Elderberries and Elderflowers Healing Marvels

Whenever I think of elderberries I get the visual of the movie Arsenic and Old Lace.   In the film 2 old ladies serve poison wine to guests. Actually elderberry wine was one of those things that tea totalling old ladies could sip because it was medicinal.

Elderberries truly are good for you. They help improve vision, stimulate your immune system, are diuretic and high in antioxidants.

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Immune System
Elderberries contain anthocyanin which helps support the immune system by increasing the production of cytokines. Cytokines help regulate the immune response. They also contain extremely high levels of vitamin C. Hasassah’s Oncology Lab in Israel is using elderberries to treat cancer and aids.


The antioxidant level in elderberries helps reduce oxidation of LDL. LDL or bad cholesterol is what builds up in your arteries and causes problems. Antioxidants slow down oxidation and therefore the buildup of LDL.

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Colds and Flu
Elderberries have been used for cold and flu for centuries. I guess our ancestors must have been on to something because elderberries have been found to decrease the duration of flu by as much as 4 days.
Studies have shown that elderberry syrup is better at stimulating an immune response than echinacea.

One other benefit of elderberries is that they can help in weight loss by suppressing the appetite.


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Elderflowers are also effective in treating health issues. When I was in Herbal College one of the first things we learned was that peppermint elderflower tea can help prevent colds at onset.

Elderflowers are effective for treating colds, flu, sinus infections and other respiratory ailments. Elderflowers have anti viral and anti bacterial properties. They have even been found to be effective against methicillin-resistant-staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)1.

Some other health benefits of elderflowers are
-Reducing blood glucose levels
-Antiseptic mouthwash and gargle to soothe mucus membranes
-Topical for swelling and pain of joints due to arthritis

All elderberries and other parts are poisonous if not cooked. Sambucus Nigra or Black Elder is the only plant that is not poisonous uncooked. Make sure that you cook the berries and flowers before using.

The berries can be made into wine, tea or even syrup. It takes cooking to really release the healing aspects of the berries.
Elderflowers can be dried and used in teas and cordials.

People on immune suppressing drugs should not use Elderberries or elderflowers.