Elderberry: Is it a regular berry?
At first glance, the elderberry seems to be an ordinary berry that grows on a bush and has a tart taste, but in reality, it is not that simple. Unlike cherries or strawberries, it cannot be eaten in great amounts. Furthermore, other parts of the elderberry bush can be toxic and dangerous for human wellbeing. Nevertheless, it can benefit your body in different ways, making it both healthier and slimmer. Is elderberry good for weight loss? Read this article and find out!
What are the benefits of elderberry?
Elderberry is considered a medicinal plant that is widely used in folk medicine. With its sweet and sour taste, it makes a delicious remedy that goes with syrups, teas, gums, and other supplements. In fact, not only the berries but also flowers from its shrub are used in traditional or folk medicine to treat the following in particular (7):
- Joint and muscle pain
- HIV and AIDS
- Skin conditions
- Breathing problems
- Kidney conditions
Apart from the above-mentioned health benefits, elderberry is also believed to strengthen your immune system. As a result, you could be less likely to catch the flu; at the same time, the berries and flowers might make it easier for you to overcome the cold (7). None of these benefits have been scientifically proven, however, so don’t skip your prescribed medications or your annual flu shot and rely on elderberry to heal you. But if you want to include it as part of a healthy diet that also includes all your vitamins and minerals, it is probably just fine to do so – just remember to discuss it with your doctor first.
Elderberry benefits for weight loss
Several studies have pointed out that it may be helpful for weight loss. In particular, they showed positive changes in obese people, who not only shed some pounds but also adopted a few healthy habits. In an observational study by Chrubasik et al., the participants lost an average of 3.2 kg after a 2-week diet supplemented with elderberry and elderflower. Although low-carb and low-fat diets are the cornerstone of a typical weight-loss plan, these can even be more useful when supplemented with elderberry products. The latter is said to encourage a substantial lifestyle change in people who want to slim down. Furthermore, continuous consumption of elderberry may help keep weight off (1, 2, 4, 8). Overall, it may be helpful for weight loss, as it may both enhance the effects of a weight loss diet and encourage people to reconsider their habits.
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Does elderberry syrup help you lose weight?
Elderberry syrup is one of the elderberry products that people typically use as a home remedy. Indeed, the elderberry syrup is used for dealing with the flu and cold symptoms; similarly, it is thought to be a great immunity booster. The syrup has also been used for fighting upper respiratory infections (6). Furthermore, apart from these health benefits, the elderberry syrup can also help you lose weight and avoid regaining it. Drinking the syrup in small amounts regularly might help you slim down, but more evidence-based research is needed in this connection (3). While researches have shown that it can be useful for treating infections, there is little information on its slimming down properties.
What are the side effects of elderberry?
When it comes to elderberry, the dosage must be your priority. It is easy to overeat these juicy berries, which can pose a great danger for you. Consequently, you should take them in very small amounts. You should also make sure that you eat cooked and ripe berries. Otherwise, there is a risk of having diarrhea and nausea (7).
Not everyone can take elderberry. Hence, pregnant or breastfeeding women should not eat it. Likewise, it is not suitable for people with a weak immune system. Also, if you decide to collect the flowers or berries from its bush yourself, you should be careful not to pick other parts of the plant. In fact, its branches, leaves, seeds, and other parts contain glycoside, which is a type of cyanide. Therefore, the parts of its shrub, other than the berries and flowers, are toxic (7).
If after eating elderberry, you experience breathing problems and a rash, you should exclude it from your diet. Additionally, you might feel an urge to urinate rather unexpectedly and frequently because the elderberry is a diuretic (7).
Although elderberry is not a popular food in comparison with other fruits and berries, it has immensely value in herbal medicine. Indeed, it may relieve stress, fever, headaches, and joint and muscle pain. It may help people deal with kidney conditions, problematic skin, constipation, and HIV/AIDS symptoms. Besides, it is a possible immune system booster, which means it might even help prevent the flu.
Apart from its numerous health benefits, elderberry can assist you in weight loss. Due to it having a few calories, it will make a perfect component for your diet. At the same time, this fruit has positive effect on your lifestyle and eating habits. Overall, with elderberry, not only will you slim down, but also adopt a few healthy habits.
Does elderberry interact with any medications?
Yes, it does. While being good for the immune system, it can reduce the effectiveness of the medications that decrease the immune system. These medications include CellCept, Rapamune, Prograf, Deltasone, etc. Therefore, you should consult your doctor before taking elderberry if you are on any prescription medication (5).
Can you be allergic to elderberry syrup?
How much elderberry syrup should you take a day?
In research studies, a dosage of 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of elderberry juice-containing syrup 4 times a day for 3-5 days has been used to fight the flu in adults (5). However, you should still consult your doctor in this regard.
Does elderberry really boost the immune system?
It really does. Elderberry is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It also increases the production of inflammatory cytokines, thus boosting your immune system. Likewise, it makes a positive contribution to the inflammatory process in both healthy and infected patients. Furthermore, when combined with chemotherapeutic treatment, elderberry could have an immunoprotective or immunostimulatory effect for patients with AIDS and cancer (9). To increase the effectiveness of elderberries, it is recommended to combine it with other healthy foods that are high in vitamins B6, C, and E (6).
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility.
- An Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Elderberry and Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (2014, researchgate.com)
- An Observational Study and Quantification of the Actives in a Supplement With Sambucus Nigra and Asparagus Officinalis Used for Weight Reduction (2008, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Anti-Influenza Virus Effects of Elderberry Juice and Its Fractions (2014, tandfonline.com)
- Bioactive properties of Sambucus nigra L. As a functional ingredient for food and pharmaceutical industry (2018, researchgate.com)
- Elderberry (n.d., webmd.com)
- Elderberry: A Natural Way to Boost Immunity During Cold and Flu Season? (2018, health.clevelandclinic.org)
- Health Benefits of Elderberry (2019, webmd.com)
- Impact of a proprietary concentrate of Sambucus nigra L. on urinary pH (2008, onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- The Effect of Sambucol, a Black Elderberry-Based, Natural Product, on the Production of Human Cytokines: I. Inflammatory Cytokines (2001, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Type I Allergy to Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) Is Elicited by a 33.2 kDa Allergen With Significant Homology to Ribosomal Inactivating Proteins (2003, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)