Monday, September 24, 2012

Time to break out the elderberry for cold and flu season

Chinese inspectors on an airplane, checking passengers for fevers
 (a symptom of swine flu). Taken in China after arrival,
prior to exiting the plane. By NorturneNoir Creative Commons
The time is here - the time to prepare for the upcoming hype behind the flu. Now, don't get me wrong, any illness is unfortunate. But, nature has some clues to keeping healthy. Running water with soap, vitamin D and C and proper sleep can help as well.

It is cold and flu season. Help your body with some natural defenses with elderberry. Honestly we love this stuff. On trips to India we take it to prevent illness and it works wonders. Plus NIH indicates it is effective against 10 strains of the flu virus (the vaccine is effective against what?).

Elderberry can be found whole, or in syrup or pill form from natural grocers and supplement stores.

You can quickly and easily order Elderberry from Amazon and other on-line retailers as well.

NIH article on the effects on sambucal (elderberry) indicates:
They are natural remedies with antiviral properties, especially against different strains of influenza virus. Sambucol was shown to be effective in vitro against 10 strains of influenza virus. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, Sambucol reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days. Convalescent phase serum showed a higher antibody level to influenza virus in the Sambucol group, than in the control group. The present study aimed to assess the effect of Sambucol products on the healthy immune system - namely, its effect on cytokine production. The production of inflammatory cytokines was tested using blood - derived monocytes from 12 healthy human donors. Adherent monocytes were separated from PBL and incubated with different Sambucol preparations i.e., Sambucol Elderberry Extract, Sambucol Black Elderberry Syrup, Sambucol Immune System and Sambucol for Kids. Production of inflammatory cytokines (IL-1 beta, TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-8) was significantly increased, mostly by the Sambucol Black Elderberry Extract (2-45 fold), as compared to LPS, a known monocyte activator (3.6-10.7 fold). The most striking increase was noted in TNF-alpha production (44.9 fold). We conclude from this study that, in addition to its antiviral properties, Sambucol Elderberry Extract and its formulations activate the healthy immune system by increasing inflammatory cytokine production. Sambucol might therefore be beneficial to the immune system activation and in the inflammatory process in healthy individuals or in patients with various diseases. Sambucol could also have an immunoprotective or immunostimulatory effect when administered to cancer or AIDS patients, in conjunction with chemotherapeutic or other treatments. In view of the increasing popularity of botanical supplements, such studies and investigations in vitro, in vivo and in clinical trials need to be developed.

Another NIH study shows that elderberry works well and is safe:

We investigated the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry syrup for treating influenza A and B infections. Sixty patients (aged 18-54 years) suffering from influenza-like symptoms for 48 h or less were enrolled in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study during the influenza season of 1999-2000 in Norway. Patients received 15 ml of elderberry or placebo syrup four times a day for 5 days, and recorded their symptoms using a visual analogue scale. Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza. These findings need to be confirmed in a larger study.

For our family, we take it when anyone seems to be getting sick, we've been exposed and a few times a week during flu season.  

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JR911 said...

Hmmm, never heard of taking this, I'll have to look into it some more. julieann r

Beth :: Our Front Porch View said...

a friend introduced me to elderberry recently. we do NOT get flu shots in our house and I know prevention is important in avoiding the flu. we take a tincture everyday to help build a strong immune system naturally!

Our Front Porch View: The Story of a Young Family's Pursuit to Fulfill a Simpler Life

Megan @Love Letters 7.10 said...

This is the first we've heard of elderberry. We'll definitely have to try it out as my husband has the immune system of a newborn kitten. (He was vaccinated, LO and I are not. Hmmm...) Thanks!

Love Letters 7.10

Sarah @ made in usa challenge said...

How have I not heard of this before? I need some right now! The whole family has the first cold of the season running through our house right now!

Barb said...

Thanks for sharing this at Motivation Monday!

I've heard of Sambucol, and I wasn't never really sure why people use it. Wow, that many strains. I don't do the flu shot anyway, and I'd much rather use Sambucol.