Love using herbal remedies to tackle common health conditions? You’re not alone. A good number of people today are turning to using natural and herbal extracts for the treatment of health conditions. If you’re one of those, here’s a little something to help. One of the most effective weapons you can add to your herbal arsenal is elderberry extract. Whether it is seasonal flu or an influenza strain that is becoming pandemic, elderberry extract can work wonders.
Unlike the flu shot, concentrated extract of elderberry can actually be effective, and it is one of the most well known natural remedies that has been listed down in medical journals too.
According to PubMed:
Sambucus nigra L. products – Sambucol– are based on a standardized black elderberry extract. They are natural remedies with antiviral properties, especially against different strains of influenza virus. Sambucol was shown to be effective in vitro against 10 strains of influenza virus. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, Sambucol reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days.
It has also been listed down in the Journal of International Medical Research that its extracts are a proven treatment.
Elderberry has been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat influenza, colds and sinusitis, and has been reported to have antiviral activity against influenza and herpes simplex. We investigated the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry syrup for treating influenza A and B infections. Sixty patients (aged 18 – 54 years) suffering from influenza-like symptoms for 48 h or less were enrolled in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study during the influenza season of 1999 – 2000 in Norway. Patients received 15 ml of elderberry or placebo syrup four times a day for 5 days, and recorded their symptoms using a visual analogue scale. Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza.
An Ancient Cure
Elderberry’s medicinal uses aren’t just found recently. They have also been mentioned in ancient texts and its extracts have been used as a treatment for centuries now. Infact, in 400 BC, Hippocrates referred to it as his medicine chest because of its many uses.
The Science Behind
Scientists have isolated the active compound in the elderberry plant- it is also known as Antivirin and is present in the proteins of the plant. This compound is known to possess antiviral properties and can help prevent the spread of the flu virus.
A study has now revealed that these active components can also help stimulate the immune system and increase the production of inflammatory cytokines.
The elderberry extracts can be exceptionally helpful for conditions such as the avian flu, which is known to have a mortality rate of 60%. While avian flu isn’t transmissible between humans, there is a fear that a mutation may cause the virus to change and become deadly pandemic.
A new study conducted in 1995 also found it to be effective against the flu, especially against the Panama B strain.
Sambucol is a black elderberry based natural product that has been found effective in reducing the symptoms of flu and also the duration of the same. The product has been tested on both the strains of influenza and in a study where the subjects took Sambucol instead of placebo were found to need a lot lesser amount of OTC medications to relieve symptoms of flu such as aches, fever and congestion.
The findings of this study have now been published in a medical journal as well, and it took into consideration 60 patients suffering from flu symptoms. The patients who took Sambucol were found to have many major improvements in their symptoms with just three days of use, and almost 90% of the patients who took it were able to completely recover within the short time frame. What’s more, they didn’t display any symptoms or downsides of its use, which is in contrast to the use of other medications, which often lead to drowsiness.
Using Elderberry Extract
There are several different ways to use this liquid. First, it can be consumed right out of the spoon or can be mixed with honey and hot water. Sometimes, it can also be mixed with sparkling water and served with ice water as a refreshing beverage.
Make sure you store it in a cool and dry place. Keeping it in the refrigerator can work as well. While other medications always have some side effects associated with their use, elderberry extract doesn’t have any. There is more research on the way to check for the use of Sambucol for the treatment of allergies, inflammatory diseases and even major conditions such as cancer and HIV.