Have you just walked into the phase of parenting? Are you looking for some traditional and organic remedies to add to your kid's medicinal regimen?
If you are parents to neonates or growing children, you must have stumbled upon numerous articles on the internet about elderberries while looking up traditional medicine.
Here is a comprehensive guide into the benefits and other details of this naturally occurring product, the 'elderberries.' These can be used as a medicine in times of sickness and as regular supplements to help build the kids' immunity.
Origin And History Of Elderberry
Elderberry is a blue-black colored fruit of the Sambucus tree, the European version of the 30 kinds of elder plants globally. The therapeutic uses of elderberry can be traced back to Hippocrates's times, the 'Father of Medicine.' Hippocrates labeled the elder tree as his 'medicine chest.'
Did you ever know that cooked elderberries could also be used to prepare beverages like tea and wine? This practice has remained quite frequent in the former times and still exists with its use now, commonly in the making of pies, jams, and jellies.
Apart from its therapeutic properties, this natural remedy has remained an essential ingredient in the ancient Egyptians' skincare regimen to enhance their skin complexion and glow.
Along with a well-documented history of use in traditional medicine, the elderberry is still as relevant as it was in the past.
The elder plant plays a vital role in the conservation and sustenance of nature and its habitats. It is often grown along the stream banks' length to stabilize the ground, anchor the soil in place and help prevent erosion. It functions as a food source, sanctuary, and nesting sites for various species of birds and other wildlife.
Health Benefits Of Elderberry For Kids
Elderberry has an excellent therapeutic profile. It possesses remarkable healing and immune-boosting properties that make it suitable to ward off flu, colds, and various other illnesses.
If incorporated in the diet as a regular supplement, it can do wonders; hence, its use has soaring popularity with each passing day.
All the health benefits of this natural remedy apply equally well to kids and adults. The safety and efficacy are equal in both adults and kids, owing to its long-standing history of harmless consumption.
It does not generally carry any prohibitions for use in kids; however, kids of age group 1 to 3 should not use more than ¼ of adult-strength elderberries. In other words, no more than 500mg of concentrate should be given to toddlers.
According to professional advice, while anyone four years and beyond can utilize the full dose, the length of use should always be monitored.
1. Alleviates Cold and Flu
The plant and fruit extracts have a strong association with alleviating cold and flu symptoms, especially in kids. If not wholly curative, the elderberry for kids accounts for a significant decline in the infection's severity and length. This has been scientifically proven in modern times by many research and experiments.
A research was conducted on 60 subjects of influenza, the one half was allotted under the trial group category, and the second half was the control group. 15 ml of elderberry formulation was administered four times a day in all the trial group subjects simultaneously. They showed a faster recovery in two to four days, as opposed to the control group that showed improvement after a period of seven to eight days on average.
A similar investigation was performed on 64 individuals, using 175-mg lozenges. This yielded impressively improved results immediately after 24 hours. The pills also helped the associated symptoms like fever, headache, and muscle ache subside equally well.
Researchers from the University of Sydney have deduced the underlying mechanism of elderberry in waning off the flu symptoms. It is believed that its ingredients inhibit the attachment of the viral proteins with the host cell receptors.
This concept was further reiterated by the studies done on the 312 air passengers taken as subjects. The subjects who consumed the extract before the journey experienced lesser and milder symptoms than those who did not take the preload.
2. Serves As A Rich Source Of Nutrients
Are your kids a complicated bunch to deal with? Are they giving you a hard time drinking milk? From throwing tantrums, eating healthy, skipping meals, becoming a routine to falling sick every other day, the growing lot is often a mess.
This is when elderberries come to our rescue. As it is richly laden with nutrients, this makes it a safe alternative for the kids to replenish their body stores of nutrients and strengthen their immunity against infections in a short time.
Elderberry has a high vitamin C content in it, about 10-35 grams per 100 grams of fruit. This approximates twice the amount of vitamin C in an orange and almost 60 percent of what is recommended to be our average daily intake. It is also rich in fiber, containing 7 grams per 100 grams of fruit. This makes around one-quarter of our recommended daily requirement of fiber.
3. Antioxidant Properties Reduce Oxidative Stress
The nutritional composition also includes various potent antioxidants such as phenolic acids, flavonols, and anthocyanin. These compounds effectively nullify the oxidative stress in the body and hence the damage that follows. Anthocyanin has an additional anti-inflammatory feature.
Reactive molecules or free radicals may precipitate chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes mellitus and cancer. However, this risk can be diminished by using elderberry as a supplement.
A study has suggested that the body presents an improved antioxidant status as soon as an hour after drinking 400ml of elderberry juice. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects have also been proven in rats in experimented research.
4. Other Benefits
Not much evidence is available of the remedy concerning the cure of chronic diseases and certain other conditions. A minimal number of case studies advocate the anti-cancer effects of the elder plants.
In other cases, the elder compounds have been shown to inhibit Helicobacter pylori's bacterial growth, alleviating sinusitis and bronchitis symptoms.
One way by which the elderberry develops immunity is by increasing the white cell count. This organic ingredient may add to the sun protection factor (SPF) of the skin product. One such study has also discovered some dose-dependent antidepressant effects associated with it. Additionally, it is a productive laxative agent and useful against sciatica, dental pain, and nerve pain.
As elderberries are packed with anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants, it has a great role in treating acne and other skin problems. Acne is a significant problem amongst young children; hence the American Nutrition Association (ANA) has recommended using the elder mixture, incorporated in a face wash, to help fight acne.
