Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to work through an illness. (Guilty!) We’ve all had a nasty case of the flu or caught a cold from time to time and we all know how miserable that can be. Unfortunately, getting sick is a part of life – at some point, we’re going to encounter germs. The best thing we can do is strengthen our immunity to help avoid getting sick in the first place.
As a Health Coach, my clients are constantly asking me for suggestions on natural ways to ward of viruses and give their immune system a good boost. When this conversation comes up – I love to talk to them about Elderberries!
Yep. You heard it right. These amazing little purple fruits pack a massive wellness punch! Isn’t it wonderful how nature provides us with these natural remedies? Now, if you’re new to this fruit, you may be wondering, “what the heck are Elderberries anyway?”
When I first stumbled upon Elderberries in the wellness world, I wondered the same thing. So, I set out to learn everything I could about them! I wanted to know where they’re grown, how to ingest them, and what their benefits are. Now, I get to deliver this information to you, oh loyal Mighty Gum readers! So, without further ado, I’m pleased to present to you all the juicy details of the Elderberry (pun intended) and answer some of the most common questions I receive about this fruit.
What are Elderberries?
Elderberry, aka “Sambucus”, is a small, deciduous tree that grows in virtually every temperate region on Earth. Some trees feature berries that are red, some blue, and some a blackish-purple. In fact, there are about 30 types of elder plants and trees found around the world. The European version (also known as Sambucus nigra) is the one most common version tied to health and healing.
The plant has dated back all the way to prehistoric times and was even used by ancient Egyptians! Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, once called the Elderberry tree “his medicine chest”. Impressive!
Where does the name Elderberry come from?
The English term for the tree is not believed to come from the word "old" but from the Anglo Saxon æld, meaning fire, because the hollow stems of the Elderberry tree branches were used as bellows to blow air into a fire.
Can you give me the nutrition facts of Elderberries, please and thank you?
Oh, how I’m glad you asked! Elderberries are tiny but sure pack in the nutrients. Apart from ample amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C, Elderberries contain minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and a variety of other beneficial compounds. Shazam!
Okay, so what are the benefits of elderberries?
Well, I could easily sit here and ramble on about all the crazy benefits of elderberries because let’s just say, they do A LOT of things. Most importantly, they boost your immunity naturally. Elderberries are extremely potent in anthocyanins (powerful antioxidants) that work to boost the immune system. These same anthocyanins are also responsible for the fruit's dark purple color. What’s more, elderberries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins among ALL fruits and berries! My entire family takes Elderberry almost every day to keep sickness away and so far, it has worked great!
Another awesome benefit that I love is that Elderberries are good for the skin. The high content of anthocyanins and other flavonoids paired with Vitamin A and C make these babies so good for your complexion!
As I mentioned above, Elderberries contain important minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium which ALL happen to be important in boosting our bone health! Every little bit helps, am I right?
Because Elderberries are jam-packed with Vitamin C, they have been shown to help reduce fevers, inflammation, and reduce the symptoms and duration of colds and flu. They are also considered to be “anti-catarrhal”, meaning they can help relieve a stuffy nose and head congestion.
Lastly, Elderberries are an excellent source of fiber. One cup contains about 10.2g of fiber, which is approximately a third of your daily allowance. We all know how important fiber is to our overall digestive health, weight management, and blood sugar regulation. What a win!
I recently polled my Instagram followers about supplementing with elderberries. This is what few of them had to say about their experience:
“I’m a nurse in the ER and I’m exposed to all kinds of germs and illnesses. I use Elderberry to build my immunity and fight against everything I’m exposed to!”
“I LOVE Elderberry! One night I woke up with a slight scratchy throat. I took Elderberry and the next morning I didn’t have any symptoms. Maybe it’s a fluke but I’m convinced it works!”
“I always used to get sick when traveling on planes. Elderberry has been a fantastic way to keep my immunity strong and keep me feeling well”
“I have benefited from Elderberry and so has the rest of my family. None of us has gotten sick in a very long time!”
Great! Last question, how do I take elderberries?
One of the most popular ways to take Elderberry is a syrup. However, you’ve got plenty of options to fit your needs and lifestyle! I’ve seen Elderberries included in many different products from sprays to lozenges to capsules to lip balm, gummies, and of course Mighty Gum. You’ll also find Elderberry teas, wine, jams, and jellies. I’ve even come across Elderberry ketchup! Whatever form of Elderberry you choose, just be certain to do your research and make sure you are purchasing a high-quality product.
So, have I got you interested in Elderberries yet?
If you feel like you keep getting sick and need a good immunity boost, adding Elderberry to your daily routine might just be a strategy worth trying! Just remember to keep up on all your other immune-strengthening habits - like getting good sleep, reducing your stress, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. I hope you give Elderberries a try…they are sure to please!
Board-Certified Integrative Health Coach