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One of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world is Elderberry. Native Americans have been using Elderberry since time immemorial. But there is little scientific research to validate the benefits and side effects of consuming Elderberry. There are a lot of health benefits of elderberry you need to know.
Elderberry belongs to the family of Adoxaceae and the genus called Sambucus. It grows best in the sub-tropical and temperate regions in the world. Elderberry is usually purple and blue in color. It is produced in clusters along with the flowers of the Sambucus tree.
Health Benefits of Elderberry:
- One of the most common usages of consumption of elderberry is to fight flu and cough. Studies show that when if elderberry is consumed on a regular basis, the levels on antioxidant in the body goes up. This helps in fighting the virus responsible for the flu and the common cold. So it is a great source of providing the necessary antioxidants to the boost your immunity.
- Elderberry is very rich in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is one of the miracle ingredients required for having flawless skin. Therefore, regular consumption of Elderberry resulted in fewer wrinkles and lighter complexion. Vitamin A also protects the skin against common skin ailments.
- Elderberry is also useful in the treatment of acne. It is rich in flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is helpful in fighting acne. You can also apply elderberry paste to the affected area for instant relief.
- Elderberry is extremely rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for building immunity in the body. Elderberry provides for 60% of the daily intake of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is also helpful in lowering blood pressure.
- Elderberry is rich in fiber. Fiber is an integral component of any weight loss plan. Elderberry accounts for over a quarter of the recommended daily intake of fiber in the body. Therefore, consumption of elderberry on a regular basis will ensure that your fiber intake adequate.
- Elderberry contains anthocyanins. The anthocyanins impart the rich dark brown color to the berries. Anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory properties and are helpful to fight off any infection in the body.
- Certain studies have also found that elderberry has cancer-fighting properties. Therefore, regular consumption of elderberry can definitely lower the risk of cancer.
- Consumption of elderberry can inhibit the growth of bacteria like Helicobacter pylori. This bacteria is usually responsible for sinusitis and bronchitis. Therefore, consumption of elderberry on a regular basis can be helpful in providing relief from these conditions.
- Elderberry is also a rich source of phenolic acid. Phenolic acid helps to combat the oxidative stress in the body.
- Regular consumption of elderberry can also provide relief from pain and irritation that one experiences during a urinary tract infection. Elderberry also causes the kidneys to flush out the toxins regularly, thereby preventing any incidence of cystitis.
- Elderberry can also promote good gut health. Since elderberry is rich in fiber, it makes sure that the digestive tract gets rid of the waste material and toxins in an effective manner.
- Elderberry is also helpful in providing instant relief from any allergies. It is effective in clearing any congestion in the chest which is caused during a respiratory tract infection.
Side effects of Elderberry:
One must remember that every coin has two sides. So now let us take a look at the side effects associated with the consumption of elderberry.
- Elderberry contains cyanogenic glycosides in small amounts. This compound is responsible for the release of cyanide in some circumstances. Cyanide is a highly toxic substance. Therefore, if too much elderberry is consumed, it can fill your body with toxins.
- If uncooked berries are consumed in large amounts, it can lead to diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting as well. So always make sure that you are consuming elderberry in a cooked form.
- Unripe berries also contain a compound called lectin. If unripe berries are consumed in large quantities, it can lead to stomach problems.
- Make sure that you consume only berries which are purple and blue in color. Red berries are toxic and should not be consumed.
- Elderberry is a diuretic. Consumption of large quantities of these berries can lead to frequent urination. It can also have an adverse effect on your kidneys.
- If you consume supplements like melatonin for better sleep, make sure that you consume elderberry in smaller quantities. Otherwise, there is a risk of suffering from a low blood sugar level. This condition is known as hypoglycemia.
- Studies also suggest that elderberry can cause birth defects and premature labor. If you are pregnant, it is best to stay away from elderberry. If you still want to consume elderberry, make sure that you do so in consultation with your doctor.
- Some people have also reported seizures and dizziness after consuming elderberry. If you have a history of suffering from seizures etc., it is best to stay away from elderberry.
- If you are suffering from any auto-immune disorder, consumption of elderberry can worsen the symptoms. So it is advisable to stay away from elderberry in such cases.
- In the event you have had an organ transplant, elderberry can react in your body. Please consult a doctor before you consume elderberry.
- Elderberry can react with certain chemotherapy drugs. If you are undergoing chemotherapy, consume elderberry only once you have consulted with your doctor.
- Elderberry may counteract the effectiveness of medicines taken for asthma. If you are on medication for asthma and want to consume elderberry, make sure that you check with your doctor once.
How to consume Elderberry?
- One of the easiest ways to consume elderberry is to make elderberry jelly a part of your breakfast. You can purchase elderberry jelly from the supermarkets. This is a fuss-free way of incorporating elderberry in your daily diet.
- You can pick up elderberry syrup from your chemist. Consuming a spoonful of elderberry syrup will ensure that you reap the benefits. However, don’t consume the syrup in excess as that can lead to harmful side effects.
- If you are struggling to get your kids to consume elderberry, pick up a bottle of elderberry gummies. These are also easily available in any supermarket and a big hit with the kids!
- Another way of consuming elderberry is to add it to your favorite baked goodies. Elderberry imparts its own unique flavor to cakes. You can also add dried elderberry to your cookie dough for elderberry cookies.
- You can pick up tea bags which are elderberry flavored or contain the dried petals of elderflower. It is an easy way to load up the antioxidants in your body.
- Make it a practice to add dried elderberry to your morning oatmeal. It will give the extra zing that your breakfast needs.
- You can also consume elderberry in the form of health supplements. These are easily available at the chemist. But make sure that you consult your physician before you start consuming supplements
So overall, the health benefits of elderberry do outweigh the various side effects. One must be cautious while consuming elderberry as it may cause other diseases in your body. Please be cautious about the manner in which elderberry is consumed. Though raw elderberry is easily accessible, it is advisable to consume it in the cooked form. So go ahead and enjoy your elderberry!