Elderberries, also known as black elders, are dark purple berries gotten from the elder tree. The elder tree grows in Asia, North America, and Europe. More importantly, elderberries are rich sources of antioxidants and vitamins. From time immemorial, the fruit of the elder tree has been used for treating inflammation and other health challenges.
Due to the immense health benefits of elderberries, they are now available as drops and supplements, respectively known as elderberry drops and elderberry supplements. This article details the various uses and benefits of elderberries.
The Health Benefits and Uses of Elderberry
High Nutrient Content
The elderberry and its various derivatives are good sources of vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system. Not only that, but they are also low in calories, making them a suitable fruit to consume if you want to lose weight. A cup of elderberry contains 87 milligrams of vitamin C which translates to 87% of the recommended daily consumption.
Treatment of Cold and Flu
Evidence from various studies shows that elderberries have antioxidant and antiviral effects for combating cold and flu. Therefore, using elderberry supplements is a good way of boosting the immune system.
Good for Heart Health
Using elderberry and its derivatives helps improve a person’s overall heart health. Studies show that elderberry reduces cholesterol and the fat in the blood. It is also known to lower the of uric acid found in the blood. By reducing the quantity of uric acid in the blood, an individual’s risk of experiencing an increase in blood pressure is reduced.
Due to their antioxidant properties, elderberries are also used for treating inflammations. They prevent free radicals from destroying the cells at the DNA level. By protecting the cells, there is a reduction in swelling and inflammation, which ultimately clears the path for total pain relief.
Reducing Acne and Treating Wrinkles
Elderberries are known to contain high quantities of flavonoids and Vitamin A, which are renowned for reducing acne and treating wrinkles, respectively. The berry’s vitamin A content soothes the skin and delays the appearance of wrinkles to slow down the aging process.
Furthermore, the flavonoids in elderberries and the anti-inflammatory properties mentioned earlier help reduce acne by protecting healthy cells from harmful free radicals that cause skin problems.
Controlling Blood Sugar Levels
Elderberry intake is also beneficial to people with diabetes because of its effect on blood sugar balance and glucose metabolism. It increases insulin secretion and inhibits the enzyme alpha-glucosidase. Alpha-glucosidase is the enzyme that breaks down starch into glucose. Once the enzyme is inhibited, glucose is not produced, thus helping to maintain the body’s blood sugar levels.
Consuming tea made from dried elderberry is recommended for treating constipation. This is due to the presence of a compound known as anthraquinone. Anthraquinone has laxative properties and restricts water absorption in the intestines to increase intestinal pressure. The increased intestinal pressure stimulates muscle contraction for bowel movement.
Apart from the health benefits explained so far, elderberry is also used for making food colorings and dye. When mixed with vinegar, elderberries make a fade-proof clothe dye.
Are there any Side Effects of Using Elderberries?
Elderberry is not known to have any fatal side effects. When taken as prescribed, elderberry supplements have no side effects because the berry has been processed to remove poisonous substances. On the other hand, consuming the bark, leaves, or raw fruits could cause stomach upset. Other side effects of taking unprocessed elderberry include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
Overall, the health benefits of elderberries outweigh the side effects of uncontrolled consumption. Since it is now available as a dietary supplement, individuals can easily add elderberry supplements to their daily routine to enjoy the various benefits it has to offer.