Natural Cold Cure?

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Why many are turning to elderberries as a way to avoid the doctor’s office

What if someone told you that to build up your immune system, prevent sickness, reduce length of sick days, and possibly even help with chronic or autoimmune diseases… all you had to do was take a daily dose of syrup? After this year, your answer would likely be a quick, resounding YES.

Maybe you have heard of elderberry products before but aren’t quite sure what the hype is all about. They are made from the fruits produced by the black elderberry shrub (officially called Sambucus nigra)—the berries are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, zinc and antioxidants.

Morgan Powell turned to elderberries in 2016 after her three young children always seemed to be sick. While researching herbs and natural remedies, she learned about elderberries and decided to whip up a batch of syrup for her family to try. In a matter of weeks, she noticed a significant improvement in her children’s health and wellbeing. “My husband and I thought it would be great to spread the word and help other families build their own immune systems and keep their children healthy, and the idea to create a small business out of it came naturally,” she explained.

Powell started her Central Virginia–based business, The Enchanted Elderberry, in the fall of 2018. She sells elderberry-infused syrup, vinegar, gummies and loose teas at the Bedford and Forest farmers’ markets. Powell says she grows her own fruit but sometimes has to order from Croatia when her supply is limited. The berries are generally harvested in the fall.

Elderberry syrup isn’t just a natural remedy with no credible support. Powell shared that before she spread the word, she wanted to know that elderberries were not only a safe option but also had the science to back them up. “What elderberry does on a molecular level is attach to a virus, preventing it from entering or replicating in a cell inside,” she explained.

Many of the benefits of the elderberry can be attributed to the antioxidant anthocyanin.

While scientific studies on the effects of the berries have only been conducted on a small scale, the National Institutes of Health believes they have anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-obesity effects. More reasons to consider adding this small, dark purple berry into your daily routine include aid to the upper respiratory system, ease of joint and muscle pain, and blood vessel support.

Ready to stock up? When purchasing your elderberry products, always consider the source and make sure you are buying a credible product. Also, never eat elderberries raw as this can cause nausea and dizziness; side effects are not experienced when consuming the product in any cooked form.

Finally, the most important piece of advice, doses and concentration can vary, so always check with a physician or pediatrician before adding elderberry into your diet. Powell says most children take one teaspoon a day while adults may take two, even three if fighting an illness.

According to Powell, her results are measurable. Her children have not been to the doctor in over three years for a virus since taking elderberry syrup year-round. “Since starting this entrepreneurship, we’ve been humbled at the amount of people we have helped live healthier lives,” she said. “Elderberry can be a great addition to your daily routine.”

The Enchanted Elderberry is available at the Bedford and Forest farmers’ markets. Elderberry products can also be found locally at Health Nut Nutrition (Wyndhurst) and Nature’s Outlet (Graves Mill Shopping Center).

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About Author

Rachel Dalton comes from a restaurant marketing and management background in Richmond but now is a wife, mother, writer, exercise enthusiast, very amateur chef, traveler, super planner, dog rescuer and lover of all things local to her new hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia.

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