Soon, the coughs, sniffles and sneezes will be flying and drugstores will be well-stocked with the usual cold and flu remedies. If you tend to gravitate toward natural treatment options, you’ve probably seen elderberry products on the shelves season after season. From cough syrup to lozenges, gummies to immunity juice shots, this rich source of antioxidants is considered by some to be a Holy Grail solution for treating colds and the flu. But elderberries didn’t become popular overnight. Elderberry extract has been used medicinally for centuries to fight infections, clear up complexions and boost immunity. Keep reading to find out why elderberry products have become so popular and if they really live up to the hype.
Elderberries come from a tree variety known as Sambucus. The European elder, also known as Sambucus nigra or black elder, is the most common tree from this family. The berries and flowers of these trees are edible, however, elderberries have to be cooked before they’re consumed. In their uncooked state, elderberries are toxic and can cause diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.
In addition to treating colds and the flu, people have turned to elderberry supplements to treat:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Hay fever.
- High cholesterol.
- Sinus infections.
- Upper respiratory infections.