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woman holding elderberry berries

4 Things You Should Know about the Legendary Elderberry

Elderberries comes from the Sambucus tree, but the most common type of elderberry comes from the Sambucus nigra, also called the European elderberry or black elder.

The Sambucus tree grows to over 25 feet in height and displays clusters of delicate white flowers known as elderflowers. Elderflowers are a popular ingredient in a refreshing, lightly-flavored British beverage similar to soda pop. Elderberries are the tiny dark purple or blue-black berries from the tree. While elderberries have been used for centuries for herbal remedies, their popularity has soared recently due to their abundant supply of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants to help maintain a healthy respiratory system and strong immune function.

4 Things You Should Know about Elderberry

  1. Elderberries offer many vitamins and nutrients including vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, calcium and folate.
  2. Elderberries are a source of fiber which can keep your digestion smooth.
  3. Elderberries have a certain type of flavonoids that provide antioxidants to fight free radicals.
  4. In addition to the berries, the flowers, leaves and bark of the elderberry tree have also been used for medicinal and culinary purposes.

Elderberry Benefits

  • Helps maintain healthy immune system function
  • Comforts upper respiratory system
  • Works to ease duration and severity of short-term respiratory and sinus issues
  • Supports healthy clear sinuses and nasal passages
  • Fosters healthy respiratory system 
  • Has been part of Ayurvedic medicine for overall wellness

Types of Elderberries and Sambucus

As mentioned above, the most commonly used elderberry comes from the Sambucus nigra tree, but there are other varieties including the American elder, dwarf elder, blue elderberry and antelope brush. These other varieties also produce anthocyanin-rich berries. Like other berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries), elderberries are loaded with nutritional compounds.

How to take Elderberry

Elderberries are tart and need to be cooked to be eaten, which is why most elderberry supplements are in the form of elderberry syrups, elderberry tinctures, elderberry gummies, elderberry capsules and elderberry liquid extracts. Elderberries can also be used to make juice, jams, pies and wine.

The most common way to take elderberry is in a syrup which can easily be added to beverages or taken by the spoonful. Elderberry syrup is often combined with other immune-supporting ingredients like zinc or vitamin C to maximize effectiveness.

In recent years elderberry has also been added to skincare lotions and creams to keep complexion clear, fresh and glowing, although more research is needed in this area.

While the dosage of elderberry supplements is evolving, it’s important to always follow the instructions on the packaging.

Where to Buy Elderberry

With the renewed interest in elderberry for immune health, elderberry supplements are widely available, but supplies can run out quickly. Whatever form of elderberry you take, make sure it’s from a reputable retailer with a tradition of quality products.

Typically, elderberry can benefit most people, but always check with your doctor before taking any new supplements. If it’s decided elderberry is right for you, always start with the lowest dose and monitor and report any changes.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary.

elderberry liquid extract laying next to elderberries, defend yourself

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