A new study says that eating elderberries, a popular ancient remedy, can help minimize your flu symptoms. And who doesn’t love that idea?
I tend to eyeroll heavily whenever people talk about alternative medicine simply replacing medicine. But I admit to liking the moments when science steps in and says that there is some truth to why some remedies have been popular and used since ancient times. Plus, when it comes to flu symptoms, we really need all the help we can get.
A new study from researchers at the University of Sydney reveals that eating elderberries does help with your flu symptoms.
How does eating elderberries help?
The study, conducted by Professor Fariba Deghani, Dr Golnoosh Torabian and Dr Peter Valtchev as part of the ARC Training Centre for the Australian Food Processing Industry, established thata few select compounds found in elderberries can directly inhibit the virus's entry and replication in human cells, but can help strengthen your immune response to the virus.
"What our study has shown is that the common elderberry has a potent direct antiviral effect against the flu virus. It inhibits the early stages of an infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for both the viral attachment and entry into the host cells," said Dr. Golnoosh Torabian.
It had been known that the flu-fighting properties of the phytochemicals in elderberries existed, but this team actually provided reason as to why and how they work.
The commercially farmed elderberries were turned into a juice serum and applied to cells before, during, and after these had been infected with the flu. What happened? The phytochemicals stopped the virus from infecting the cells, but they also worked when it came to inhibiting the viral propagation, when cells had already been infected.
"This observation was quite surprising and rather significant because blocking the viral cycle at several stages has a higher chance of inhibiting the viral infection," explained Dr. Peter Valtchev.
"In addition to that, we identified that the elderberry solution also stimulated the cells to release certain cytokines, which are chemical messengers that the immune system uses for communication between different cell types to coordinate a more efficient response against the invading pathogen," said Centre Director, Professor Fariba Deghani.
So, next time you’re in bed with the flu, do yourself a favor and have some of those great elderberries! You can even turn them into jam!