The Ancient Medicine Chest – A look into Elderberry

By Monique Meadows

As the sun spends more time beaming down, kissing your skin, and beckoning the plants to blossom, the will to explore and get outside is more ignited than ever.

The summer is a common time for most of us to affirmatively set aside time in our lives for some holiday…space to unwind, see new sights, and soak up new energy. Typically, holiday involves time traveling in airports and airplanes and we all know the two are a perfect breeding grounds for the common cold and the flu. There is nothing like the flu to ruin a sought after holiday. With that said, perhaps the only thing worse than the flu is the summer flu. Fortunately, scientists in Australia have conducted a study that has reaffirmed ancient wisdom of a medicinal herb know as Elderberry or Sambus nigra.

The ancient knowledge of Elderberry runs so deep that the “father of medicine”, Hippocrates, adoringly referred to the herb as the “medicine chest” of all herbs because of its endless benefits and the usability of all aspects of the plant. Elderberry is the ultimate immune booster and has more flavonoids than blueberries and the ever-mystic goji berries…hello antioxidants! The list of benefits goes on but let the focus remain on the immune-modulating properties.

The Australian study of 2016 in the journal, Nutrients, examined the power of Elderberry supplementation and its ability to reduce cold/flu duration and symptoms. The study was executed as a double-blind placebo trial on 312 economy passengers travelling overseas from Australia. The passengers took Elderberry extract in capsule form or placebo form for 10 days before their travel and for 5 days after their arrival. After careful analysis and review, the study confirmed that elderberry has a small chance at completely preventing a cold but certainly lessens that duration of a cold by 2 days on average and significantly reduces symptom severity.

While the specific effect that Elderberry has on physical health needs to be further investigated (although most scientists agree it is the antioxidants) it is clear that there are beautiful benefits to integrating the herb into your daily ritual or before your next upcoming holiday! You can relish in the benefits of Elderberry in various forms whether it be tea, tinctures, capsules, lozenges, and/or syrups.

Read the full study here: http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/4/182/htm

 

Berry to the Rescue

Berry to the Rescue 

By Coco Pile

Elder berries are famous for their use in colds and flus, especially for nasal congestion. The use of this herb for helping relieve symptoms and overcoming the infection has been documented for over 2,000 years. The berry not only activates the immune system, but it directly impedes virus’ mechanisms to invade cells. If that wasn’t enough, elder berries are also excellent for their releasing properties. They are considered as diaphoretic and diuretic.  Meaning they allow perspiration and urination to release toxins and metabolic waste from the body. This is key for feeling more energetic, recovering from the tissue damage and releasing waste from the immune system defending the body.

Elder Berry Harvesting Tip

Elder Berry Harvesting Tip

By Coco Pile

When it comes to harvesting wild elder berries, it is common practice for the herbalist to ask the tree for permission to harvest before gathering any parts of the plant. Harvesting responsibly is of the upmost importance to respect the plant and the job it plays in the ecosystem, but also to protect the herbalist. Elder berries are poisonous to consume when they are still green. It is best to harvest them when the berries have developed and matured into their rich black color.