Elderberry has been a part of folk and traditional medicine for centuries. The Greek physician, Hippocrates, called it his medicine chest. It was- and is- considered a healing plant. The research has proved it time and time again.
What Is Elderberry?
Elderberry is a bluish purple, mildly sweet fruit belonging to the plant Sambucus nigra. The leaves and bark of this plant are poisonous; however, the berries give immense health benefits.
Elderberry is a food and medicine used in Europe, Egypt, and America. The most promising use of this plant is against flu, cold, and allergy. But it provides relief against many more diseases, including eye problems, colic, rheumatism, arthritis, and epilepsy. Moreover, elderberry is also used in skin burns and wound healing.
Elderberry contains a vast number of antioxidants that keep diseases at bay. These antioxidants also impart the signature purple-blue color to elderberry. Further, the plant possesses tannins, flavonoids, essential oils, vitamins, and minerals.
There are many forms in which you can use elderberries, such as pies, jams, syrups, and jellies. You can also get elderberry supplements, like capsules, teas, or the best elderberry gummies for immune support and other benefits.
While elderberry benefits your whole body, let’s discuss its positive effects on your heart health.
How Does Elderberry Boost Your Heart Health?
Elderberry is a superfood that keeps your heart safe and protected. Here’s how.
Reduces Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the root cause of many cardiovascular diseases. It leads to blockage of vessels and damage to the heart.
Elderberry contains bioactive flavonoids and polyphenols that lower blood pressure. This way, elderberry prevents the progression or onset of heart disease. It also decreases the uric acid level in the blood, which is related to increased blood pressure.
Decreases Blood Cholesterol Level
Maintaining your cholesterol level is crucial in preventing heart diseases. When your cholesterol level is high, fat deposits in your vessels, leading to blockage of vessels. Hence blood does not flow properly. It throws you at risk of cardiovascular disaster.
Research suggests that elderberry is beneficial for reducing cholesterol levels and preventing heart damage. In a study, 34 people consumed 400 milligrams of elderberry extract for two weeks.
They observed a remarkable decrease in their cholesterol level. However, more extensive research is required in the field.
Elderberry decreases the oxidation of LDL (low-density cholesterol)- the bad cholesterol. Thus, it reduces the chances of your arteries getting blocked and, in turn, the possibility of heart disease.
Controls Your Blood Sugar Level
High sugar level increases the risk of diabetes, which can lead to heart disorders. Apart from cholesterol, you also need to keep blood sugar in control for good health.
Since elderberry is rich in antioxidants, it controls the blood sugar level. It increases insulin secretion, which improves the blood sugar level. Elderberry also blocks the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which helps reduce blood sugar levels.
Thus, it prevents type 2 diabetes and, consequently, a heart attack!
Reduces The Cardiovascular Disease Marker
Myeloperoxidase is an enzyme found in white blood cells (leukocytes). Its high levels are associated with cardiovascular diseases and inflammation. Elderberry reduces the activity of myeloperoxidase, protecting your heart and its system.
The significant benefits of elderberry lie in its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains three different flavonols, which contain antioxidants. These antioxidants prevent chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disorders or inflammation.
Anthocyanins present in elderberry reduce inflammation, which supports heart health. However, the effect of elderberry on chronic disease is still relatively unknown, and further research is required.
Risks Associated With Elderberry
While elderberry is a safe food option for maximum benefits, it has a few restrictions too.
- It would be best if you never ate unripe or uncooked berries. They can cause cyanide poisoning, which can be fatal. Always cook or boil the berries before eating. It reduces cyanide toxicity.
- Never eat the plant’s leaves, bark, roots, or twigs. They are toxic and can harm your body. The only edible parts of the plant are its fruits and flowers.
- If you are a pregnant or breastfeeding mom, avoid elderberry.
- Use elderberry in low doses if you are using it for general health benefits.
- People with a compromised immune system might get difficulty eating elderberry.
- Elderberry is a diuretic (an agent that induces more urination), so don’t use it if you use a similar medicine.
Elderberry, the medicine chest, is the perfect natural remedy for your heart. It has extensive benefits that can help you lead a healthy life. Use the plant regularly (but in low doses) to protect your heart and health.