The Mighty Elderberry
I am sure that most of you have heard that elderberries are top notch at beefing up your immune system. This mighty berry, known also as Sambucus or Elder, isn’t a new discovery. It has a very long and rich history in the medicinal world. The Elderberry is dark purple and comes from the European or black elder tree. You will find it growing in the warm parts of Europe, North American, Asia, and Northern Africa. This plant is grown either as a deciduous shrub or a small tree. At Cup of Tea we have one wellness tea and three herbal teas that have elderberries as one of the ingredients. Yep, we think Elderberries are awesome, so come along with us as we dive deep into the world of this berry!
Elderberries have been used as immune supporters for centuries. Hippocrates the “father of medicine” described the elderberry as a “medicine chest” that could treat a variety of illnesses. The Roman emperor Charlemagne declared that elder trees were to be planted throughout his realm as if to create a readily available pharmaceutical cabinet. Indigenous North Americans were known to leave offerings for the plant when picking part of it for their own use. There’s a massive amount of history surrounding the elder tree. The berries and flowers are packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Tests on the berry show high levels of polyphenols that increase white blood cells. It is reported to reduce the time you are sick with a cold or flu. Also, it is said to help with inflammation, chronic fatigue, constipation and even cancer. Just one cup of elderberry has the following:
- 116 grams of water
- 1 gram of protein
- 0.7 grams of fat
- 27 grams of carbohydrates
- 10 grams of fiber
- 55 grams of calcium
- 2 grams of iron
- 7.3 grams of magnesium
- 52 grams of vitamin C
- 406 grams of potassium
- 44 grams of vitamin A
We are just beginning to see scientific studies that look at the medicinal strength of the elderberries. Here’s a few examples…
In 2016, a study was orchestrated to investigate the potential respiratory and mental health benefits of consuming elderberry. Between April 2013 and December 2014, 312 passengers traveling by plane from Australia to an overseas destination, were given either a placebo or an elderberry extract capsule. Each flier was asked to report common cold symptoms in a diary to help the researchers follow along with how they were feeling. Those who were part of the placebos group and experience cold symptoms were sicker for significantly longer than those who ingested the elderberry capsule.
Additionally, there have been studies that showed elderberries have antimicrobial properties, as well! They found that elderberry liquid extract is active against human-spread bacterias and influenza viruses, which could explain the many cases of elderberries helping people recover from being sick.
While this is exciting to see, there is still a need for more research to be done in the future. One word of caution though: Elderberries should always be cooked before you consume them. Certain parts of the plant contain a poison called cyanogenic glycoside. So don’t go eating these berries straight from the bush.
Want to experience the remarkable benefits of elderberries for yourself? Check out our elderberry teas! Starting with our wellness tea Elderberry Mix, a sweet and mildly spicy concoction perfect for building your immune system. I f you want to take a closer look at this tea, there is a blog written by the creator Sally Keasler. We also have two herbal teas that contain elderberries. Both Raspberry Beret and Currant Affair are some berrylicious, sweet, and tart teas that are both refreshing and energy boosting! Then, to round it out, we have Black Wolf! A pu-erh tea that boosts your digestive health in an incredibly aromatic and lightly sweet way. You can also get pure elderberries from us if you want to add them to your own teas!
Enjoy your elderberry tea and cheers to your strong immune system!