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The Healing Power Of Elderberry

Written by Dr. Katie Friedman

Photography by Photographed by James Kicinski-McCoy

If you’re researching homeopathic ways to boost your immunity, you’re not alone. With cold, flu, and of course the ominous COVID-19 floating around, folks around the world are searching for ways to ward off virus for both themselves and their kids. One elixir to possibly add to your line-up? Elderberry, a vitamin-C packed, dark blue fruit that has been used for centuries to aid in the fight against various illnesses.

We asked Dr. Katie Friedman to give us insight on one common over-the-counter elixir that can help in keeping the bugs at bay. “As a pediatrician, parents are constantly asking me about home remedies, and ways to treat their child’s symptoms using a more natural approach. Although there is no magic medicine, elderberry is an amazing, all-natural immune booster that can significantly help you and your child overcome the symptoms of the flu.” Find out more about the powerful purple stuff, below.

What is elderberry?
“So, let’s start with the basics. Black elderberry is a dark blue, sometimes purple berry that comes from the native North American and European elderberry shrub. In the Middle Ages, it was considered a ‘holy tree’ due to its ability to improve health and longevity. The berries themselves have been used as a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. They’re full of powerful nutrition and have incredible health benefits. In fact, elderberry contains trace minerals and has more Vitamin C than oranges.”

Elderberries and the flu.
“Elderberries have been shown to help with brain development, immune coordination, digestion, and blood flow. They’re also rich with Anthocyanins. These cytokines have been shown to boost the production of immune cytokines, which allow the body to defend against disease and illness. More than that, though, elderberry contains a potent antiviral agent called antivirin. The antivirin not only helps to prevent viruses from invading the cells, but also prevents the virus from replicating, therefore shortening the time one will suffer from symptoms of the flu.”

How to use elderberry to help protect my family from the flu.
“Many parents struggle with illness when their child first goes to school, and elderberry syrup may help to promote immune coordination and overcome flu season. There are many ways to incorporate this natural supplementation into your child’s diet. For example, Nature’s Way makes an organic elderberry syrup for children. This can be taken similarly to a daily vitamin. However, there are contradictions and limitations to elderberry syrup. Be sure to discuss with your pediatrician whether or not elderberry is appropriate for your child to start taking, and note that children under the age of one should not take this syrup. Be sure your doctor goes over the appropriate dosage for your child, as well. And, if you’re interested in more ways to incorporate elderberry at home, I love this article on how to make pancake and waffle syrup using this immune-boosting fruit.”

In the end, it is important to understand that although elderberry can help to protect and alleviate the symptoms of congestion, cough, and other flu-like conditions, it should never take the place of receiving appropriate medical help. If your child is suffering from the symptoms of the flu, it is important that you have him or her evaluated by their pediatrician.

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