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Therapeutic Uses, Benefits and Claims of Elderberry

The flowers contain essential oil, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin), quercetin glycosides (rutin, hyperoside, isoquercitrin), triterpenes, sterols, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, tannins, pectin, sugars, and mucus.

The fruits contain the glycosides, rutin, isoquercitrin and hyperosid.

They also contain the anthocyanin glycosides sambucyanin and chrysanthemin, tannins, traces of essential oil, fruit acids (citric, malic and tartaric acid), sugars, carotenoid and vitamin C.

The leaves contain triterpenes (similar to those found in the flowers), cyanogenic glycosides including sambunigrin, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin), quercetin glycosides (rutin, hyperoside, isoquercitrin), fatty acids, alkanes and tannins.

There is an abundance of remedies associated with elder and few other plants have been so highly valued for its medicinal properties.

Elderberry was used by Native Americans to treat an infection.

The flowers have expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties and are often used to treat ailments related to the respiratory system.

The flowers are therefore used as a remedy for bronchitis, asthma, sore throat and allergies.

Traditionally they have also been used as a treatment for catarrh, tonsillitis and ear infections.

Elderberry has been reported to have beneficial effects when used with antibiotics to treat sinus infections.

The elder flowers are classically used for colds flu, and to reduce fever as they contain strong diaphoretic and cooling activity.

In 1992 a team of Israeli researchers at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem created a standardized elderberry extract which contained three flavonoids.

Laboratory tests showed that this extract appeared to work on the most common strains of the influenza virus. The extract appears to work by inhibiting the virus’s ability to enter the cells, thus restricting the viral infection and cause an improvement in symptoms of flue.

As a remedy for the common cold and sore throat the elderberry flowers are often combined with  yarrow (Achillea millefolium), peppermint (Mentha x piperita pipe) and  hyssop(Hyssopus officinalis).

The elder flowers are thought to strengthen kidney function and have diuretic effect and are therefore used for kidney stones, rheumatism, arthritis and gout.

Many people suffering from rheumatic condition appreciate elderberry because it supposedly reduces pain.

This herb is an effective detoxifier and is believed to help clear infections such as  acne boils, conjunctivitis  and skin rashes.

Elderberries are employed in lotions as a general astringent for the skin.

It is used as an herbal remedy for constipation. Elderberry is also commonly used in Europe as a mild laxative and diuretic, suggesting that elderberries may also benefit kidney health.

For  high cholesterol sufferers, an early study reports that elderberry juice may decrease serum cholesterol concentrations and increase low-density lipoprotein also known as “bad cholesterol”.

Anti aging properties may be in elderberries.

Recent research has revealed that elderberry contains four anthocyanins that work to protect endothelial cells, which line artery walls, from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

It is used as an herbal remedy to boost the immune system. Black elderberries encourage a healthy immune reaction against undesired organisms that induce flu-like symptoms.

Black elderberries antioxidant and immune enhancing properties may have a beneficial effect on the body’s normal response to influenza viruses A and B. The berries like most berries from other plants are loaded with antioxidant flavonoids.

Elderberries contain anthocyanin flavonoids which are particularly noted for their free radical quenching activity throughout the cardiovascular system.