(NaturalNews) Elderberries are primarily found in North America and Europe. Referred to as the `medicine chest` by Hippocrates, these berries have been researched and proven to contain many medicinal and health benefits. In 1995, Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama. Scientists even used these powerful berries to help treat AIDS and cancer.
Many nutrients can be found in Elderberries, among them flavonoids, amino acids, tannin, carotenoids, Vitamins, C, A and B, rutin, organic pigments, viburnic acid and lectins. These berries have been used for many years as a folk remedy for different illnesses and conditions. Research has shown that they are still effective in treating many conditions, among them flu, tonsillitis, diabetes, asthma, yeast infections, viral infections, chest and nasal congestion and constipation.
Elderberry extract has been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease by reducing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the blood. Anthocyanins, one of the most powerful antioxidants known to man, are found in these remarkable berries in far higher quantities than either Vitamin C or E. Their juice is also known to help night vision and improve digestion. Infusions of Elderberry are said to be good for back pain, nerve disorders and reducing inflammation in the urinary tract and bladder.
People who had flu and consumed Elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms than those who did not. They also recovered substantially faster. The quercetin contained in Elderberries is believed to be responsible for the therapeutic effects of these berries. Hasassah`s Oncology Lab in Israel has determined that the immune system is stimulated by Elderberries to the point where they have treated their AIDS and cancer patients with them.
Drinking around 10 ounces of Elderberry juice per day is said to be most beneficial. Larger doses can lead to diarrhoea, so they should be consumed with care. Be sure to only use Elderberries when they are blue, black or purple and to avoid them when they are red. Consume them only when they are cooked, as uncooked berries contain toxins which may lead to vomiting and nausea. The green parts of the plant, the leaves and bark are also to be avoided, as they may contain cyanide.
Once cooked though, these berries make a wonderful addition to pies, jams, tarts and syrups. They also make a wonderful, natural flavouring agent and garnish for food. Ensure that your Elderberries or elderberry juice and extract is either grown yourself or purchased from a reputable source.
Shona Botes blogs about green living, budgeting, saving money, natural remedies and humour (which is often combined with the abovementioned topics). Her spare time is spent tending to her organic herb garden, cycling and engaging in photography. Her blog may be viewed here Some of her photography work may be viewed here Other articles written by her may be viewed here