With the cold and flu season now upon us, we want to share our knowledge of one of Mother Nature’s most powerful immune boosting herbs. The elderberry is a dark purple berry from the European elder tree. It’s scientific name is sambucus. If you’re lucky enough to live near a tree make sure you cook the berries, as they are poisonous when consumed raw. For most of us, an elderberry tincture is the safest, most effective and convenient way of including this potent healing berry in our herbal protocol. Let’s dive into why an elderberry tincture should be front and center of your medicine cabinet this season.
A Brief History of Elderberry
There’s evidence that the elderberry has been an important medicinal plant for millennia, with traces of it dating back to ancient Egypt and European countries like Italy and Switzerland. Most notably Hippocrates, the ancient Greek who’s considered ‘the father of medicine’, had elderberry in his repository. It was also a popular cure for the common cold among North American Native Indians and medieval Europeans.
The Benefits of Elderberry
Much of the elderberry’s health benefits are drawn from the fact that it is packed with antioxidants and vitamins that boost your immune system. As a preventative measure, it goes a long way to reduce inflammation, manage stress and help protect your heart. It helps to fight viruses, bacterial infections and ease allergies. Elderberry is also a fantastic formula to start taking if you or a loved one already has a cold or the flu, as it is known to relieve symptoms and support your body during recovery.
If you’re traveling this season, we recommend starting to take elderberry ten days before travel, until four or five days after you reach your destination. As you probably know from experience, being on a plane, train or bus for extended periods of time often makes you more vulnerable to catching a cold.
How To Take Elderberry
We highly recommend Elderberry Comfort from BrainChild Nutritionals. If you’re taking it as a preventative measure, take 10-20 drops daily for immune support. At the first sign of cold or flu, the adult dose is 30 drops, 3 times a day, mixed with warm water, or followed by a drink of water.
Children can take half of an adult dose. At the first sign of cold or flu, start with five drops, 3 times a day and increase to 15 drops, 3 times a day, mixed with warm water or followed by a drink of water. Children can take 5-10 drops daily while healthy for immune support.
Other Immune Boosting Herbs
Reishi is the perfect wintertime helper! This life-giving traditional food is the highest honored mushroom in the ancient Chinese healing pantheon. Reishi protects the liver, eases inflammation, helps fight viruses, bacteria and candida, and modulates the immune system. We think it also gives us a very warm, healthy feeling inside when we take it, and it adds a distinctive dark, coffee-like flavor that we like a lot. Read more about Reishi in our blog post, “Spotlight on ‘the God of Fungi’”.
Mushroom Immunity is an essential winter formula. This incredible blend boasts 34 extremely potent medicinal mushrooms in 1 easy to take coffee tasting powder. Each mushroom contains a unique array of polysaccharides (essential sugars) and novel compounds that strengthen the immune system. Some of the mushrooms included are Reishi, Chaga, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Shiitake and Enoki. Check out our blog post “Substitute Coffee with Mushroom Immunity” to learn more.
The Ultimate Immune Tonic was created to enhance, rebuild and revitalize the bone marrow, the adrenal glands as well as strengthening all the cells in your body. Strengthens the endocrine glands, including the Thymus Gland. It is an herbal formula of Deer Antler Powder, Wild American Ginseng, Gotu Kola Herb, Astragalus Root, Schizandra Berry and Red Jujube Dates. It is available in both tincture and capsule formulations. **Practitioner note: This formula is not recommended if you have cancer as it is a cell proliferator.