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#1 Morgana

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 06:52 PM

And for that reason, I have found this wonderful article on Elderberry that I thought I would share.

Elderberry Can Boost The Immune System In The Winter

publication date: Sep 11, 2008
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author/source:


Posted ImageThe immune system is frequently overworked when the days get shorter and the temperature starts to drop, and elderberry can boost the immune system in winter for those that find themselves susceptible to all the colds, flu and other viral infections that seem to come out of the woodwork at that time.

Elderberry is the fruit of the elder tree that is native to Asia, Europe and North America. They are found just about anywhere due to their tolerance for a wide range of climates and soil types, and are frequently found by river banks. There are a number of different types of elder, in both small tree and shrub form, and it is those with the black and blue berries that are useful medicinally, not those with red berries. It is not only the berries that are used, but also the elder flowers. Elderflower wine has long been a favorite country wine, and the berries are used to make jam, pies and also drunk as juice.

Elder has been used for countless years for treating viral diseases such as influenza and colds, and it has also been found by some to be effective for the treatment of cold sores (herpes simplex). Its effect on flu is thought to be that it prevents the virus from entering and infecting the body cells, but more on this later. Historically, it has been used to promote the excretion of waste products through urination and sweating, which might be another reason why it is effective against colds and flu and some general respiratory problems.

The juice contains anthocyanins in the form of anthocyanidin-3-glycosides that appear to be very bioavailable to the body. The anthocyanins are more easily absorbed than those of blackcurrant juice, and are very strong antioxidants. The antioxidant effect is reinforced by the presence of large quantities of vitamin C. This difference in bioavailability has been proved though the administration of both blackcurrant and elderberry juice to volunteers, and testing the presence of the anthocyanins in the urine. This is a measure of their bioavailability, or how easily they are absorbed by the body, and the greater this bioavailability, then the more effective is their antioxidant effect.

Separate studies have indicated that anthocyanins derived from berries in general, not just elderberry, can reduce oxidative stress due to age, and also to help brain function. An improvement in the memory of the elderly has been seen to have improved after a course of berry juices rich in these powerful antioxidants. Elderberry antioxidants also improve the stability of LDL cholesterol by protecting against free radical oxidation, and thus helping to reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis that is promoted by the deposition of the oxidized LDL cholesterol on artery walls. This in turn helps to reduce the possibility of cardiovascular disease.

However, it is its effect on the immune system for which elderberry is generally studied by the medical professions. Elderberry helps to boost the immune system predominantly through the production of cytokines. To explain how these work, a quick summary of how part of the immune system works will first be necessary.

When intrusion into the body by an antigen (foreign body) is detected, the initial response is the inflammatory response. Chemical messengers called cytokines are released into the blood to inform the other parts of the immune system that an invader has been spotted.

The immediate effect is to increase the flow of blood to the affected part of the body by dilation of the blood vessels. The spaces between the cells in the vessel walls increase to allow the larger components of the immune system, such as the phagocytes that consume and destroy bacteria. Proteins also congregate and the temperature at the site rises to promote the reactions that the body uses to eject the invaders. The tissue therefore swells due to all the extra fluid and gets hot. The area becomes painful due to the accumulation of material aggravating the nerves, and if there is an infection, pus will eventually be formed from the dead neutrophils used to kill the bacteria or virus.

There are many different types of cytokine, including those that initiate the inflammatory response and others that stop the immune response once the invader has been killed off. Other cytokines, such as the interferons, stop viruses from multiplying, and others take part in the response only to specific types of antigen. Each cytokine has a specific message to pass to the relevant components of the immune system in order that the immune response is appropriate to the invasion concerned and does not overreact. Hence, a grain of pollen in the nose will elicit a lesser response than a varicella antigen that leads to those horrible chickenpox pustules.

In general terms, cytokines give the immune system a kick start once an antigen is spotted. The elderberry anthocyanins produce predominantly inflammatory cytokines, but also one anti-inflammatory cytokine, and so helping to boost the inflammatory response.

Some viruses use what are known as spike proteins that mimic the molecules of their host in order to gain access to cells by binding to the target cell receptors. However, these spikes are easily recognized by the immune system, and the elderberry anthocyanins are active in promoting this recognition. For that reason, viruses vigorously continue to change and mutate to overcome this, one manifestation of their success in achieving this being in the annual infections of influenza that have overcome last year's antibodies by means of this mutation.

The influenza virus contains what are known as hemagglutinin spikes on its surface which, when deactivated, cannot break through your cell walls, enter the cell and replicate, thus leading to influenza. That is the mechanism by which the constituents of elderberries help to control influenza and reduce its effect on your body. If not deactivated, the spikes allow the virus to invade the cell and provoke the immune response that you know as the flu.

Many such winter ailments have a similar mechanism, which is why, apart from its general health benefits through its high antioxidant content, that elderberry can boost the immune system in winter.

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#2 wolfjan1

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 09:08 PM

I would like to grow Elder.
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#3 Morgana

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 12:18 AM

After I posted this I thought I should have also posted the 2 different syrup receipes......so here they are. I'd love to grow it too.

