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  • Writer's pictureCoach Patty, HealthSmart! Kids

Using Elderberry to Beat Colds and Flu in Kids and Families

A little girl coughing and holding her stuffed teddy bear

It looks like cold and flu season is coming early this year. Along with the other viruses going around, it's a good idea to think about doing what we can to ward off colds and flu, and to generally support our immune systems in healthy, effective ways.

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One of the readily available and super effective over-the-counter treatments for boosting immunity is elderberry.

Elderberry is a natural, potent antiviral agent that is most commonly used to treat colds and flu. Studies have shown that elderberry contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that work to treat viral and bacterial infections, as well as other medical conditions.

Getting Familiar with Elderberry

Elderberry (Sambucus) is not a's been used for centuries because of its well-known medicinal benefits.

Elderberry is the fruit produced from the flowering plant known as elderflower (Sambucus nigra). Sambucus nigra is the non-toxic, edible berry among other toxic berries in the genus Sambucus.

The elderberry fruit plant grows primarily in the regions of North American and Europe. These tiny dark bluish-purple berries are frequently used in sweet syrups, jams, drinks, and desserts.

Over recent years, elderberry juice has gained increased popularly as more of its health benefits have been discovered.

Fresh elderberries with leaves

This powerful fruit is high in vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber, and contains high levels of antioxidants to help boost the immune system. Elderberry contains bioflavonoids that have the ability to interfere with the cold or flu virus entering the cell, and can also treat bacterial infections.

Elderberry can also help with allergies, weight loss, lowering blood pressure, and autoimmune conditions. Elderberry has also been studied for its effectiveness in improving cardiovascular health, cholesterol levels, digestive health, diabetes, vision, and bone health.

Elderberry is most frequently used in the form of Sambucol, a patented herbal medicine used as an over-the-counter antiviral treatment. The sweet, tasty syrup formulation can effectively prevent and reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms.

There is a substance in elderberry called Sambucus nigra agglutinins (SNAs) that locks the receptor sites on flu viruses. This action keeps the viruses from infecting human cells. Compounds in elderberry can protect the cells against at least 8 strains of the flu virus.

Elderberry Effectiveness for Colds and Flu

Elderberry can help to effectively relieve cough, nasal congestion, and sore throat. It aids in less mucus, and reducing fever.

People who have taken elderberry when they had the flu reported having less severe symptoms and feeling better much faster than those who did not take elderberry.

Research has shown that elderberry can cure ninety percent of flu infections within the first seventy-two hours of use. As a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, elderberry is considered to be one of the more effective herbs utilized to prevent and treat upper respiratory infections.

Homemade elderberry syrup on a spoon

Elderberry is now readily available in liquid, capsules, chewable, and gummies for both children and adults. Given elderberry’s effectiveness in treating colds and flu and other conditions, along with its usage safety, you may want to consider keeping it in your medicine cupboard.

Talk with your doctor about any existing medical conditions you may have, and see if elderberry is right for you and your family.

Did you know? What we eat plays a big role in keeping us healthy. Sometimes kids are picky eaters and this can make things a bit challenging. Check out this blog post: 10 Steps Toward Healthier Eating Habits for Kids for some ideas to help with your picky eater.

A young girl eating a bowl of soup

All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.

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