Not only are elderberries delicious in juices and wines, but there are also medical uses for elderberry. It has long been used in England and other European countries, traditionally for relieving pain and for water retention, congestion and inflammation. Herbal medicines have made use of the leaves, flowers and bark of the elderberry tree, as well as the berries.
Elderberry leaves have been added to sitz baths and topical creams as a treatment for inflammatory disorders including eczema and arthritis. After elderberry bark is aged, it is sometimes used for treating constipation and water retention, and also as an aid to induce vomiting.
The berries and flowers of the tree are used more often for medical purposes. The berries contain flavonoids, and these give foods their color and taste. Elderberries also give your body the protection afforded by their antioxidants, and help in boosting your immune system. It has been shown that elderberries may have effectiveness in the treatment of some diseases that are brought on by a weakened immune system. Studies at the preliminary level have indicated that they may be beneficial to those suffering from HIV and the herpes virus.
There are other medical uses for elderberry, including treating and preventing infections of the upper respiratory tract. Studies in controlled laboratories have shown some ability of elderberries to reduce the excess secretion of sinus mucus, and it may bring down the swelling of inflamed mucous membranes, as well. Elderberries improve the drainage of your sinus cavities, and help in decreasing nasal congestion caused by bacterial sinusitis.
One product that contains the flowers of elderberry trees has successfully been used in treating bronchitis. You can also purchase lozenges and commercial syrups that contain elderberry extract, and these are believed to help with flu and cold symptoms.
Elderberries have shown in studies that they can be quite effective against no less than eight strains of the flu virus. They may help in preventing some flu types from infecting cells that are still healthy. Clinical trials of elderberries show that they can cut 90% of many flu infections within a period of only three days. Participants in the same test given a placebo took six or seven days to recover. Elderberry is sold in Israel, where this study took place, as Sambucol, herbal medicine that is patented for help in treating the symptoms of the flu.
Elderberry is also available in tablet, extract, tincture, and capsule form, and with other herbs in combination products. Teas can be made from elderberries or dried elderflowers, and fresh flowers of the elderberry are used in topical arthritis pain relief cream. The medical uses for elderberry are many, but be sure that if you are making internal home remedies with berries, only use ripe ones. The others can make you ill.
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