The Elderberry: A Tasty, Edible, Medicinal
Berries of all kinds are commonly referred to when experts are discussing power foods.
Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries, are all nutrient dense items that provide a delicious way to nourish your body.
Elderberries aren’t commonly mentioned on power food lists, but they should be.
These tiny little nutrition balls are so full of vitamins and minerals, they rival nearly every fruit you can think of nutrition.
Huge levels of vitamin C and A, calcium, and substantial amount of potassium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus, are all present in elderberries.
If you’re looking for foods that offer a lot of nutrition in a little package, consider adding elderberries to your diet.
In addition to their huge nutritional value, elderberries have a number of medicinal uses as well.
Elderberries contain a number of medicinal components that are shown to help alleviate a long list of ailments.
Elderberries are known by both farmers, and physicians to have antiviral properties that can help relieve symptoms, and speed up recovery for many health problems.
From the flu, to herpes, elderberries have shown a positive healing effect on many problems.
Whether you’re trying to get your vitamins and minerals, or find treatments for what ails you, elderberries are where it’s at.
Nutrition in Elderberries
Want to get all of your days worth of vitamins and minerals in one sitting? Make a kale, spinach and elderberry salad.
While kale and spinach are well known for being nutrition superstars, elderberries are less commonly known for their nutritional properties. Let me enlighten you.
One cup of raw elderberries provides the following percentage of your daily values of each given vitamin: Vitamin A 17%, Vitamin C 87%, Thiamin 7%, Riboflavin 5%, Niacin 4%, Vitamin B6 17%.
That’s quite a variety of vitamins, but that’s not even the most awesome thing elderberries offer.
The minerals present in elderberries are somewhat hard to find in plant foods, making the elderberry even more nutritionally valuable.
As for minerals, one cup of raw elderberries provides the following percentage of your daily values: Calcium 6%, Iron 13%, Phosphorus 6%, Potassium 12%, Zinc 1%, Copper 4%.
That’s a high concentration of vitamins and minerals in one cup of fruit.
The Medicinal Properties of Elderberries
As for medicinal properties, elderberries also possess some astonishingly potent benefits.
In a study titled “Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections,” scientists explained their findings.
“Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo.” The study reads.
“Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza.”
Though more research is needed to conclusively prove these benefits, it’s certainly a compelling piece of evidence that seems to verify what has been common folk knowledge in many communities for over a century.
In another report from Purdue University titled “Elderberry as a Medicinal Plant” researchers break down the components in elderberry making it so useful as medicine.
The study suggests that the healing properties are a result of elderberry’s high concentration of vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, the study suggests that polyphenols known as flavonoids, which work as antioxidants, help rid the body of free radicals, and thus toxins.
Whatever the case, it does appear that there’s a great deal of medicinal promise in these tasty little treasures.
Why You Need Elderberries
We’ve all heard nutrition gurus plug goji and acai berries for their incredible nutritional properties.
These berries are both definitely very good for you, as are the more traditional berries. What elderberries offer that sets them apart, is an incredibly accessible, option.
They grow wild in many states, and are an inexpensive fruit, that can complete people’s diet, and alleviate their health issues.
If these benefits are something you’re after, don’t hesitate to pick up some elderberries and incorporate them in your diet.
- Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections
- Nutrition of one cup of raw elderberries.
- License: Creative Commons
Emily Manke is a health, nutrition, travel, and entertainment blogger from Portland, Oregon.
She contribute to a number of blogs, including the blog for this dentist in West Linn, Oregon.