Elderberries have been used for thousands of years for both their medicinal uses and in food preparation. It has been used to prevent or shorten the duration of herpes outbreaks, decrease pain and inflammation, and reduce symptoms of upper respiratory infections, with excellent results. Still, the magic maker is its ability to shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms by up to 3 days when measured against a placebo. This super berry is bar-none a year-round need to promote a robust immune system.
Scientifically speaking, elderberries are made up of the hemagglutinin protein, which has been shown to stop a virus's capability to replicate by inhibiting its ability to penetrate the cell wall, thereby preventing the virus from causing infection if taken before exposure. If you begin elderberry after infection, these proteins will prevent the virus from spreading, which reduces the duration of the symptoms of the viral illness.
Flavonoids are another plant-based chemical that places elderberries in the "antioxidant-rich," capable of preventing cell damage. These chemicals in the berries may help diminish swelling in mucous membranes like sinuses and help relieve nasal congestion.
Overall, elderberries are also an excellent source of fiber, with 40 percent of your daily intake need and Vitamin A providing 17 percent of the daily value need. Still, all this is eclipsed by the infection-fighting vitamin C with 87 percent – reportedly more than any other plant except for black currants and rosehips. Other prominent ingredients in elderberries include iron (13 percent of the daily value), potassium, vitamin B6, and lots of beta-carotene.