Boosting Life Choices: Elderberry

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Elderberry- fruit of the elder tree

Elderberry contain natural substances called flavonoids, rich in antioxidants these flavonoids help fight inflammation, reduce swelling and boost the immune system. Elderberry has been used for centuries on skin wounds.

Research has shown that Elderberry can help ease flu like symptoms such as fever, headaches, cough, sore throat, body aches and fatigue. Perhaps lessening the flu symptoms by more than half of its duration. Interesting enough was that a lab study was found where Elderberry may have been effective in fighting the swine flu. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.  Although research continues, it may also have a connection where it can help with bronchitis and bacterial infections. However, use of this for more than 5 days is not recommended as long term use is not known.

In 1985 Elderberries were listed in the CRC handbook of Medicinal Herbs and in 2000 in Mosbys Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, congestion, and hay fever. In Israel they treat cancer and AIDS patients with Elderberry. This is probably widely used for many ailments due to it’s capability of enhancing the immune system to defend the body against a variety of diseases. Research has shown that Elderberry contains more antioxidant properties than vitamin E or C.

If you are planning on using Elderberry please consult with your doctor. Although research has shown it to have some healing properties there are side effects as well. One cannot consume raw Elderberry or consume any other part of the plant, as it is poisonous.  It contains a chemical that produces cyanide. People with allergies, diabetes, lupus, MS and other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis should consult with your doctor. Children, pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use Elderberry.

Elderberry must be cooked, I cannot stress this enough. Elderberry is available as a liquid, syrup, and tincture, as well as in capsule and lozenge forms.  University of Maryland Medical center suggests that the lozenges help aid sore throats and flu like symptoms.

elderberry pie

Elderberry Pie 

Makes one pie

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 4 cups elderberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. Mix cornstarch in a little bit of water and add to berries and sugar. Cook, stirring constantly until desired thickness. Add more cornstarch if not thick enough. Add lemon juice.

3. Pour into bottom crust. Dot with butter. Put on top crust or make a lattice.

4. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) until browned and berries are bubbling through holes in the crust, approximately 40 minutes.

5. Note: It is a good idea to put a pan or foil under the pie as it bakes since it might bubble over.

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