Elderberry is also known as Sambucus nigra that belongs to the plant family Adoxaceae. This plant is a multi-stemmed shrub and grows up to 20 to 50 cm tall; also, the tree form that can grow up to 9 meters tall is present. Elderberry’s leaves have an unwanted aroma when cut or crushed, whereas its aromatic late spring flowers and its edible fruit, known as elderberries, have made it a noted plant. The tiny white flowers of Sambucus nigra have clusters that will turn into black glossy elderberries in late summer. It grows in full sun to part shade and in medium to wet, well-drained soils.
Since ancient times, various parts of elderberry have been used for medicinal purposes. The dried berries are used to treat infections, headaches, influenza, dental pain and nerve pain in folk medicine. Furthermore, in culinary the elderberries of Sambucus nigra has been cooked to make jams, pies and more. In scientific research published in 2004, which consists of 60 people with influenza, have shown that taking 15 mL of elderberry syrup, including elderberry extract, three times per day has made influenza have a shorter duration and show less severe symptoms. (1) In another study comparing 15 different varieties of berries from the scope of antioxidant content, it was found that elderberry is one of the most effective antioxidant sources. (2) Furthermore, one study had found that the antioxidant amount improved in humans by drinking 400ml of elderberry juice. Another study made with rats has shown that the ones that were given elderberry extract have shown a significantly lower response to oxidative stress and also reduced inflammation. (3)(4) Another indication of elderberry extract is it may be good for heart health. In a study published in 2013 the intake of flavonoids which are found in elderberry extract and its relationship with cardiovascular diseases was assessed. As a result of this study, it was found that due to the flavonoid content, elderberry can decrease the risk of heart disease and also it may also reduce cholesterol and may reduce the level of fat in the blood. (5) To conclude, Elderberry extract is used to relieve early symptoms of the common cold and support the immune system. It has been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat influenza, colds and sinusitis, and has been reported to have antiviral activity against influenza and herpes simplex.
Sambucus nigra is a good source of antioxidant, free and conjugated forms of amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, fibre fractions, vitamins, minerals. Analysis of elderberry showed that it contains high biological activity components, primarily polyphenols, mostly anthocyanins, flavonols, phenolic acids and proanthocyanidins, as well as terpenes and lectins. The main molecule responsible for elderberry extracts medicinal effects is Anthocyanin, and Bionorm’s high-quality Elderberry extract contains more than 10 % of it inside. Further information about Elderberry extract which is produced from Sambucus nigra can be obtained from https://bio-norm.com/product/elderberry-extract/.
- Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40. doi: 10.1177/147323000403200205. PMID: 15080016.
- Wu X, Gu L, Prior RL, McKay S. Characterization of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins in some cultivars of Ribes, Aronia, and Sambucus and their antioxidant capacity. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Dec 29;52(26):7846-56. doi: 10.1021/jf0486850. PMID: 15612766.
- Netzel, M., Strass, G., Herbst, M., Dietrich, H., Bitsch, R., Bitsch, I., & Frank, T. (2005). The excretion and biological antioxidant activity of elderberry antioxidants in healthy humans. Food Research International, 38(8-9), 905–910. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2005.03.
- Bobek, Pavel & Nosáľová, Viera & Černá, Silvia. (2001). Influence of diet containing extract of black elder (Sambucus nigra) on colitis in rats. Biologia. 56.
- Wang X, Ouyang YY, Liu J, Zhao G. Flavonoid intake and risk of CVD: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Br J Nutr. 2014 Jan 14;111(1):1-11. doi: 10.1017/S000711451300278X. Epub 2013 Aug 16. PMID: 23953879.