By now, you have probably heard the term elderberry used quite a few times, especially since we’re in the middle of flu season. But is it really worth taking?
We’ve fielded a lot of questions from patients about elderberry syrup, so today we’re taking some time to answer your questions on the topic.
What Is Elderberry?
Elderberry is a dark purple berry from the Elder tree. It’s been used in medicinal capacities across the world dating back to ancient times.
For example, Native Americans used it to fight off infections, while ancient Egyptians used it for their complexions. Today, it is most often used to help treat cold and flu symptoms.
Facts About Elderberry
- The raw berries, bark and leaves are poisonous.
- Berries are also incredibly tart and need to be cooked before being consumed.
- The Sambucus Elder tree produces both elderberries and white flowers.
- Elderberries are packed with vitamin C and fiber.
Can Elderberry Syrup or Lozenges Help Fight the Flu?
Research on this topic has been inconclusive. While elderberries are high in antioxidants, their protective impact on humans seems to be weak. But it may be worth a shot if you’re looking for a way to fend off the flu or get rid of symptoms more quickly.
“There are no definitive trials that demonstrate an effect versus viruses, including influenza,” says Dr. Todd Rudolph, Medical Director at AFC Urgent Care North Carolina. “But many anecdotal reports show some reduced influenza rates and improvement in inflammation.”
Other Ways to Treat the Flu
- Get plenty of rest.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids.
- Take OTC medications as needed for fever and other symptoms.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home.
- Take an antiviral, if prescribed by your doctor.
We are open! Visit AFC Urgent Care South Charlotte if you are feeling under the weather. We’re here seven days a week.