Elderberry is obtained from the berries of the elder plant. The berries are picked selectively and dried before making elderberry tea because dried berries can be preserved easily for a long time. They give a tart taste (acidic, to be more accurate, it tastes like lemon or vinegar). Although, it is famous among a large number of population, many people are still unaware of the elderberry tea benefits.
The elderberry plant comes under the family of Sambucus Nigra, and they are fashioned as elderflowers. The elderberry plant grows up to 9 meters, and the berries burst into white clusters of tiny yellowish-white flowers. The elderberries needed to be cooked before consumption, and they give dark purple coloring due to the abundance of anthocyanins, which is flavored with a tart taste. Elderberry tea benefits were examined many centuries ago.
1. Origin of Elderberry
Elderberry has been considered to be super fruit since time immemorial. These berries have been traditionally used as folk medicine from Ancient Greek to Egyptians and the Native Americans to treat many diseases. Bright and bold-fashioned elderberries were considered to be precious and life-saving. In Greek mythology, those who worship and are followers of Venus and Holle believed the elderberry tree (historically referred to as the Sambucus tree) was a sacred place.
2. Nutritional Content
1 cup of elderberry contains the following nutritional values, including calories and carbs.
- Nutrition Calories: 106
- Fat: 0.7 g
- Fiber: 10 g
- Carbohydrates: 27 g
- Calcium: 55 mg
- Potassium: 406 mg
- Sodium: 9 mg
- Vitamin A: 870 mg
- Vitamin C: 55.2 mg
Let us explore what are all the elderberry tea benefits.
3. Health Benefits of Elderberry Tea
3.1. Activates Immune System
Reactive molecules accumulate in your body that cause oxidative stress and may lead to type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. The elderberry plants’ every part (flowers, leaves, and fruits) is an excellent source of bioactive antioxidants, preventing cell damage that can eventually lead to diseases. Antioxidants in elderberry tea benefits us in many terms, such as the reduced risk of cancers, enhanced immune function, and lowered blood pressure.
Antioxidants are helpful in the absorption of vitamin C in our body. Immune responses are mediated by vitamin C, which performs many vital processes like the synthesis of collagen and immunomodulatory effects.
You may wonder what collagens are and why they need to be synthesized.
Collagen is a protein produced naturally by our body and the connective tissues are made by collagens. The overproduction of collagen is termed Scleroderma, and this complication can damage the connective tissue under the skin and the internal organs, and the blood vessels too. Hence, vitamin C is required to synthesize these collagens before they accumulate much.
Some studies revealed that elderberries could boost immunity to a far extent and these berries are loaded with several minerals (like calcium, potassium, and sodium), dietary fiber, fat, and proteins. These bio compounds further contribute to the activation of immune function.
Consuming elderberry tea benefits us by increasing the production of inflammatory cytokinins; also, it rises the defense against harmful bacteria and viruses and protects against oxidative cell damage. Polyphenols extracted from elderberry have increased the white blood cell (WBC) count in the body, which is highly beneficial in fighting against infection.
3.2. Improves Cold and Flu Symptoms
Most of us love the winter season, especially for the cold weather, which is a perfect time to enjoy and become lazy. We crave the things like sleeping for long hours and drinking hot drinks such as tea, coffee, or soup.
Elderberry tea is remarkably fabulous to drink during cold and flu season. It satisfies our cravings and adds medicinal properties against cold and flu symptoms, including headache, sore throat, fatigue, and cough.
These berries help to treat respiratory tract infections and their complications through the increased production of inflammatory cytokines.
Research suggests that elderberries can help treat influenza; patients suffering from influenza were given elderberry extract to reduce the severity of influenza symptoms. There is no information about the recommended dosage, but for treating influenza, take 15 mL of elderberry syrup 4 times per day and continue for 5 days. It can potentially inhibit the growth of the flu virus and boost immunity.
3.3. Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Drinking elderberry tea regularly may benefit your heart health elderberry may have high amounts of fiber which reduces the excessive levels of fat in blood and cholesterol.
A study on Heart Health And Elderberry Juice revealed that this tea could reduce fat in the blood and decrease bad cholesterol. An animal study conducted among mice with high cholesterol served with elderberry reduced the amount of cholesterol in the liver but not in the blood.
High blood pressure is very common in the current generation; this may be due to exam stress, workload, and family pressure, which affects the arteries. High blood pressure is also termed hypertension.
Normal blood pressure is about 120/80 mm Hg or even lower. If the blood pressure rises between 130 to 139 mm Hg causes Stage 1 Hypertension, and if it crosses over 140 mm Hg or more causes Stage 2 Hypertension which is a state of critical emergency as there is a chance of heart attack and stroke.
Richness in potassium has effectively reduced the risk of high blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and scientifically reducing the death of ischemic heart disease by 49 percent.
Elderberry tea contains the crucial component known as anthocyanin. As we have read before, anthocyanin gives dark purple color but is a crucial component in protecting the inner walls of the blood vessels from hypertension and oxidative stress.
Also, it has anti-inflammatory properties; thus, it has been used as folk medicine to treat dental pain and cuts.
3.4. Help in Weight Loss
Adding elderberry tea to your diet may benefit weight loss because these berries are fiber-rich. In a study conducted on eighty volunteers and the result was convincing.
3.4.1. Role of Blood Sugar
Consuming elderberry tea can help lower blood sugar levels as they inhibit the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which raises the glucose level in the blood.
How blood sugar level is associated with weight loss?
