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Elderberry for Immune Health: History, Benefits & Supplements

Elderberry is emerging as one of the best natural cold remedies, a can’t-ignore home treatment for how to boost your immune system. Elderberry (Sambucus) has a long history of traditional use and is supported by contemporary research, becoming now a mainstay in many homes all year long, particularly useful during the cold and flu season. Let's examine the benefits of the elderberry plant for immune function, how they burst onto the modern medicine scene in 1993, and the easiest way to supplement daily with elderberry.


The History of Elderberry

Elderberry derives from the European elder tree, Sambucus nigra, and has been utilized in traditional herbal medicine for hundreds of years. Elderberry was used as a remedy by the ancient Egyptians and by some Indigenous groups. Because of its many applications and easy access, elderberry was sometimes known as the "medicine chest of the common people" in Europe.

The use of elderberry has a fairly exciting history. One of its most famous uses, which opened the world’s eyes to the potency of elderberry, was during the 1993 Panama flu epidemic. The government employed the use of elderberry syrup, which significantly helped reduce both the severity of the symptoms and the duration of the flu in a majority of patients. Inspired by events like these, modern science now frequently explores elderberry benefits and elderberry for cold treatment.


Elderberry's Immune-Boosting Properties

How does elderberry work? Well, elderberries are packed with antioxidants (which give the berries their almost black color), in fact, the elderberry has one of the highest measurable antioxidant capacity of any berry. The effectiveness of the elderberry is attributed to flavonoids like quercetin and anthocyanins, for example, which are responsible for the symptom relief. They work in the body's defense against free radicals, which in turn helps lower inflammation and oxidative stress—two important aspects which play a role in the immune system.

According to studies, cytokines—immune messenger molecules—are produced at higher rates with elderberry extract supplementation. This means elderberry wields antiviral properties against the flu and may help the body mount an effective defense against flu and cold viruses.


Best Elderberry Supplements

To incorporate elderberry into your routine, consider taking it as a daily supplement. Elderberry supplements come in various forms, including syrups and capsules, but elderberry gummies are arguably the most convenient option for those who prefer a more palatable experience.

New Nordic’s Elderberry™ Gummies are powered by 270mg of European Elderberry Extract - per dose! These gummies are not only vegan and sugar-free, but also contain Vitamin C and Vitamin E.  While it’s more helpful and effective to supplement with elderberry gummies daily during peak cold and flu months, our Elderberry™ Gummies can be taken all year long to provide consistent immune support.


Natural Cold Remedies vs. Flu Shots and Antiviral Medications

Elderberry supplements are not a replacement for flu shots or antiviral medications, but can be a powerful addition to your immune support routine. Flu shots are made to protect only against specific strains of the flu virus, while antiviral medications are used to treat flu symptoms once you are already sick.

On the other hand, elderberry supplements are best taken daily to help lessen the duration and intensity of cold and flu symptoms. They are widely considered to be safe for the majority of people, including children and can be combined with over-the-counter medicine like Dayquil with no known negative interactions.

However, we always recommend speaking with a healthcare provider before beginning with a new supplement, particularly if you have underlying medical concerns or are currently taking medication.

In conclusion, using elderberry to keep you well is a natural and effective option. Its historied traditional use will appeal to followers of herbal medicine, while very much standing up to the scrutiny of modern medical study. You may take proactive measures to maintain a happy immune system and stay in good health all year round by taking elderberry supplements like New Nordic’s Elderberry™ Gummies daily. Check out our blog on the Top Superfoods for Boosting Immune Health for more tips on natural remedies for strong immunity.