Ingredient Monday: Elderberry
Botanical name: Sambucus L.
It's August and it is elderberry harvest season which generally occurs from mid-August to mid-September. The clusters of berries ripen over a period of between five to 15 days.
Elderberry, or Sambucus L. (elderberry), belongs to the Adoxaceae family, which has berry fruit consisting of many species and subspecies. The most frequently occurring species is Sambucus nigra L. and is commonly known as elder, elderberry, black elder, European elder, European elderberry, or European black elderberry. It is native to North America, while the European black elderberry (also known as Sambucus nigra) naturally occurs in most of Europe. According to folk medicine, elderberries are considered one of the world’s most healing plants. Sambucus is now found in many parts of the world and can be grown on a wide variety of soils.
What are Elderberry's Properties?
The berries and flowers of elderberries contain antioxidants and vitamins that support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and can manage stress. Studies also show that elderberries can help prevent and ease cold and flu symptoms. It is known to treat constipation, joint and muscle pain, infections that affect breathing, headaches, minor skin conditions, stress, and even HIV and AIDS. Recently it has been promoted for its benefits in the fight against COVID-19. It is known that elderberry can regulate defense mechanisms and the extract of elderberry can stimulate the production of proinflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
The elderberry plant is a good source of protein, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Additionally, it contains high biological activity components: primarily polyphenols, flavonols, phenolic acids, and proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins give the fruit its characteristic dark purple color (Anton et al., 2013). Elderberry’s medicinal properties are due to polyphenols, with potential antioxidant properties. The predominant flavanols are quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin. Lipids in elderberry fruits are located primarily in the seeds. The flowers of elderberry contained tenfold more flavanols than fruits.
Studies support the beneficial effect of the consumption of elderberry preparations. Their antioxidant and protective potential have been recognized for healing respiratory ailments, colds, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity. Elderberries can help support our immune system with their antiviral and antibacterial activity and can offer protection against UV radiation. It’s very easy to consume elderberries - they can be made into jellies, syrups! (Do not consume raw, because elderberries may be toxic when uncooked).
It’s clear to see why elderberry has been used medicinally for centuries to fight infections, clear up complexions and boost immunity!
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Check out these Surrasa products that contain elderberry below.