Whether you’re a mother of three or a bachelor in your thirties, chances are you’re looking for health hacks—or, to be more precise, on the hunt for ways to bolster your immunity and short-circuit common ailments.
The current star of the show? Elderberry. Comprised of the dark purple berries of the elderberry shrub, the medicinal plant has been used since the days of Hippocrates. Traditionally known as Sambucus, it’s been praised as everything from “the medicine chest of the common people” to one of the most potent natural remedies on the planet. Here are four benefits of the potent herb—and four creative ways to take it.
1. Soothes sore throats
High in antioxidants—and rich in nutrients such as vitamin C—elderberry syrup can be a boon for a dry, scratchy throat. Further, by reducing mucous secretions, it may also soothe a cough.†
Take it…in your mug of tea: Simply drop a teaspoon or two of elderberry syrup into a steaming cup of your favorite tea. (Try cinnamon vanilla tea for a terrific combination of flavors.)
2. Eases discomforts associated with allergies
Given that allergies are partially due to an overreaction in the immune system, it ought to arrive as no surprise that elderberry syrup can also naturally temper their symptoms. This is due to elderberry’s high level of antioxidants—specifically, flavonoids—which naturally support a healthy inflammatory response. (Indeed, many herbalists assert that elderberry is one of the sagest ways to help manage the symptoms of hay fever.) Elderberry syrup is also credited with organically supporting the upper respiratory tract—a part of the body that’s often impacted by allergies.†
Take it: …in a mocktail. Combine fresh squeezed orange juice with a teaspoon of elderberry syrup. Top with crushed ice and a splash of ginger ale or Pellegrino.
3. Naturally supports digestion
We all know that blueberries can bolster brain health—but who knew that elderberry syrup could naturally promote gut health? A 2017 study out of Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO found that the high-antioxidant flavonoids in elderberries enhances gut microflora. (Translation? Smooth digestion—and the healthy immunity and brighter mood that often arrives with it.) Other research demonstrates that elderberry may foster regularity.†
Take it…in a smoothie. Blend a teaspoon or two of elderberry syrup or elderberry juice with bananas, organic apple juice, ice, plain Greek yogurt—and, yes, those cognitive-boosting blueberries.
4. Protects cells from free radical damage
Due to the fact that elderberry syrup abounds with antioxidants, it’s also acclaimed for its capacity to shield cells from free radical damage—in short, unstable molecules produced by the body in response to environmental stressors such as smoking and pollution. As a result, elderberry syrup may naturally support skin health and blood pressure.†
Take it…in the syrup itself. Vitacost’s rich and flavorful Sambucus Elderberry Ultra-Concentrated Black Elderberry Extract Syrup contains 5,000 mg of elderberry extract per serving—and tastes just like health.
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.