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Holunder: Verwendung, Nutzen und Nebenwirkungen

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Chances are, if you’ve heard of elderberry, it’s because you’ve seen it as a syrup at your local pancake house, in a sweet wine at a liquor store, or on the shelves of the supplement aisle at your pharmacy. Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about the benefits of elderberry and what elderberry is good for.

What is Elderberry?

Elderberries are dark purple berries from the European elder tree and can be eaten fresh in salads or processed into jam and cakes. The most popular edible variety, Sambucus nigra, or black elder, comes from the Sambucus shrub, whose stone fruits grow in delicate clusters and bear hundreds of deep purple berries.

For centuries, people have relied on elderberry, using it as a traditional homeopathic remedy. Elderberry is currently a popular ingredient in a variety of products, from healthy teas to elegant liqueurs.

Health Benefits of Elderberry

Isolated image of a group of elderberries | What is Elderberry?

1. Elderberry Contains Essential Nutrients

Raw elderberries have a high nutrient content. „We obtain the secondary plant compounds our body needs from the food we eat. Incorporating elderberry into your diet not only helps meet your daily fiber needs, but also provides essential vitamins and minerals,“ says registered dietitian Dr. Nina Hall RDN, LD.

These vitamins and minerals include:

2. Elderberry Contains Flavonoids

These sweet, tangy berries are known for their flavonoid content, but also supply anthocyanins and phenolic acids, which are believed to have the potential to reduce oxidative stress.

Flavonoids are found in almost all fruits and vegetables, as well as in the products we make from them, such as tea and wine. They act as powerful antioxidant compounds and can bring many health benefits.

3. Elderberry Can Support a Healthy Immune System

A study of 312 air travelers found that those who fell ill after taking a supplement with 300 mg of elderberry extract three times daily showed signs of a healthier immune system. While further research is necessary, these initial findings are promising.

Are There Risks Associated with Elderberry?

Isolated image of an elderberry branch | What is Elderberry?

Dr. Hall points out that any substance that affects the body carries a level of concern and could exacerbate existing conditions; elderberry is no exception.

Exercise Caution with Preparation

Leave the preparation of elderberry to the experts. While the flowers and berries can be safely consumed (preferably ripe and cooked), caution is advised when using homemade preparations, as some parts of the plant can be toxic. The safety and efficacy of home remedies are still unclear.

Elderberry bark, leaves, stems, and roots contain sambunigrin, a potentially toxic compound known to release cyanide, likely responsible for some reported cases of elderberry juice poisoning. Serious side effects are more likely with homemade elderberry juice where little attention has been paid to excluding leaves and stems from the mixture.

Elderberry rarely causes an allergic reaction. However, poorly prepared or unripe elderberries can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Therefore, it is important to purchase elderberry products from a reputable retailer.

Consult Your Doctor Before Supplementation

Hall recommends, with some caveats, to include dark berries like elderberries as a supplement to a healthy diet. She suggests consulting a doctor before adding a new supplement to your routine.

„It’s important to get additional information about how a particular supplement might interact with everything else you’re already taking,“ she says. Pregnant women and children should avoid consuming elderberries or taking elderberry supplements until further safety studies have been conducted or approved by a healthcare provider.

Where Can You Find Elderberry?

Fresh, raw elderberries may be hard to find in your regular grocery store, but you may be able to find them in smaller stores specializing in organic products. Dried elderberries, teas, and supplements are more common and available in retail stores as well as on Amazon.

Elderberry is also commonly used as part of a larger ingredient mix in supplements. For example, FIRST THING contains elderberry along with beta-glucan, vitamin C, and zinc to maintain a healthy immune system.* Here are a few popular elderberry items available on Amazon:

Bio Elderberry Herbal Tea from The Republic of Tea

MaryRuth Organics Elderberry Syrup

Nature’s Way Sambucus Elderberry Gummies

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

All brand, trade, product names, and logos shown are property of their respective owners. Inclusion of third party products in this article in no way implies an endorsement, approval, or recommendation of the content provided herein by such third party, nor does it imply any endorsement, approval, or recommendation of the product by the author or publisher of this article.

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