Meet Sambucus.

By Teri, Wellness Team Member


The cold and flu season seems to have arrived and promises to be a ‘doozy’ according to medical experts.  Something I’ve learned to rely on as a Wellness Team Member at Winter Ridge are the benefits of the sage ol’ Elderberry.  I’d like to share some things I’ve learned about this bodacious berry!


Sambuccus is a genus of flowering plants; the different species of Sambuccus are commonly referred to as elderberry or elder.  The berries and flowers are used as medicine.  Plants are native to Europe, Africa, and Asia and has become quite common is the U.S., too.


Health benefits of elderberries are age old and timeless.  Known as Hippocrates’ ‘medicine chest’, elderberry has been used as medicine by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans. Elderberry is also a significant healing ingredient in many Native American medicines.  In 1995, the government of Panama used Elderberry juice during the flu epidemic there, and found it greatly reduced the symptoms and severity of the flu, attributing it with helping end the epidemic.


Elderberries are naturally high in vitamins C, A, B6, and iron and potassium. They are higher in flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries and goji berries for a potent antioxidant punch, which help protect our cells from damage.


The greatest contemporary value of elderberry is, of course, major cold and flu relief, as it is an excellent immune system booster.  A study in the Journal of International Medical Research showed that when the extract is used within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, the duration of the flu may be shorted an average of 4 days.


Sinus issues are aided by elderberry’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and it may also ease allergies.  Additionally, elderberry may help lower blood sugar, encourage healthy skin and is a natural diuretic and laxative.  More research is coming soon indicating elderberry as a hopeful cancer fighter.


In addition to syrup at Winter Ridge, we also carry Elderberry extracts, lozenges, capsules and crystals.  Dried organic elderberries make an easy homemade syrup, delicious with some warming ginger, soothing cinnamon and honey. Quick online recipes are abundant. Do be careful in eating UN-cooked berries, though, as this could result in diarrhea or vomiting in some individuals.  Commercial elderberry preparations typically have few negative side effects when used properly for short periods of time.


Protecting ourselves and our families is a top concern during the Fall and Winter months and keeping our bodies strong during the cold and flu season can help us ward off those nasty bugs.  Elderberry products in your medicine chest can be a real powerhouse immune booster to help you through!


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