Flu Fighter: Elderberry Boosts Immune and Battles the Flu Symptoms

Looking for ways to fight the flu? With cold and flu season still in full swing, elderberry is one option.

Elderberry contains concentrated amounts of vitamin C, flavinoids, fruit acids, and anthocyanic pigments. Elderberries contain more vitamin C than any other herbs except rosehips and black currant. Elderberr yalso outranks blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and blackberries in terms of total flavonol content. Flavonoids have antioxidant properties and may help prevent damage to the body’s cells.

Recent studies have also indicated that elderberry may have antiviral activity, increasing its value as a preventative measure.


Flu Fighting

The Herbal Information Center reports elderberry has remarkable value in fighting flu and similar viruses. One study suggested that the elderberry extract called Sambucol could shorten flu duration by up to three days.

An additional benefit of elderberry is its ability to help break fevers. It promotes profuse sweating. These properties help make elderberry valuable as an “after the fact” supplement to speed the healing process.

How Elderberry is Used

For health care, elderberry is available as a liquid, syrup, and tincture It can also be found in capsule and lozenge forms.

Raw berries should not be eaten.

Cautions for Using Elderberry

Viewed as an immune booster, elderberry should be avoided by those with autoimmune diseases. These include MS, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis as well as others. Taking elderberry could increase symptoms of those diseases.

Always consultant with your health care provider before taking any supplements and if you have any health concerns or illnesses.

Historical Notes

elderberry flower flu fighter

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Elderberry is a common, shrubby tree, produces creamy flowers in early summer, followed by deep wine-colored berries in the fall. Native Americans used the flower water for eye and skin lotions. The berries were common additives for jams, pies, teas, and later wines. Elderberry wine was quite common in Colonial America. The elderberry was nick-named the “country medicine chest” because of its varied uses.

Evening Primrose Oil: Providing Rich Source of GLAs

Evening Primrose Oil is a natural, and the richest, source of Gamma-Linolenic acid. It contains about 72% Linoleic acid and 9 percent GLA. Since it contains the essential GLA, evening primrose oil is highly valuable to those who cannot otherwise form enough GLA. This would include those who do not get enough essential fatty acids in their diet, drink or have drunk excessive amounts of alcohol, have low thyroid function, or have received radiation treatment. The direct source of GLA takes the pressure off the body to produce the necessary amount of GLA for optimum health.

Preliminary studies in Sweden are relating Evening Primrose Oil to an anti-oxidant in that it also counter acts the formation of free radicals. Free radicals are most often associated with the aging process. Maintaining health is just one of the benefits of Evening Primrose Oil. It is also being studied extensively in England and Europe for its pain reduction in association with arthritis, controlling complications of diabetes, controlling liver and kidney damage due to alcohol, depression, Multiple sclerosis, skin/hair/nail repair, and most impressively, controlling sever symptoms of PMS.

A study at St. Thomas Hospital in London found that when PMS suffers were given evening primrose oil three times daily, 67% of the participants were symptom-free and 22% achieved partial relief. (In all total, 89% had positive results with the evening primrose oil.)

Although not as popular in the United States, Evening Primrose Oil is available at most health food stores and nutrition centers. And, as more studies become available, we will find why Evening Primrose Oil was commonly called the “King’s Cure All” in 17th Century England.

Fennel: Aiding in Digestion

Typically an her of the culinary scene, fennel has been referred back to the ancient Greeks. Know to them as “marathoron” meaning “to grow thin”, fennel had the reputation of an appetite suppressant.

Fennel seeds, in general, have been seen as an aid to digestion and stomach (gas/acid) problems. The seeds can be seeped in hot water to make an interesting tea, flavored somewhere between licorice and anise. The tea also  has been used historically as an aid to infant colic, settling the upset stomach.

Fennel oil has been used as a natural cough remedy. Once to three drops of fennel oil in a teaspoon of honey soothes the throat to help with hoarseness and control coughing. The fennel oil will help to expel mucous accumulations as well.

Although somewhat limited in health care uses, fennel offers a wide range of uses in healthy cooking.  It is also said to be easy to grow and an excellent butterfly attractor.