Every year, millions of people get a seasonal flu vaccine to protect themselves against the potentially life-threatening influenza virus. And while these vaccines do offer some protection, they are not 100 percent effective or safe. The fact is that the seasonal influenza vaccine only offers protection against the three most common strains of the flu virus – not against them all. Additionally, those who opt for the flu vaccine do so at the risk of developing negative side effects such as headache, fever, muscle aches and pain at the injection site.
Rather than take your chances with this often unsuccessful vaccine, why not opt for a safer, more natural remedy? Elderberry syrup, also referred to as Sambucus Nigra, is a well-known herbal remedy that has been clinically proven to both prevent the flu and significantly reduce the duration of the illness. In addition to being a “time-tested” remedy for the flu, multiple studies have proven its safety and effectiveness in adults and children.
In 1992, Israeli researchers tested the effectiveness of elderberry syrup on a group of flu patients in a hospital setting. Half of the patients were given elderberry syrup upon the onset of their symptoms, while the remaining patients were given a placebo. Among the group of patients who took the elderberry syrup, 20 percent noticed a significant improvement in their symptoms within the first 24 hours. That number increased dramatically over the next few days, with 75 percent of patients reporting a significant improvement in symptoms after 48 hours and 90 percent of patients reporting significant improvements within 72 hours! For those on the placebo, it took a full six days before 90 percent of patients were feeling better. Of that group, only 8 percent showed any signs of improvement within the first day.
A similar study was conducted in Oslo, Norway during the 1999-2000 winter season with similar results. In this study, patients who took 15 ml of elderberry syrup 4 times a day for 5 days recovered an average of 4 days sooner than those who took a placebo.
How it Works
There are several reasons why elderberry syrup is an effective treatment for the influenza virus. First, it activates the immune system and makes it more difficult for viruses to overwhelm the body. Secondly, it inhibits the flu virus from attaching to cell walls by disarming the hemagglutinin “spikes” it uses to latch onto the cells. It also inhibits the virus’ enzyme, neuraminidase, which it uses to break down the cell wall.
Where to Find Elderberry Syrup
You can purchase commercial varieties of elderberry syrup in natural food stores and in some pharmacies. Formulas are available for both adults and children.
Alternatively, you can easily make elderberry syrup at home with dried or fresh elderberries. This is a much more cost-effective way to obtain elderberry syrup, as it is very inexpensive to make and requires only a few basic ingredients. Formulas vary depending on where you find your recipe, but generally include distilled water, ginger root, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and raw honey. If you’re making the formula for children under the age of 2 years old, make sure you omit the honey, as it can cause botulism.
Fresh elderberry syrup can be stored in a clean glass jar and stored in the refrigerator for up to two months.
To take elderberry syrup as a preventative measure, adults should take 1 tablespoon daily. When ill, increase the dosage to 1 tablespoon, taken 4 times a day, for up to 5 days.
Children may take 1 teaspoon of elderberry syrup a day as a preventative measure. When sick, increase the dosage to 1 teaspoon, taken 4 times a day for up to 5 days.
Although elderberry syrup is considered safe for most people, you should avoid it if you have an autoimmune disease such as muscular sclerosis, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. An effect of elderberry syrup is that it stimulates the immune system, which may enhance the symptoms of individuals with these diseases.