[Homestead] Elderberry: Anti-influenza
erthnsky at bellsouth.net
Tue Dec 25 00:46:08 EST 2007
Anti-influenza (7 different strains), Antipneumonia, Antiinflammatory;
Aperient; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emetic; Emollient; Expectorant;
Galactogogue; Haemostatic; Laxative; Ophthalmic; Purgative; Salve;
There has been one small study in Israel (1992), testing the use of
Elderberry syrup in people with the flu. These patients were showing the
first symptoms of influenza. Half of the group was given elderberry
syrup and the other half received a placebo (no medication or herb). In
those receiving the elderberry, fever, cough, muscle aches were reduced
in one-fifth of the patients in 24 hours. The 2nd day, 75% of the
patients was feeling better and by 3 days, 90% of them felt completely
cured. While those on the placebo - 8% felt better in 24 hours and it
was 6 days before 90% of that group was cured.
It appears that elderberry acts in several ways to help the body fight
It stimulates the immune system to produce more antibodies. Elderberry
extract contains anthocyanins (chemicals that give color to the berry)
which stimulate the production of cytokines (chemical communicators -
stimulate production of blood cells, including white blood cells).
It acts against how the virus penetrates cells. Viruses, to reproduce,
must enter living cells. Once inside, the virus uses the cell's
resources and abilites to replicate itself. To get through the cell
membrane, there are spike-like projections, hemagglutinin (allows the
virus to bind to cells), on the coating of the virus. Also, there is an
enzyme, neutraminidase, on these spikes, that works to break down the
cell membrane. Elderberry (flavanoids) inhibits the enzyme and disarms
the spikes. The virus cannot enter the cell.
All other tests of elderberry on viruses have been in test tubes and
mice. Extracts of elderberry have inhibited both Type A and Type B
influenza viruses. (7 different strains of influenza)
The respiratory syncytial virus - RSV (main cause of bronchitis and
pneumonia in infants and children under 1 year) has been inhibited by
the S. racemosa species of elderberry.
Black elderberry extract has even been tested against West Nile Virus.
The test was done at the Kimron Veterinary Institute. The virus was
neutralized in in vitro tests. It is not known whether the extract will
work in humans to stop infection by the West Nile Virus.
Influenza can kill. If you are of an age or have a medical condition
(over 65 years old, heart or lung problems, emphysema, asthma, cystic
fibrosis, diabetes, anemia, kidney disease, HIV, other immune deficiency
diseases) that makes you susceptible to the flu and its effects.
Besides reducing the fever related to the flu and common cold,
Elderberry acts as an expectorant (thins mucous and helps expulsion of
The leaves taken internally and the flowers have been used for this action.
Sore Throat - Elder Flower Water is used as a gargle.
Combinations of elderberry:
With other herbs have given good results for respiratory infection. One
such combination is elderberry and echinacea.
Another is elderberry leaf extract with St. John's wort and soapwort for
influenza and inhibiting herpes simplex virus (cold sores).
Elderberry has also been combined with peppermint, yarrow, hyssop,
and/or boneset for colds and fever.
In combination with goldenrod, it is used for catarrhal inflammation due
Elderberry has been used in children for blocked eustachian tubes in the
ear due to congestion.
Elder contains a number of chemicals that act as antioxidants (chemicals
that protect cells from free radicals) Ellagic acid is found in
elderberry. This chemical may help to detoxify carcinogens. Anthocyanins
are also found in elderberries. The antioxidants can be utilized by
endothelial cells (cells that line the internal body cavities) to
increase protection from damage related to oxidation (both occurring
from regular metabolism and from chemicals that enter the body as
pollutants). The anthrocydins in elderberries help the circulation of
blood and reduces the fragility of the capillaries in the eyes. They
also seem to help night vision by egenerating rhodopsin (pigment in eye
that aids dim light vision). One pigment in elderberries gives relief in
trigeminal neuralgia (sharp stabbing or electric pain in the facial area
due to action of the 5th cranial nerve)
Tea made from the berries has been used for nerve disorders, back pain,
and chronic rheumatism.
Extracts of elder flowers have been tested in animals and shown
anti-inflammatory action. This may or may not act the same in humans.
Other Medicinal Uses of Elder:
Anti-spasmodic - flowers
Diuretic: Elderberry has a long history of use as a diuretic (increases
the flow of urine). It is regularly mentioned as a remedy for dropsy
(swelling from serous fluid in tissues), in old herbal books. Either the
flowers, the berries, leaves, or the inner bark of young trees may be
used for this. The high level of potassium in the berry may account for
some of the diuretic action. Tests have shown an increase of urine flow.
Emetic (Induces vomiting): the bark
Galactogogue (promotes flow of milk): flowers
Inflammation of urinary tract and bladder: flowers
Purgative (produces watery stools)
Elder has been used for it's laxative and purgative effects for
centuries. You must remember that the use of purgatives and emetics were
common in early times and in the Middle Ages as a remedy for a lot of
ailments. That does not mean it is good medical practice.
The theory of those days was to purge various humours from the body to
effect a cure. Sometimes the cure killed.
Laxative: raw berries, the fresh juice of the berry, the flowers
Purgative: (The plant contains an alkaloid resin, Sambucine, that is
purgative), the bark, the leaf buds, the leaves.
(Infuse 1 ounce inner bark in 1 pint of water. Wineglass dose for
purgative, larger dose for emetic.) The inner bark and the roots can be
so intense in their action, that the intestine can become inflamed.
Depurative (promotes removal of wastes)/Tonic/cleansing the blood: The
berries, flowers and elder flower water
Astringent (tightens tissues, skin) - the elder flowers and flower water
(8 drops essential oil in 1 pint distilled water). The flowers are used
in skin washes to refine the complexion, to soften and whiten the skin,
and to relieve eczema, acne, and psoriasis. The flowers can also be
placed in boiling water and the steam used for a facial.
Vulnerary (remedy to heal wounds):
Leaves in ointment. Unguentum Sambuci Viride or Green Elder Ointment.
Used for burns, scalds, sprains, swelling, cuts, bruises, scrapes, skin
infection, chilblains (inflammation, swelling, sores due to exposure to
cold) - leaves and flowers in an ointment or poultice.
Also as a wash:
Berry juice made into a salve soothes burns and scalds.
The leaves, flowers, stems, and bark have been used as a poultice for
inflammation, stiff joints, and insect bites and stings.
Leaves crushed to a fine powder has been used in shoes to prevent tired
A poultice of the leaves is applied to stop bleeding.
The ointment, Unguentum Sambuci has been used on wounded horses.
Some have used an ointment of the leaves to apply to tumors.
Effectiveness? Check with your medical practitioner.
Strained elder flower water has been used as an eye wash, sometimes
combined with the herb, Eyebright.
Possible future uses of elderberry:
Because of the action elderberry extracts have on some viruses, studies
are being made for possible use in HIV and against various herpes strains.
Compost; Cosmetic; Dye; Fungicide; Insecticide; Litmus; Musical; Pipes;
NOTE: The information is provided for informational and educational
purposes only. If anyone is in need of medical treatment, they should
seek out and go to a Medical Doctor.
Bevanron of EarthNSky Farm Sleep well tonight, for somewhere in the
ocean's depths, MY son is protecting YOUR freedom.
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