antioxidant activity of elderberry antioxidants in healthy humans. Food Research International 38, no. 8-9 : 905-910.
The Science Behind Elderberry
Harvested from the indigenous Sambucus elder tree, these berries have been a source of nutrition and medicine for thousands of years. Much research has been done regarding the actual medicinal benefits of elderberries when used for common ailments and not shocking, its been proven to be highly effective against those nasty winter bugs and even chronic issues. Elderberry significantly boosts your system and helps support your body in doing what it does best to protect itself. Numerous medicinal benefits aside, elderberry is highly nutritious and rich in the vitamins and minerals that we need. Its also a hefty dose of antioxidants and the vitamin C is through the roof. Bottom line, its just plain good for you, sick or not.
This little berry is also super rich in phytochemicals. Lets talk about what these are and how they a crucial for living beings. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds produced by plants to help them survive. The fight off bacteria, viruses, and fungi that would otherwise destroy the plant. They also prevent environmental changes in the plants DNA so that it continues to evolve properly and thrive. So, you might guess what can happen when we ingest these plants that are so abundant with life sustaining phytochemicals. Yep, thats rightwe reap the benefits of these miraculous little chemical compounds, too.
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Simple Elderberry Tea Recipe
- 16 ounces of filtered water
- 2 tablespoons of dried elderberries
- 1 teaspoon of raw honey
- ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
In a small saucepan, add the elderberries and water. Then, add the cinnamon and turmeric. Bring the mixture to a boil at high heat, and then let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool. Strain it into mugs and add honey. You can have it hot or refrigerate it to enjoy chilled elderberry tea.
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Helps Manage Your Blood Sugar Levels
Unmanaged diabetes can lead to serious conditions such as nerve damage, heart disease, kidney disease, and eye problems. If you have been on the lookout for alternative complementary remedies for controlling diabetes, elderberry tea is worth a shot.
Normally, the hormone insulin helps move glucose from your bloodstream into your cells where it is converted into energy. But in people with insulin resistance, liver, fat, and muscle cells dont respond as they should to insulin and therefore are unable to absorb glucose easily from the blood. This can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.Insulin Resistance. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Animal studies have found that elderberry extracts can not only lower fasting blood glucose but also fight insulin resistance. A flavonol known as quercetin 3-rutinoside present in elderberries may at least be partly responsible for this beneficial effect.Salvador, Ângelo C., Ewelina Król, Virgínia C. Lemos, Sónia AO Santos, Fernanda PMS Bento, Carina P. Costa, Adelaide Almeida et al. Effect of elderberry extract supplementation in STZ-induced diabetic rats fed with a high-fat diet. International journal of molecular sciences 18, no. 1 : 13.
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May Help Alleviate Constipation
Anthraquinone is a compound in elderberry thats been hailed for its laxative effect. This same compound has been found in other natural laxatives such as senna.
It prevents and/or minimizes the absorption of water from the intestines during peristalsis. With more water in the intestinal lumen, pressure is generated in the intestines.
Such pressure stimulates muscle activity, enhancing the process of peristalsis.
The extra water also softens fecal matter, making it easier to eliminate.
The only downside about using elderberry for constipation is that its been less studied, and some studies suggest it shouldnt be used consecutively for more than 5 days.
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How To Get The Most Benefits Of Elderberry Tea
After youve strained the elderberries and additional herbs, you can cover them with water and simmer them again to extract the remaining compounds. This second brewing makes a weaker tea that still is quite flavorful and likely contains many beneficial compounds.
You can even get a third batch of still weaker tea after straining again. Though its likely less medicinally powerful, its still a nice fruity herbal tea, though not what Id suggest using if youre battling flu. It will taste much weaker as well, so you probably wont want to dilute it with additional water.
Wondering what else you can do with elderberries? Try making syrup and adding it to this immune-boosting overnight oats recipe. Here are 20 other uses for elderberries to consider, and of course, you can find many, many more in my book, Everything Elderberry.
Have you tried elderberry tea? Whats your favorite way to make it?
Pin to save this elderberry tea recipe and info on maximizing its benefits for later!
Disclaimer: Im a health enthusiast, not a medical professional. Content on this website is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to provide personalized medical advice. Please consult them for more information and a licensed professional for personalized recommendations.
