The few days of sunshine we’ve enjoyed in parts of the UK in the past day or two have provided glimmer of hope that warmer weather and longer days are just around the corner. But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. If you’ve managed to escape a cold or flu so far this winter, you are not out of the danger zone just yet!
But don’t fret either. You can fight off those nasty cold and flu symptoms with the immune-boosting powers of black elderberry extract, which has been found to stop cold and flu viruses in their tracks.
From fighting fevers to wound healing
The health-giving properties of black elderberry have been documented as far back as the 5th century and it was favoured by the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates. Back then, these berries were revered as an all-round remedy, due to their blood purifying properties.
Native Americans also used the plant to treat rheumatism and fever. Black elderberry’s ability to reduce fever is due to its diaphoretic (sweat-inducing) properties. And the leaves of the plant were used for pain relief and applied to wounds to promote healing.
As an additional benefit, black elderberry (Sambucus nigra L) has been shown to be effective for both preventing and treating winter infections, with no harmful side-effects.
In an early double-blind clinical study, conducted at the Department of Virology, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, researchers found that a standardised extract of black elderberry is an effective treatment for the flu virus. After just two days, more than 93 per cent of those who took black elderberry showed a significant reduction in symptoms, while almost all (90 per cent) of these participants recovered after just three days.
As a result of these astonishing results, black elderly extract has become the go-to remedy for many people when it comes to protecting against cold and flu viruses. Better still, later studies have found that unlike winter flu vaccines, black elderberry extract’s healing and protective properties are not affected by the genetic variations (responsible for the varying degrees of severity each flu season) that occur between strains.
If you’ve not given black elderberry extract a try yet and you still want to protect yourself against winter infections, it certainly is not too late. It can be taken all year round as a preventative or at the first signs of cold or flu-like symptoms and is available at most alternative health food stores.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Mumcuoglu M et al. Inhibition of Several Strains of Influenza Virus in Vitro and Reduction of Symptoms by an Elderberry Extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an Outbreak of Influenza B Panama. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 1995;4:361-369.
Thom E and Wollan T. Randomised study on the efficacy and safety of an oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections, 2000: submitted for publication to BMJ.
Barak V, Halperin T, Kalickman I. The Effect of Sambucol on the production of human cytokines. Eur. Cytokine Netw., 2001;12:290-6.
Morag et al. Inhibition of Sensitive and Acyclovir-Resistant HSV-1 strains by an Elderberry Extract in Vitro. Xth International Congress of Virology, Abstract 1 8-3 (Jerusalem, 1996).