Elderberry is a therapeutic plant that people use in herbal medicine. It is believed to have a variety of uses and health benefits, and scientists have conducted studies with elderberry to determine its effectiveness. The results have been promising, showing that elderberry is helpful for everything from the flu to cognitive decline. This plant also has powerful antioxidant properties, making it beneficial for general health and wellness.
The Antioxidant Effects of Elderberry
Elderberry has demonstrated significant antioxidant potential, which contributes to its beneficial effects on human health. In 2010, researchers from Turkey, The Ohio State University Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and South Dakota State University collaborated to evaluate the antioxidant content of different elderberry plants. The results of their work, which were published in Pharmacognosy Magazine, showed that elderberry had an antioxidant and nutrient profile similar to that of black raspberries and blackberries . Elderberry can help deliver a powerful dose of antioxidants to the body.
Elderberry and the Immune System
Elderberry has a strong antioxidant effect, and the research with it also suggests that it can boost the immune system. A 2012 study in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, titled “Anti-Influenza Virus Effects of Elderberry Juice and Its Fractions,” assessed the impact of elderberry juice on mice afflicted with the flu virus. The study results demonstrated that the elderberry juice, when administered orally, prevented the flu virus from replicating, and the authors of the study concluded that elderberry juice stimulates the immune system . Elderberry could, therefore, be helpful for treating and preventing viral illnesses such as the flu.
Elderberry for Common Cold
Elderberry has shown itself effective in cases of the flu, but this isn’t the only condition for which it is useful. According to a 2016 study in the journal Nutrients, elderberry can fight against the common cold. Researchers from Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology in Australia conducted the study, and they discovered that air travelers who took elderberry extract experienced fewer days with colds, and their cold symptoms were less severe when compared to people who took a placebo . Taking an elderberry supplement could make common cold symptoms milder and help the illness to run its course more quickly.
Elderberry Linked to Cell Functioning
The medicinal properties of elderberry also make it helpful for maintaining cell functioning, according to the research. In a 2000 study in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, researchers from Tufts University assessed the impact of elderberry extracts on endothelial cells, which line the blood vessels in the body. They determined that the elderberry extracts protected the endothelial cells from a type of damage called oxidative stress and concluded that elderberry could maintain the functioning of the endothelial cells and protect the body from vascular diseases . Elderberry supplementation is likely to promote healthy blood vessels, according to the work of these researchers.
Elderberry and Cognition
Beyond its other benefits, elderberry can improve cognition and enhance performance on mentally-challenging tasks. As previously discussed, elderberry has a high antioxidant content, and a study in a 2017 edition of the medical journal PLOS ONE found that middle-aged and older adults demonstrated better performance on a test of working memory after consuming an antioxidant-rich berry beverage compared to when they drank a water that did not contain any antioxidants. The authors of the study, who were from Lund University in Sweden, concluded that antioxidant-rich berries could be useful for preventing cognitive decline . Because elderberry is rich in antioxidants, it could improve mental performance, much like it did for participants in this study.
Elderberry Implicated in Diabetes Prevention
Elderberry seems to play a role in preventing cognitive decline, and it can also help provide protection against diabetes. Researchers from the University of Oslo in Norway conducted a study with elderberry for publication in a 2017 edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. They found that extracts and antioxidants from elderberry increased the amount of sugar that skeletal muscle cells absorbed. These researchers concluded that elderberry has antidiabetic properties and therefore is nutritionally helpful .
Elderberry could help cells to effectively uptake glucose, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes, but this is not the only benefit of this medicinal plant. As the research indicates, elderberry helps boost the immune system and can help fight against cold and flu viruses. It also promotes healthy blood cells and improves cognition. Several studies with elderberry have noted its antioxidant effects, and the research has shown that this plant has a high antioxidant content, which likely contributes to its numerous health benefits. Those who wish to partake in the positive effects of elderberry can find it available as a capsule, a syrup, or a liquid spray; it also comes in the form of a gummy for children. The antioxidant content makes elderberry attractive, and because it can treat the cold and flu and promote healthy cell functioning, it can play an important role in maintaining general health and wellness.