: Photo of elderberries growing by Anemone123, others by yours truly
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Traditional Benefits Of Elderberry
Many practitioners of herbal medicine look to the elder tree as a pharmacy within itself. The flowers and berries are all applied in unique methods to promote wellness, whereas the shoots may be eaten and the leaves may be applied externally but the other constituents of the plant are actually toxic.
Elderberry has been used for millennia in folk remedies to aid in prevention and relief for fever and other symptoms of influenza. Clinical studies suggest that some elderberry extracts might reduce flu-like symptoms. The anthocyanidins in elderberries are thought to have immunomodulating effects and possibly anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects. Elderberry also contains a range of vitamins, including Vitamin A, C and potassium.
What Are The Side Effects Of Elderberry
Consumption of elderberry seems to be generally regarded as safe, and carries a low risk of adverse effects, says Feller. However, the leaves, stems, raw and unripe berries, and other plant parts of the elder tree contain a toxic substance and, if not properly prepared, may cause nausea, vomiting, and severe diarrhea.
And keep in mind that its a diuretic, which can cause you to urinate more often leading to imbalances such as dehydration or hypernatremia or hyponatremia .
I always encourage people to be cautious of how supplements may interact with medication, Garcia says. As with any supplement, its important for the individual to have a clear understanding of any underlying health conditions, explains Feller.
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May Provide Relief From Cold & Cough
Elderberry tea might have been traditionally advocated for bringing relief from cold, cough, and sore throat. A 2016 study on intercontinental air travelers found that people who took elderberry extract were less likely to suffer from respiratory issues than those who did not.
Sweet and refreshing elderberry tea. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Elderberry And A Healthy Immune Response*
Elderberry has a long history of use as both an herb and food in helping to support immune health.* Herbs contain a diverse mixture of phytochemicals that have a complex interaction with the body. They do not work using only one mechanism, and they may work differently for different people at different times. Because of their complexity, herbalists consider herbs to be supporters of physiology rather than overly stimulating in terms of immune response .*
Concerns raised about Elderberry seem to be based on a 2001 study involving healthy volunteers and the popular Elderberry product Sambucol®. In that study, researchers concluded, Sambucol might therefore be beneficial to the immune system activation and in the inflammatory process in healthy individuals.2 The key take-away from this study is that Elderberry supported cytokine production during a healthy inflammatory process related to optimal immune function that was beneficial in this situation. However, the research did not suggest it would stimulate a cytokine storm in patients that have an underlying condition that may tax the immune system.
More recently, a 2016 study showed that a formula based on Elderberry inhibited cytokines in people who had atherosclerosis.3 The take-away from this study is that the cytokines were not helpful to the overall situation, and Elderberry did not stimulate cytokine production.
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Benefits Of Elderberry Tea
Heather Dessinger This post contains affiliate links.
For more than 1,000 years, herbalists have revered elders abilities, and mentions of the shrub are included in many important historical texts, writes herbalist Rosalee De La Foret, adding that although its primarily used to support the body during cold and flu season there are other benefits, too.
What benefits, you ask? Elderberries are rich in anthocyanins which are responsible for giving the berries their dark purple color along with other highly bioactive antioxidants that:
- Help the body absorb vitamin C This is important because Vitamin C is essential for immune function and other processes like collagen synthesis
- Have immunomodulatory and immune supportive effects Helps balance and support the immune system so that it can function as optimally as possible.
- Support a healthy inflammatory response According to tradition, in 1899 an American sailor accidentally discovered that port wine colored with polyphenol-rich elderberries eased his aches.
- Support cardiovascular health Elderberries are rich in a flavonoid called quercetin that supports the strength and integrity of capillaries. For people already within normal range, quercetin can support optimal blood pressure levels. The antioxidants in elderberry also support cardiovascular health by protecting lipids from oxidation.
For that reason, I suggest simmering the elderberry tea first and then adding the echinacea near the end.
