Elderberry refers to the purple fruit of the elderberry shrub. The fruit is the only part of the plant that’s safe to consume. The twigs, branches, leaves, roots, and even the seeds are toxic, containing a chemical similar to cyanide. Even unripeor uncooked fruit or flowers can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if eaten. Eating too much elderberry fruit can cause the same reaction, so moderation is the key with this herb. You can get ripe elderberries in several forms, but gummies are one of the safest. They’re thoroughly cooked before manufacture, and only the ripened berries are utilized.
There are around thirty different types of elder trees and plants worldwide. The one usually seen in healthcare and herbal supplements is the European black elderberry (Sambucus niger). You might have seen some elderberry preparations called Sambuca rather than elderberry. People have been using this plant for more than 400 years as a health supplement and treatment. Hippocrates himself referred to the elderberry as his “medicine chest.” And today, most people feel the elderberry is one of the most healing herbs on the market –with a couple of exceptions. Elderberry is not recommended in children or pregnant or nursing women There just isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove that it’s safe in these groups and since the plant does contain a cyanide-like substance, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Elderberries are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins. These substances reduce or slow any damage to your cells’ DNA by the unstable molecules (free radicals) your body produces in response to environmental stressors. Elderberries also have antiviral properties that might reduce the severity of some viral infections or maybe even prevent you from getting them at all. Elderberries also have 52.2 milligrams of vitamin C per cup. A cup of elderberries also contains 10.2 grams of dietary fiber, 26.7 grams of carbs, 1 gram of protein, and only 0.7 grams of fat. Elderberry gummies can help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. Many doctors recommend them to reduce the symptoms of colds and flu. They have also been used to treat constipation, stress, joint and muscle pain, headaches, breathing difficulties, fever, minor skin conditions, kidney problems, and even epilepsy.
Although there are no studies suggesting that elderberry gummies can actually prevent you from catching the common cold, there is evidence that –if you begin within 48 hours of your first symptoms – taking elderberry can reduce the symptoms and length of time you have to suffer. An Australian study in 2016 found that long-haul airline passengers who started taking elderberry ten days before their flight and continued five days after their arrival experienced 50 percent fewer sick days than those who didn’t follow the full regimen or didn’t take elderberry at all. Additionally, patients who took elderberry had less severe colds based on scoring of upper tract respiratory symptoms. If you’re talking about the influenza virus, however, a 2012 study did suggest that elderberry might help prevent a flu infection by stimulating your immune responses. They also reduce the symptoms and length of time you’ll suffer from the flu.
Anthocyanins are known to reduce inflammation as well. Elderberry’s anthocyanins do this by inhibiting the production of one of the body’s signaling molecules, nitric oxide. Nitric oxide triggers inflammation in response to disease or injury. Inflammation (redness and swelling) helps to treat minor injury by heating and immobilizing the damaged area. However, too much inflammation for too long can become a chronic condition, which can be more irritating than helpful. By reducing this immune response, elderberry can relieve pain and swelling in chronic conditions. There are, unfortunately, few studies of this response in humans, but it seems logical to think that elderberry can reduce swelling and pain by slowing the response of the immune system to injury.
Elderberry can also help treat constipation, and in this case, it’s best to brew a tea from the dried elderberries. The laxative effect of elderberry is caused by a compound called anthraquinone, also found in rhubarb and senna plants. This chemical prevents the large intestine from reabsorbing so much water, leaving the stool loose and easier to pass. It also increases the intestinal pressure, which stimulates contraction or peristalsis of the intestines. There is not a lot of medical information on this effect of the elderberry, but it seems to be safe if you use it for no more than five days. Just remember that your intestines can become “addicted” to laxatives and not want to work normally if you overutilize these medicines.
Elderberry gummies are usually quite safe, so long as you don’t give them to kids, pregnant women, or nursing mothers. Lots of people think that because something is an herb, it’s safe for anyone to take. Always check with your doctor before starting any herbal treatment, though. Herbs are still medicines and they might have a severe interaction with something else you are already taking. They might not be safe at all for infants or children, who cannot handle the dose an adult would take. Remember that elderberry has that cyanide-like substance and you’ll be more wary and less likely to have problems taking it.
If you experience a rash or trouble breathing after taking elderberry, you might be allergic to it and should not take any more. Alert your doctor that you had the reaction, too, so they can note that in your medical profile for future use. Elderberry can also have a severe interaction with any drugs that affect your immune system, like corticosteroids (prednisone or methylprednisolone, for example). Do not take elderberry if you take corticosteroids or drugs like Prograf, Cellcept, Imuran, Sandimmune, Rapamune, or Zenapax.
Elderberry gummies can help reduce the length of time you suffer from a cold or flu, and might help reduce pain caused by chronic inflammation. However, you should check with your doctor before starting this medicine and make sure not to take it at all if your immune system doesn’t work properly.