Friday, April 19, 2013
ELDERBERRIES FOR THE FLU
ELDERBERRIES FOR THE FLU
>From Natural Health magazine, Jan/Feb 2000:
Elderberries are thought to protect against infection with the
influenza (flu) virus. And once the person comes down with the flu,
elderberries may also reduce the severity and duration of the illness
and its symptoms. Elderberries are also believed to relieve upper
respiratory congestion caused by colds or allergies, and are
currently being studied as possible treatment for the herpes and
Human Immunodeficiency (HIV) viruses.
What it is:
Elderberries are the dark purple fruit of the elder tree. Though the
majority of research on the healing properties of the elderberry has
been done on the European black elder, the North American species is
believed to have the same curative properties.
How it works:
Elderberries contain antiviral proteins that prevent viruses from
invading cells. Elderberries are rich in vitamin C -- an antioxidant
that boosts immune function -- and in bioflavanoids which according
to Bradley Bongiovanni, N.D., a naturopath in Cambridge, Mass.,
strengthen cells, making them less reactive to allergens and germs.
Elderberries may possess expectorant and astringent properties that
encourage the release of phlegm and reduce congestion. The berries
also induce sweating which may help break a fever of rid the body of
A 1995 placebo-controlled study of 40 patients diagnosed with
influenza published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary
Medicine found that 90 percent of flu patients who had taken 10 ml of
elderberry extract four times a day were completely symptom-free
after three days.
Symptoms of patients in the untreated control group persisted for six
days. According to Madeleine Mumcuoglu, Ph.D., the study's lead
author and a former virology researcher at Hebrew University in
Jerusalem, research has shown that patients who take elderberry
extract have elevated levels of immune system proteins called
cytomkines in their bloodstreams.
In a 1998 study at the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem,
chimpanzees given a tablespoon of elderberry extract every day during
the cold and flu season were three times less likely to get sick than
those in the control group, who received fruit juice. Those in the
treated group who did get sick were only ill for an average of 24
hours, compared to two to six days for those in the control group.
There hasn't yet been any research on elderberry's decongestant
properties. Preliminary laboratory studies indicate that elderberry
extract inhibits reproduction of the herpes and HIV viruses in vitro.
Elderberry extract is slightly acidic and can irritate the stomach
lining. Taking it with food should minimize any discomfort. While
there are few known side effects for commercially prepared elderberry
extracts or capsules, the bark and leaves from the elder tree may
produce an allergic reaction of they come in contact with the skin.
Raw berries are mildly toxic and will cause vomiting and diarrhea if
How to take it:
Dosages vary depending on the manufacturer's formulation, so read the
labels, but they usually range from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of
extract twice daily for flu prevention, and up to 4 times that amount