What Are Cytokines And How Do They Affect The Body
Cytokines are cellular communication molecules that the immune system uses to communicate with itself and mobilize the healing response. They are used for local communication between immune cells and local tissues. It is important to understand the nature of a cytokine storm. You can think of it as kind of a power surge in the body that can cause even more damage than the body has already experienced. A cytokine storm is experienced in the advanced stages of infection, such as sepsis or acute respiratory distress syndrome , when there is already a significant amount of damage to the tissues in the body. The body sends an overwhelming number of messages to try and mobilize the healing response and activate immune cells, but the messages end up jamming the system, and spilling over into systemic circulation. The resulting influx of too many activated immune cells ends up causing additional damage to the tissues.
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How To Make Elderberry Tea To Maximize Elderberry Tea Benefits
When most of us think of tea, we think of a tea bag dunked briefly in boiling water, but in the case of elderberry tea, its important to know that our usual process for making tea wont extract the compounds were after.
Elderberries are among the herbal ingredients that wont readily release their beneficial compounds into a cup of hot water the way leaves and flowers like nettle or hibiscus will. To make elderberry tea to maximize the benefits we can get from it, we need to gently simmer the berries to make something called a decoction. When we dilute the decoction with water, we call it a tea.
If this sounds a lot like making homemade elderberry syrup, thats because it is. Depending on what else you choose to add to it, elderberry tea can be a weaker, unsweetened version of elderberry syrup.
A lot of people suggest just steeping whole elderberries in boiling water, and you can absolutely do that and still get a pretty tasty tea. But youll be leaving a lot of what makes elderberries so good for you behind in the berries. To get the most out of your elderberries, take the extra step and simmer them on the stove.
But if all youre up for is boiling water and cant be bothered with simmering, thats totally OK. You can make your elderberry tea like you would any other tea and still enjoy some of their anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting goodness. Because this method will leave much behind, you can re-brew the berries and get additional cups of weaker tea.
May Reduce Cardiovascular Disease
Consuming anthocyanin-rich foods such as elderberries may reduce death due to cardiovascular diseases. The Iowa Womens Health Study conducted research on post-menopausal women without cardiovascular disease.
It was found that consuming a diet rich in foods containing anthocyanins, such as berries, reduced death from CVD and coronary artery disease.
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Elderberry Tea: What You Need To Know
Sometimes an herbal supplement and natural cure for many conditions is so delicious that it goes beyond capsules or teas. The elder bush grows to be several feet high and is covered in dark berries referred to as elderberries. The elderberries can be processed to make jams, jellies and other products that eaten by people all over the world. But when herbal supplement makers create elderberry tea, they take special care to process the berries in such a way as to retain their natural healing properties. All elderberry products are extremely popular, but the tea may be making medical history as time goes by.
Some people try to bypass the tea and eat elderberries directly from the bush. While eating the actual berries is not a problem, it should be noted that the leaves and stems on the bush are poisonous to human beings and other animals as well. That is one of the reasons why people prefer to eat processed berry products. Elderberry tea uses only the berries and avoids all of the potentially toxic parts of the plant. When drank on a regular basis, this tea can have some significant benefits that mainstream medical science is starting to take notice of.
Do Elderberries Offer Any Health Benefits
While many turn to elderberry supplements and syrups to help ease cold and flu symptoms, some believe that this berry can boost health by:
- Lowering the risk of cancer.
- Loweing the risk of heart disease.
- Reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
- Easing inflammation.
While many believe that elderberries are a good solution for boosting immunity, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says, Theres not enough information to show whether elderberry is helpful for any other health purposes.
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Drinking Elderberry Herbal Tea
When making tea from elderflower, consider the following suggestions: 20 to 30 g per liter of hot water. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes and then drink it hot three times per day.Making tea from the leaves of elderberry should only require 15g of leaves per liter of hot water. Also let it rest for 10 minutes and then drink it three times a day.
Elderberry Tea using dried berries can made by adding hot water over 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried berries per cup .This tea will have a deep red color, depending on how long you let the dried berries steep in your cup, its taste will also seem stronger. In fact, people have found that Elderberry Tea has a prune or raisin like taste to it, though perhaps not as sweet. So dont be afraid to experiment until you find the right taste for you.
Now here is a tip for you:Take elderberry tea as soon as you feel those first symptoms of a cold coming on, such as headaches, sore throat, sneezing, etc.It has been proven that if you take it within the first day, you are likely to start feeling better as soon as the next day and the illness itself will not last as long.
Sweeten it with honey or mix peppermint tea for further relief and soon you will be feeling as good as new.
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