The Miracle Berry

The Miracle Berry

This berry has long been used as a surface treatment to mend wounds and improve the general condition of one’s skin.  Recently it has been incorporated as a medical treatment for various types of internal conditions, such as the common cold, influenza, and various diseases of the respiratory system.  It is also a combatant of inflammation, and is known to clear the nasal passage.  The benefits of elderberry are generally gained through teas or supplements made from the leaves and berry extract, though the berry itself can be consumed.  Aside from the four specific benefits listed below, consumers of elderberries generally report feeling more energetic in general.

Enhanced Immunity

First among the list of benefits is a significant boost to the immune system. This is one of the most sought after elderberry benefits as the immune system is what keeps humans from falling dangerously ill. Elderberries are full of antioxidants, Vitamins A, B, and C, flavonoids, and amino acids. Flavonoids in particular are known to fight a wide range of health issues and greatly strengthen the immune system. Taking extracts, syrups, or pills containing concentrated versions of elderberry once per day can be enough to fight off most general illnesses.

Losing Weight

A study out of Freiburg, Germany suggests that one of the many elderberry extract benefits is assisted weight loss. Unlike many other natural methods of weight loss, this extract will reduce fat in the body instead of first targeting water weight. Aside from fat reduction, blood pressure will be improved, resulting in better circulation; this allows for more natural weight loss and the ability to sustain exercise for longer periods of time.

Warding Off the Flu and Common Cold

Though evidence is not completely conclusive, elderberries have been shown to eliminate various strains of the flu in lab tests. Some over-the-counter medicines with elderberry extract have also been used successfully to greatly reduce the duration of the flu. Many cold and flu symptoms are also relieved by elderberries, such as congestion. One of the reasons this is so effective is because it enhances the body’s sweat production. Additionally, while normal products such as cough syrup may relieve basic symptoms of the cold and the flu, elderberry syrup benefits the body in many other ways as well.

Healing Infections of the Sinuses

Sinupret, a product containing significant amounts of elderberry flowers, has been successfully used as part of a treatment for sinusitis. This product contains many other herbs, so the actual role of elderberries in this application is unclear. Nonetheless, as it acts as a way to clear the respiratory system and has various other health benefits, it is likely that this is the primary ingredient responsible.

Cautions to Keep in Mind

While it does come with a slew of health benefits, elderberries also have a few negative side effects when used over longer periods of time or in unhealthy doses. Consuming too much of one substance produces what is known as toxicity. These negative effects can also be the result of combining two or more supplements or foods that provide the same substance.

Birth Issues

Various issues related to pregnancy and childbirth surround elderberries. Firstly, breastfeeding is absolutely not advised for women consuming elderberries in any form. Second, toxicity or simple over-consumption can result in prematurity, stillbirth, or a miscarriage during pregnancy. And finally, in the event that none of this happens, birth defects are still at increased risk.

Low Blood Sugar

One of the effects of elderberries is a drop in the levels of blood glucose in the body. For diabetics or anyone with other blood sugar concerns, this could prove extremely dangerous. In toxic cases, hypoglycemia may develop as a result. Alternatively, elderberry extracts may be a viable solution to high blood sugar.

Allergic Reactions

Allergies can be developed for just about anything, so this is a risk with all treatments. However, people tend to be at higher risk for allergies with black elderberries in particular. In the least severe cases, this results in a simple rash, but it can ultimately hinder breathing. Symptoms can increase to a near fatal state in extreme cases, so it is important to consult a doctor.

Increased Frequency of Urination

While this may be considered one of the benefits of elderberry in some cases, such as in attempts to flush chemicals from the system, it can become dangerous in toxic levels or when mixed with other diuretic supplements and drugs. It also increases the frequency and production of bowel movements. Expelling too much urine or fecal matter from the system can result in a detriment to the body’s nutrition levels.

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Sagar is co-founder and CTO at Multia, a leading creative agency in Pune. He started his venture when he was 16, he has won numerous international and national web development competitions and has worked on 100+ web, mobile and online marketing projects. He’s a globe-trotter and has traveled to San Francisco, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubai, Jakarta and Bali Islands.
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