1/2 cup elderberries
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 cups water
5 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup honey


1. First put 1/2 cup of dried elderberries into the small saucepan. Add the 5 cloves, cinnamon stick, 1 Tablespoon grated ginger, and 2 cups of water.
2. Cover and bring the water to a boil.
3. Turn down the heat, leave covered, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by 1/2. This usually takes 20-30 minutes.
4. Strain into a bowl and add 1 cup of honey.


For Flu
For this recipe we just need a cup of fresh Elderberries. You can use a half a cup of dried berries.


You will also need…
• 3 cups of water
• 1 cup of honey
1.) Place the berries in a saucepan and cover them with the 3 cups of water. Then, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for a half hour.


2.) SMASH up the berries. Then, strain the mixture through a mesh strainer.
3.) Add the honey.
4.) Bottle and store in the fridge, where it will last a few months.

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#4 Michele

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 02:43 AM

Love the elderberry info (use elderberry often). But winter is coming - not in South Florida!!!! (I wish, lol).

M

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#5 Mountain Witch

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 06:28 PM

A similar syrup recipe is in the current issue of Herbs (The [UK] Herb Society's official publication). They call it Elderberry Rob, and say it's a traditional spiced fruit syrup recipe for coughs and to ward off colds & the flu. The article recommends a daily dose. They don't say what the "dose" is but I would think a tablespoon a day might suffice.

"Cover fresh elderberries (washed & stripped from the stalk) with water, simmer in a covered pot for 30 minutes. Strain, pour back into the saucepan and for every pint of liquid add

8 oz sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
12 cloves

Simmer covered for 30 minutes and pour into sterlised bottles. Drink diluted with warm water."

If you don't want to make your own syrup, a commercial product, "Sambucol" is a black-elderberry based natural product that has been effectively tested in labs against many different strains of the flu virus. (I believe Kitchen Witch doses her entire family with this during the winter months.)

If you're looking to grow your own, see if your climate will support Sambucus nigra which is black elderberry. Otherwise, most other climates will support S. canadensis, which has close to the same properties. S. canadensis is what is normally sold as a shrub by garden centers here in the US. It's supposed to be quite easy to grow, although I've had difficulties. Three purchased seedlings of S. canadensis kicked the bucket the first year in the ground, even with quite a bit of attention. I planted seeds of S. nigra this year and one seed of 12 germinated. That plant is being babied!

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#6 Morgana

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 12:18 AM

All I can say right now is I am glad I made a quart jar. John came home from work Tuesday with a cold, finally stayed home Friday. Starting Wednesday I made him start the syrup and he's much better on the coughing today. I also started taking it when I realized Thursday I had a sinus infection going on. It works!!!! Feeling sooooo much bette today!!
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#7 LadyHawk

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 06:19 AM

If you are diabetic like me you can substitute the sugar with sweetners (artificial or not, to your taste) and the recipes work just as well. I love elderberry syrup and have used it for as long as I remember, and they grow wild everywhere here so accessing them is easy. Great recipes.

Winter is on the doorstep here....we've had the first snow falls and yesterday was very cold with frost in the morning.

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#8 Whiterose

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:57 PM

The days are already getting colder here.  I have been taking these last few weeks to gather herbs out of my garden and out and about the land, and I have been making preparations that we will use over the winter. Its a good thing too, as hubby came back from his fishing trip with a full blown cold. So after some peppermint tea (decongestant) and some rosehip tincture (vitamin c) he is passed out on the couch.  I just made this elderberry syrup for him as well I had all the ingredients on hand.  We will see how it works, though it smells heavenly. 


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#9 Michele

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 01:20 AM

The weather here stays nice through the winter, but on other levels I am extremely aware that winter is coming.  I have me Beloved Elder tree in my yard, some flowers frozen for tea (thanks CG) and some berries drying.  And elder "tea" will protect the dwelling from the dark of winter.

 


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#10 Autumn Moon

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 05:05 AM

The days are already getting colder here.  I have been taking these last few weeks to gather herbs out of my garden and out and about the land, and I have been making preparations that we will use over the winter. Its a good thing too, as hubby came back from his fishing trip with a full blown cold. So after some peppermint tea (decongestant) and some rosehip tincture (vitamin c) he is passed out on the couch.  I just made this elderberry syrup for him as well I had all the ingredients on hand.  We will see how it works, though it smells heavenly. 

---------

 

Elderberries are great - they  prevent viruses from replicating, and are a potent antioxidant. The flowers with some lemon and honey made into tea and drank hot before bed will make one perspire heavily, thereby releasing the cold from the body.


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#11 Athena

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 06:22 PM

Our fall lasts maybe two weeks, right now we are still lingering in umber weather yay but soon very very soon it will start to freeze and once that happens snow is nipping at our heels. I love elder berries I gather them from the wild because they are all over the place here I love natures bounty. I make a really great apple juice and elder berry jelly my grandmother gave me its delicious. I don't remember it right off the top of my head but it was very simple I will post it when I find it.

