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  • Jeff Matrician, Lic. Ac.

Tip # 2 for a Better Immune System: Take Elderberry

Recent research has validated the traditional Native American and European practice of taking this delicious fruit syrup to improve the immune system.



Two studies are worth mentioning:


One placebo controlled study in Norway followed 60 people with flu-like symptoms. Those who were given Elderberry recovered a remarkable 4 days earlier than those who took placebo.


Another study, this one Australian, double-blind and randomized, gave long-distance airplane travelers Elderberry and followed their symptoms for about two weeks. The study had two interesting results: the frequency of getting sick was basically similar, but in the Elderberry group the duration of cold symptoms was considerably less--almost half the total number of days sick.


There are a couple of things to note about Elderberry:


It has been taken safely for hundreds, if not thousands of years—but raw elderberry contains lectin and will upset the stomach--so don’t eat it raw off the bush.


Research has shown that Elderberry affects the cytokine response in the body. There has been some concern that this might mean that Elderberry could play a role in making a “cytokine storm.” While there is no exact evidence for this concern (as both the mechanism for a cytokine storm or the exact way elderberry affects the immune system are not known) some are cautioning against its use during an inflammatory response.


So the takeaway here:


  • Take Elderberry if you tend to get colds for longer periods of time than others especially if these colds linger on with milder symptoms.

  • Don’t expect Elderberry to prevent colds but it may shorten them significantly.

  • Stop Elderberry if you have a fever –especially if you are young and otherwise healthy or if you tend to spike high fevers.

  • Consult me if you have an autoimmune problem before taking.


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Please contact me if you have any specific questions about any of my posts.

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