Elderberry compounds could help minimize flu symptoms, study suggests

Elderberry’s use in folk medicine has been well-documented. In the Middle Ages, elderberry was considered a Holy Tree, capable of restoring good health, keeping good health, and as an aid to longevity.  Hippocrates referred to elderberry as “nature’s medicine chest.”  

Elderberries have twice the Vitamin C of oranges and 3 times the antioxidants of blueberries. They’re a great source of antioxidants such as polyphenols and bioflavonoids. Use of the elderberry in folk medicine for boosting immune system and treating flu-like symptoms is common and widespread in Europe and Asia.  The herbal medicine seems to finally find backups from modern science. 

A study by a group of researchers from the University of Sydney has determined exactly how the elderberry fruit helps the fight against influenza.  Specifically, the study showed that compounds from elderberries can directly inhibit the virus’s entry and replication in human cells and can help strengthen a person’s immune response to the virus.

Although elderberry’s flu-fighting properties have long been observed, the group performed a comprehensive examination of the mechanism by which phytochemicals from elderberries combat influenza infections.  The study showed that the common elderberry has a potent direct antiviral effect against the flu virus.  It inhibits the early stages of an infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for both the viral attachment and entry into the host cells.  

In the experiment, the researchers applied elderberries extract to cells before, during and after they had been infected with the influenza virus. The bioactives from the elderberry were shown to be effective at stopping the virus infecting the cells.  The researchers further discovered that these bioactives were even more effective at inhibiting viral propagation at later stages of the influenza cycle when the cells had already been infected with the virus.

The researchers identified that bioactives from elderberry, specifically anthocyanidins responsible for giving the fruit its purple coloring, stimulated the cells to release certain cytokines, which are chemical messengers that the immune system uses for communication between different cell types to coordinate a more efficient response against the invading pathogen. 

In a nutshell, elderberry bioactives promote immune response, protect body against flu virus infection and stops the flu in its track by stopping viral propagation.

For an easy, convenient and delicious way of boosting your immune system with elderberry, check out Immunity Shots multivitamin gummies.  One gummy packs 5g worth of elderberry and a bunch of immune boosting vitamins including an abundance of Vitamin C and Zn.  One shots a day, keeps doctors away.

Thanks for reading.

Journal Reference: Golnoosh Torabian, Peter Valtchev, Qayyum Adil, Fariba Dehghani. Anti-influenza activity of elderberry (Sambucus nigra)Journal of Functional Foods, 2019; 54: 353 DOI: 10.1016/j.jff.2019.01.031