2 quarts elderberry juice ( I just boil and strain through a pillow case)
2 quarts apple juice ( store bought works I use crab apple)
1 cup sugar
Then use a thermometer and boil down to the correct temperature or until it passes the spoon test.
Jar I as usual

Edited by Athena, 15 September 2013 - 06:28 PM.

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#12 CelticGypsy

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 06:53 PM

---------

 

Elderberries are great - they  prevent viruses from replicating, and are a potent antioxidant. The flowers with some lemon and honey made into tea and drank hot before bed will make one perspire heavily, thereby releasing the cold from the body.

 

I like this.  I wonder if one drank this tea while in a " hot as you can stand it " bath.  As I wouldn't want to still have the cold or virus germs in my sheets.  I'd like the whole damn cold to go down the drain ! 

 

 

 

 

 

Regards,

Gypsy


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#13 Autumn Moon

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 07:41 PM

The bath would help, as well as washing your bed clothes and wearing apparell. One would have to make sure they don't get chilled after the bath.


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#14 BriarCreek

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 08:18 PM

I mix 1/2 elderberry syrup with 1/2 kumbucha in my quart jar almost every morning and sip this through morning chores.  If I feel a cold coming on I'll drink another few of them for the rest of the day.

 

Growing elderberry is easy and for most of us, free.  Elder tends to grow in wetter areas so look for them near streams or open wetlands. Find an established healthy elder plant and take a clean cutting off a living branch at least 1 foot but not too big to not be manageable.  This is best done early spring just before the plant begins to leaf out but I did it last summer, during the heat of the drought, and two out of three cuttings took.  Elderberry is pretty resilient.  Bury about 1/2 of this into good composted soil.  I've done it straight into the earth and also into big planters.  Then it's time to water the heck out of it.  If you give the plant lots and lots of water more than likely it will root itself.  Even if it looks like it's dying keep watering it.  I've had t where the stick I plant died back but it rooted and the next spring a new plant came from the roots.  She's a tough plant that loves water.  As long as she's not thirsty she'll root.   

 

I built another summer kitchen last year and planted three elder plants around it.  One did not make it but we were in the worst drought in 50 years last year so that's probably the problem.  I planted 3 more this year and they are doing fine.  I'm thinking next year my summer kitchen will be hidden in the shade of the elder and will be kept even cooler while I'm canning.


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#15 Palemoon

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 08:19 AM

I have a bottle of homemade elderberry & honey syrup in the fridge at the moment. We have already had the first virus of the season do the rounds in the house, and I was the only one not to come down with it. I was taking the syrup twice daily, everyone else avoids my potions!
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#16 LdyShalott

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 05:46 PM

Elderberry Syrup

- 1 cup fresh Elderberries (harvest blue or black, avoid poisonous reds)

- 3 cups water

- 1 cup raw local honey

- 1 Cinnamon stick, 3  Cloves, and slivers of raw Ginger

 

Combine  berries, water, and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Smash the berries to release remaining juice and strain the mixture. Allow liquid to cool and stir in honey. Will last for 2-3 months stored in the fridge.

 

 

Dose myself and the wee ones when the winter colds and flus make their rounds... this with a daily dose of vitamin C and echinacea keep us healthy and happy... :)


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#17 MuireAnne

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 05:14 PM

Chinese star anise is also a good herb to add into elderberry syrups. It contains a high percentage of shikimic acid, which is a key component of oseltamivir (Tamiflu), and has antiviral properties. Which is good in a cold/flu preparation since both are caused by viruses! Interestingly, shikimic acid is also found in pine needles and sweetgum balls, although in lower concentrations.

Side note: it is really important to source Chinese star anise from reputable suppliers and make sure you know exactly what you're getting. The cheaper Japanese star anise, which looks nearly identical when dried but is toxic, can make you really sick. As long as you are careful to make this differentiation, star anise is a really valuable herb and has medicinal value far beyond just antiviral properties!

Edit: just wanted to add that I use anise (and assorted other goodies) in a big pot of homemade Chai tea if I feel like I might be coming down with something and have had good results. If anyone would like the recipe I'd be happy to share :)

Edited by MuireAnne, 16 August 2017 - 05:17 PM.

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#18 witchinplainsight

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 09:38 AM

I was desperate to get some elder and think some is growing in the gap between our fence and the neighbour's side! I have teased a few strands through so will take a photo and maybe someone can confirm? The leaves are a little different from pictures I've seen so want to be sure. The berries seem to start white then ripen through red to purple and the stalks are red.
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#19 witchinplainsight

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 09:38 AM

Failing that do dried berries work well?
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#20 MuireAnne

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 12:09 PM

This is a really good resource for identifying elderberry:

http://sunflower-pre...ide-elderberry/

You do have to be careful because there are several lookalikes and some of those are toxic. I have not been able yet to find any growing near me sadly. When I buy a house, I am going to plant a few! But yes, dried berries work great; that's what I use. I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs.

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