Flu season is well under way. For those of us who have had the flu, you know it brings nothing but misery. Although the flu shot is a great way to reduce your risk of getting the flu this season, there are also natural remedies you can try. The elderberry plant has been used to ward off the flu for thousands of years. There is even evidence of elderberry based medicines as far back as the Ancient Egyptians. If you are looking for a natural and holistic remedy to ward off the flu this season, look no further than the elderberry.
Health Benefits of the Elderberry
Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine”, described the elderberry as a “medicine chest” because of the variety of ailments that it seemed to cure. The elderberry is rich in flavonoids, or plant based antioxidants. These powerful flavonoids will not only boost your immune system, but also prevent damage to your body’s cells. It can also be used as a natural anti-inflammatory. The elderberry also contains high levels of vitamin A and vitamin C. While not as significant as the other vitamins, the berry also holds good levels of vitamin B6 and potassium. All of this combined makes the elderberry a tiny, but powerful superfood. Although the elderberry is a superfood, eating the berries raw can actually make you sick. In order to access all of its healing properties, you must first dry out the berries. Then you can use the dried berries to make a tea or syrup.
Cold and Flu Prevention
The most common use of elderberry syrup is to prevent and treat colds or the flu. Numerous studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of elderberry syrup. They have all reached the conclusion that patients who used elderberry syrup recovered nearly twice and fast as those who did not use elderberry syrup. Not only does the syrup shorten the time of your illness, but it lessens the severity of the symptoms. The elderberry is known as a “anti-catarrhal” herb. This means that it prevents mucus formation and inflammation in the sinuses. Adults can take 1 tablespoon of elderberry syrup 2-3 times a day to prevent colds and the flu. However if you have already contracted a cold or the flu, take 2 tablespoons of syrup 2-3 times a day until the symptoms are gone.
Not only does elderberry syrup treat colds and the flu, but it can also be used for quick allergy relief. The anti-catarrhal herb reduces the inflammation in your sinuses. It will also reduce the sneezing, itch and watery eyes, runny nose, and sore throats that are associated with allergies. It has been found to be highly effective during hay-fever season because it can strengthen your upper respiratory tract.
Another health benefit of the elderberry is its ability to aid in digestive health. These berries are very high in fiber. The high fiber content will relieve constipation and reduce gas. Another benefit of eating high fiber foods is that it increases the efficiency that your stomach absorbs nutrients. This will help you gain more healthy benefits from the foods you are already eating.
It is easy to see why so many people look to the elderberry during cold and flu season. Adding just a tablespoon of elderberry syrup to your daily routine can prevent you from getting sick, help relieve painful sinus problems, and increase your digestive health. You can find dried elderberries at most food and drug stores or online retailers such as Amazon.com. Using this powerful little superfood can make this winter season your healthiest yet!