Body cholesterol is divided into three categories: LDL (low-density lipoprotein), HDL (high-density lipoprotein), and triglycerides. The problem lies with LDL, which is best referred to as bad cholesterol. The elevation of bad cholesterol is linked with saturated fat intake. More and more accumulation and generation of cholesterol are stimulated using elevated blood sugar levels, thus, resulting in obesity and overweight.
3.4.2. Role of Proper Digestion
Proper digestion can facilitate weight loss because indigestion may lead to complications like bloating, constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, and gas. Digestion may be a marginal factor for weight gain, but if there is no proper breakdown of food, removal of wastage may seriously affect the body’s metabolism, retarding the expected weight loss percentage.
3.4.3. Role of Anxiety and Sleep
Mental stability and fitness are also linked with staying fit and healthy. Increased stress factor releases the hormone called Cortisol which leads to weight gain. Sleeplessness could also be a serious cause of weight gain because lack of sleep induces the hunger hormone called Ghrelin which increases blood glucose.
Phytochemicals in elderberry have been linked with the improvement of abnormal mood swings and mood disorders, for instance, Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) in women. Drinking elderberry tea can relieve daily stress and keep you fresh and motivated.
For better results, add elderberry tea to your weight loss diet and continue your workouts (for your body) and yoga practices (for mind and soul).
3.5. Disease Prevention
Prevention is said to be always better than cure. Staying fit and healthy is a crucial discipline that must be followed to extend our lives naturally and to inhibit chronic disease, infections, and cancer prevention.
Elderberries contain Quercetin which is believed to inhibit the proliferation of cancer (prostate, cervical, lung, colon, and breast) to nearby organs and stabilize immune response during cancer treatment.
As these berries regulate blood sugar levels, they benefit us in managing Diabetes and prevent it from developing into Type 2 Diabetes or any other diseases linked to it. Although elderberries possess medicinal benefits, consult a doctor before adding them to your diet.
3.6. Protects Skin
The health benefits of elderberry tea also protect our skin from UV radiation. The anthocyanins, which are responsible for the bright purple color, present in elderberry can protect against harmful sun rays.
The abundance of antioxidants, polyphenols, and vitamin C contains anti-inflammatory properties and is a detoxifying agent. They also prevent skin-distressing conditions like cuts and scratches and lighten scars.
4. Other Health Benefits
4.1. Resolves Kidney-Related Issues
Elderberry has been traditionally used for kidney and urinary tract infections (UTIs). The recommended dosage is 500 mL per day for 12 weeks.
4.2. May Aid in Epilepsy
Seizures are sudden uncontrollable electrical disturbances in the brain that cause unconsciousness. Two or more seizures that occur without a specific cause are diagnosed as epilepsy. Elderberry extract helps the patient to recover as early as possible.
5. How to Make Perfect Elderberry Tea
Making elderberry tea is very easy. Let us see what is required and its preparatory method.
- 1 cup of water
- 2-3 tablespoons of elderberries
- 1 cinnamon stick or a few slices of ginger
- Slices of lemon (optional)
- Cloves (optional)
- Drop some dried elderberries, a cinnamon stick or ginger, a few slices of lemon, and cloves in a pot, and add water.
- Stir it. You can observe the tart berries giving out dark purple color already.
- Put the pot on the stove, bring the water to a boil, then keep the heat low.
- Leave it on simmer for 15-20 minutes. Put a lid on the pot.
- Turn off the stove.
- Leave the pot for about 5 minutes to cool.
- You may need a strainer to filter the tea.
- For sweetness, add raw honey or any other sweetener.
- Your delicious elderberry tea is ready to serve. Enjoy the refreshingly tart taste in every sip.
6. Downsides of Elderberry tea
Elderberries are appreciable for their absolute relevance for many health benefits, but like any other berries, they have some side effects too. The harsh effects are too worried only intake crosses the limit, and it is reliably safe to consume under a restricted binge.
Uncooked raw elderberries contain trace amounts of cyanogenic glycosides, which may release cyanide in some situations, you need not worry because they are present in very few amounts, and eating in large amounts could cause indigestion due to the presence of lectin.
To avoid discomfort, buy berries from health food stores as they are processed in such a manner to remove the traces of cyanide, and there has been no fatality report regarding the consumption of cooked elderberries.
In recent times, no negative effects have been reported, but still, there is not enough data to ensure it is safe. So, it is not recommended for children below 18 and pregnant women.
7. Frequently Asked Questions
7.1. Can I Drink Elderberry Tea Regularly?
Yes, you can drink elderberry tea completely from caffeine, which contains many medicinal values that help you keep yourself healthy.
7.2. Can Elderberry Disturb the Menstrual Cycle?
There is no evidence that elderberry intake affects the menstrual cycle, but excess consumption can make your stomach to feel sore.
7.3. What Is the Taste of Elderberry Tea?
The elderberry tea tastes sour and acidic; to be more familiar, they taste like lemon.
7.4. Do Elderberry Cause Cytokine Storms?
No. This is a common misconception that eating elderberry can cause cytokine storms. The main cause of cytokine storms is an uncontrollable inflammatory response triggered by the immune system. Conversely, elderberries act as immune stability moderators.
7.5. Are Unripe Berries Poisonous?
Yes. The elder plant is poisonous, including leaves, stems, and raw berries. They contain cyanogenic glycosides, which release cyanides in some situations. Cooked or processed elderberries are safer to consume.
7.6. Can Pregnant Women Consume Elderberry Tea?
There are not enough supporting pieces of evidence that elderberry is safe for pregnant women. It is always safe to avoid elderberry during pregnancy.
7.7. When Is There a Need for a Doctor?
If you experience signs and symptoms, including wheezing, fever, skin irritation, swelling of the face and lips, and throat infection, reach for a doctor immediately.