As cold and flu season ramps up, many people are searching for ways to arm their immune systems against infection. In recent years, elderberry syrup has surged in popularity as a natural remedy claimed to prevent and reduce bacterial and viral illnesses. Touted as a folk cure for centuries across North America and Europe, elderberry is now backed by a growing body of scientific research confirming its medicinal benefits.
Studies have shown that elderberries contain powerful antioxidant flavonoids called anthocyanins along with other anti-inflammatory and antiviral plant compounds. Consuming elderberry extract may help tame inflammation and fevers during infection while also shortening the duration of flu by nearly 50% according to some research. Unlike many medications, properly prepared elderberry syrup is also extremely safe for both children and adults when used for short periods.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the evidence behind using elderberry syrup to bolster immune defense. You’ll learn exactly how scientists believe elderberry works to fight viral and bacterial invaders. We provide tips for identifying high quality store-bought elderberry products as well as a simple at-home elderberry syrup recipe requiring just six everyday ingredients.
Equipped with this symbiotic immune boosting tonic and knowledge, you may be able reduce sick days and keep your family thriving even when viruses are circulating this season. Read on to learn the basics of elderberry syrup including its stellar safety profile, optimum dosage for different age groups, and exactly how making your own can yield powerful payoff for immune resilience all winter long.
The Benefits Of Elderberry Syrup
There is growing evidence to support using elderberry syrup to boost immune function, particularly against viral infections. Multiple studies have shown elderberry extracts can directly inhibit influenza virus replication in the lab. Researchers believe the anthocyanin flavonoids bind to and coat viral spikes, preventing cell penetration and stopping the bug in its tracks.
Further research found that patients recovering from influenza who took 15mL of elderberry syrup 4 times a day saw relief of fever, headaches and congestion in just 2-4 days versus 7 days in the control group. Additional studies indicate elderberry’s compounds help coordinate systemic immune response by enhancing cytokine proteins that rally the body’s infection-fighting troops.
In one study, only 24% of air travelers who took elderberry extract reported developing cold symptoms after flying versus 45% of those taking placebo – evidence of improved viral resistance. While larger scale clinical trials are still needed, this preliminary research is promising.
It suggests that compounds in prepared elderberry syrup may stimulate immune mechanisms that cut recovery time and intensity of illnesses like influenza up to 50%. By reducing associated inflammation, elderberry could help take the sting out of both viral and some bacterial infections.
More research is accumulating, but in the meantime elderberry remains among the most popular natural supplements for tempering yearly bouts with cold and flu.
3/4 cup dried elderberries
3 cups water
1 teaspoon dried cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon dried cloves or 4 whole cloves or 1 drop clove essential oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon dried ginger or 1 drop ginger essential oil
1 cup raw honey
- In a large pot, bring the elderberries, water, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to a boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 40-45 minutes.
- Allow the liquid to cool, and then drain the liquid using a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth.
- Press all liquid out of the berries using the back of a wooden spoon.
- Add the raw honey and mix well.
- Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to two months.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Category: natural medicine
So, as we head into another flu season, elderberry syrup stands out as a promising natural remedy to help keep your immune system resilient. While research continues to uncover the exact mechanisms, scientists believe elderberry’s flavonoids wield anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral effects which bolster the body’s infection-fighting capacity. Multiple studies have already demonstrated elderberry’s ability to reduce symptoms and shorten illness duration – lending credence to centuries of traditional use.
Of course, good hygiene, proper rest, nutrition and stress relief also remain key to staying healthy. Elderberry syrup alone cannot prevent all illness. However, when prepared properly and taken at appropriate doses, elderberry could provide that extra immune edge many are seeking.
The rich concentration of compounds like anthocyanins make elderberries more potent than similar “superfoods” like blueberries or blackberries too. Yet they carry minimal risk of side effects when used short term.
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