Have you heard about the elderberry extract? Or even the elderberry for that matter? The elderberry (Sambucus) is a genus of plants from the Adoxaceae family. The fruits (berries) are incredibly rich in essential vitamins and minerals, and have been used in folk medicine for centuries, mainly against flu, colds, constipation, injury recovery and rheumatism. According to recent studies, the elderberry extract may truly well be the most powerful natural weapon against flu.
No matter if it’s the seasonal strain or a potential pandemic, the extract is a great supplement that will keep you away from the influenza virus. Unlike the controversial flu shot, concentrated elderberry extract has been proven as highly effective against the virus, and is one of the natural remedies that has had its fair share of studies.
For example, one PubMed study showed that Sambucol (Sambucus nigra L. products) has powerful antiviral properties and can defeat about 10 influenza strains. The patients involved in the study were feeling much better after only 3-4 days of taking the supplement.
Other studies have concluded that people in the past weren’t wrong about using the elderberry against viruses such as the flu. One Norwegian study during the 99-00’ influenza season recorded the symptoms of flu patients which were given 15 ml. elderberry syrup 4 times a day for a period of 5 days. The results showed significant improvement of symptoms, and the extract worked far better than any placebo or medication.
An ancient cure
As we already mentioned, elderberry was used for millennia. Black elderberries were praised as “medicine chest” by the great Hippocrates around 400 BC, and even Pliny The Elder mentioned their use against the flu when recording the ancient Roman practices.
How does it work?
Knowing all about its extensive use in folk medicine, science has studied the elderberry for a long time. Recently, scientists have managed to isolate an active compound in the berry called antivirin which can stop the spread of viruses. On the other hand, other studies have shown that a combination of active compounds in Sambucol can boost the production of cytokines in that way reinforcing the immune system.
Elderberry extract vs. Avian flu
According to the CDC, the Avian flu has a 60% mortality rate, and is easily transmissible between humans. A mutation of the virus can easily change these numbers, which could spell a new pandemic. Since the first avian flu outbreak, scientists have been concerned that mutations can make the virus stronger and more easily transmissible between humans.
Similar events have probably preceded the influenza pandemics of 1957 and 1968. Many studies have shown that the H5N1 virus has evolved a lot since 1997, which is responsible for the higher mortality rate. Luckily, according to a 1995 study, black elderberry extract can defeat this deadly type of flu as well.
In the study, the extract was able to prevent the replication of several influenza strains and reduce hemagglutination as well. A double-blind placebo study was done on people living in an agricultural community in Panama in 1993, with their symptoms being closely recorded for 6 days while they were given elderberry extract.
93.3% of the participants experienced significant improvement of the symptoms, and were almost completely cured over 3 days. Considering the absence of side-effects, the availability of the berry and its low cost, the extract should be considered a potential cure for the flu.
Sambucol has shown it can treat the symptoms of the flu and reduce the duration of the infection in patients. It has been extensively tested on influenza type A and B, with one study showing that taking Sambucol over a placebo pill can relieve aches, congestion and fever.
The study involved 60 patients who have reported flu-like symptoms in the past 48 hours. 90% of them were infected with influenza type A, while the remaining were infected with influenza type B. One group was given 15 ml. Sambucol, while the other was given a placebo. The Sambucol group patients experienced significant improvements, and were completely cured after 2-3 days, which shows how powerful the extract really is.
How to take the extract?
Sambucol is a highly concentrated form of black elderberry extract and the only one which was extensively studied. You can take it right out of the spoon, or add a bit of it in sparkling water, or tea. It should be stored in a dark and cold place like the fridge. Unlike conventional medications (Tamiflu), Sambucol has no side-effects at all and works just as good, if not better than pills.