Elderberries are small, dark berries that grow on the elder tree. Also known as sambucus, they have been used in natural medicinal treatments for many years. The “elder wand” in the Harry Potter fiction series was made of sambucus and was considered to be the most powerful wand ever made.
Here are 11 health benefits of elderberries:
High in Antioxidants
Studies show that elderberries have significant levels of antioxidants, which help to fight against free radicals in the body. Lower levels of free radicals are associated with lower rates of cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Immune System Booster
A great source vitamin C, elderberries provide a significant boost to the immune system. One study in Israel found the immune system benefits of elderberries to be so effective that they began treating cancer and AIDS patients with the berry.
Besides the obvious benefits of a strong immune system, antioxidants have proven essential in promoting cellular health. Research shows that the anthocyanins in elderberries (flavonoids that give foods a red, blue, or purple color) may have potent anti-cancer properties.
Along with its immune system benefits and contribution to good circulation, the overall health benefits of elderberry may lead to improved energy levels.
Antioxidants are believed to help reduce the effects of aging. Flavonoids and anthocyanins protect the cells within the body and can reduce cell degeneration, keeping the body healthy and youthful.
Eating foods high in antioxidants and other nutrients may also help to prevent eye diseases such as macular degeneration.
Antioxidants have been found to decrease the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Research has found that the antioxidant activity in elderberry may help to lower bad (“LDL”) cholesterol levels and maintain good (“HDL”) cholesterol levels.
Elderberries are high in fiber, which helps to keep waste moving through the colon and may help to prevent serious conditions such as colon cancer. In addition, elderberries have natural diuretic properties and act as a mild laxative.
Thanks to their low calorie count and high fiber content, elderberries may help a person maintain a healthy weight when eaten as a substitute for calorie-laden snacks.
Research suggests that elderberries may prevent bacterial and viral infections (such as yeast infections and influenza) by actually preventing bacteria and viruses from connecting to cells throughout the body. If a person already has a virus or bacterial infection, elderberries may help to alleviate the symptoms.
Several studies have found that anthocyanins are effective in preventing and treating chronic inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and many other diseases.