How To Use Elderberry For Kids And Its Dosing
Are you a worrying mom who cannot seem to decide the right proportion of the popular supplement of elderberry for kids? Well, here is what you might be looking for.
The freshly-picked elderberry can either be cooked at home or used in commercial preparations found in stores. The steps of cooking include:
- Removing the stalk.
- Cooking the berry with sugar and water.
- Straining and boiling until the syrup consistency comes about.
It is always advised to use the latter for kids to ensure safety. The widely used forms include syrup, chewy gummies, lozenges, and capsules, syrups, and gummies being the most appropriate options of elderberry for kids.
The pediatrician should always be on board to approve the dosage before the onset of the therapy. This is because the amounts needed vary from person to person based on the severity of the disease, any underlying health condition, metabolism, body tolerance, and any history of allergies.
One study states an oral dosing regimen for children that have been tried and tested. One tablespoon (15ml) of syrup taken twice a day for three consecutive days and a 5ml of product mixed in 150ml of hot water to be taken five times daily for three days and then thrice daily for a week are equally effective options.
It usually does not have any restrictions for use in infants, but more than 1⁄4 of adult-strength elderberries should not be used by children aged 1 to 3 years. In other words, toddlers can obtain no more than 500 mg of concentrate. The maximum dosage can be used for four years and beyond, but the usage duration should always be regulated according to clinical advice.
Where To Buy It From?
Are you on the look-out for some online stores to get this remedy delivered? Elderly Capsules with Zinc and Vitamin C are a reliable supplement that you can purchase.
Elderberry Risks And Contraindications
Even though the fruit and plant are usually harmless in their raw forms, it is still advisable to use commercially prepared formulations. This is to avoid eating any poisonous part of the plant mistakenly.
The cyanide-free preparations formulated in the labs may often have additives that optimize the effects of elderberry for kids, produce better results, and bypass any adverse effects that the raw extract might have caused. The raw form tends to cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The individuals who are at high risk and should avoid this alternative-to-many include pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Immunocompromised patients must also avoid this traditional medicine method. Hence, the elderberry has diuretic properties that can never be combined with drugs that can result in critical water loss.
It is vital to identify rash or breathing issues that develop in response to its use; this implies an allergic reaction, hence should be discontinued immediately.
Can Elderberry Kill You?
Large amounts at once might result in severe poisoning. One incident has been recorded that mentions eight people falling severely after drinking the freshly extracted juice from the raw berries. They complained of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, giddiness, numbness, and stupor.
Excessive use of cyanide-inducing glycosides in kids can lead to the accumulation of cyanides to lethal amounts, making them fatally ill, comatose them, or might even kill them.
When To Consult A Doctor
Although a popular conventional method, it is still recommended for the parents to reach out to a doctor before starting home-based therapy.
The elderberry for kids has an almost risk-free profile, but the presence of any autoimmune condition may create troublesome effects due to its immune-boosting effects.
It is also contraindicated in patients undergoing chemotherapy or any other immunosuppressive therapy. Besides, dosing adjustment should be made under the surveillance of a pediatrician as it varies from one kid to the other, according to their body needs.
The Use Of Elderberry For Kids And COVID-19
While elderberry stands as an effective regimen to fight off cold and flu, depression, and free radical-mediated oxidative stress, no evidence has been produced on its efficacy against COVID-19 as yet.
There is a limited amount of information that supports its use even during the mild symptoms of the disease. It is suspected that using this agent during the initial phase might bring about a more robust immune response than is required, hence doing more damage than good for the user.
Likewise, there is no information available on its use as a preventive tool for COVID-19 either.
We advise you to get a doctor on board if you contract COVID-19 at any point in time for an entirely devised health plan to follow. Maintaining social distance, good hygiene, and health remain the best preventive strategies against this infection.
Fun Facts about Elderberry
- One elder plant can yield around 12-15 pounds of berries per year.
- It lives for up to 80 to 100 years in the wild.
- The popularity of elderberries dates back to the times of ancient Egypt and Hippocrates.
- The Romans used the elderberry liquid extract as a hair dye.
- Flies are the primary source of pollination for the elder plants.
- Elderberry is a significant brewery ingredient in modern times.
- The elderberry flowers are incredibly fragrant!
- The crushed berries smell unpleasant, which has allowed them to be used as an insect repellant in the old times.
- The Elder Wand, made out of the elder tree's bark, has been used in the Harry Potter series's last book and had a pivotal role to play in it.
- Torabian, Golnoosh, et al. "Anti-influenza activity of elderberry (Sambucus nigra)." Journal of functional foods 54 (2019): 353-360.
- Charlebois, D. "Elderberry as a medicinal plant." Issues in New Crops and New Uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA (2007): 284-292.
- Ulbricht, Catherine, et al. "An evidence-based systematic review of elderberry and elderflower (Sambucus nigra) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration." Journal of dietary supplements 11.1 (2014): 80-120.
- Sidor, Andrzej, and Anna Gramza-Michałowska. "Advanced research on the antioxidant and health benefit of elderberry (Sambucus nigra) in food–a review." Journal of functional foods 18 (2015): 941-958.
- Porter, Randall S., and Robert F. Bode. "A review of the antiviral properties of black elder (Sambucus nigra L.) products." Phytotherapy Research 31.4 (2017): 533-554.
- Mahmoudi, M., et al. "Antidepressant activities of Sambucus ebulus and Sambucus nigra." European review for medical and pharmacological sciences 18.22 (2014): 3350-3353.
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC. "Poisoning from elderberry juice--California." MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 33.13 (1984): 173.