Yes, you can take elderberry supplements daily, even three to four times a day. However, you should not take more than the recommended daily dose.
Elderberry is a medicinal plant used widely to treat diseases. Most commonly, elderberry supplements are used to treat colds and the flu. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies elderberry-based medicines as dietary supplements, so they cannot be sold or promoted as a therapy for any medical condition.
What is elderberry?
Elderberry is a type of berry that is distributed throughout North America, Asia, and Europe for its medicinal properties. Elderberries come in a variety of options, such as black, red, and blue. However, black elderberries are the most popular, which are used to produce jams, wine, elderberry juice, and elderberry syrup.
Black elderberry, genus name Sambucus nigra, is regarded for its therapeutic qualities and has been used in traditional folk medicine for generations. These elderberries have the highest concentrations of antioxidants than any other berry.
The antioxidants present in elderberries are anthocyanins and flavonols, which combat free radicals in the body, provide several health benefits, and help the body to stay in shape.
5 health benefits of elderberry
Elderberries are low in calories and packed with antioxidants, which offer a rich source of anthocyanins, flavonols, and phenolic acids. These berries are also rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber.
Considering their nutritional value, using elderberry extract supplements may improve health and relieve symptoms of diseases, such as:
- Elderberries have antiviral properties that prevent or decrease the severity of infections, such as flu and cold.
- Reduce inflammation
- Elderberry is rich in antioxidants that prevent free radicals from damaging the cells at the DNA level, which reduce inflammation, decrease swelling, and relieve pain.
- Cold and flu
- Elderberry supplements boost the immune system and prevent or treat cold and flu symptoms.
- According to a study in 2016, a travel group that took elderberry supplements had fewer people affected by colds, and the ones affected had milder symptoms compared to the other traveling groups who were given a placebo.
- Many more studies were done and found that people who took elderberries had less severe symptoms of cold, which lasted for a shorter duration. However, further research is needed to confirm the role of elderberry in relieving cold and flu symptoms.
- Heart health
- Elderberry is known to have good effects on the heart and blood vessels. Several studies conducted suggest that the antioxidants in elderberries reduce the bad cholesterol levels and the risk of heart diseases.
- Blood sugar levels
- Elderberry may increase insulin secretion, which maintains good blood sugar levels in the body.
- Studies suggest that elderberry flowers may inhibit the enzyme alpha-glucosidase that breaks down starch into glucose. With the inhibition of this enzyme, glucose is not produced, which helps maintain good blood sugar levels.
Animal studies and other lab experiments reported a few benefits of elderberries, including:
- Fights cancer
- Prevents bacterial growth
- Protects against ultraviolet radiation
- Improves immunity
- Increases urine frequency
- Has antidepressant properties
However, more human studies to support these claims are needed.
What are the possible side effects of elderberry?
Even though elderberry supplements are good for health, taking raw fruit, bark, or leaves may cause stomach distress. Elderberry extract supplements made from raw plant materials are not safe to consume since raw berries cannot be digested. Elderberry syrup, gummies, and juice are made from processed berries, which remove the poisonous compounds to make them safe to digest.
The common side effects of taking raw elderberry plant products, such as fruit, flower, leaves, bark, or root include:
- Stomach problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea and constipation
Reports that people who drink handpicked berry juice had the following symptoms:
Always buy supplements from a genuine producer and seller so that the quality and authenticity of the product are ensured.
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