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Sambucus Nigra: The Benefits of Elderberry

There are few herbal medicines as versatile or as potent as elderberry. The use of Sambucus nigra dates back to 400 BC, when Hippocrates referred to it as his ‘medicine chest’. Today, elderberries are considered to be among the most healing plants on earth, and they're delicious as well.

Sambucus Nigra Benefits

The Sambucus nigra plant is rich in antioxidants and vitamins and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Known as Jie Gu Mu in traditional Chinese medicine, this incredible herb is used to treat a plethora of ailments: colds and flu, headaches, tonsillitis, and fever, to name a few.

Sambucus nigra elderberry is an excellent source of vitamin C, offering 6 to 35 mg per 100 g of fresh berries - up to 60% of the minimum recommended daily allowance. Additionally, this berry has a high fiber content, and both elderberries and their flowers are very rich in antioxidant phenolic acids, which have anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

The healing powers of the elderberry go much further; the nutrients it contains may help to strengthen your immune system, especially for warding off flu symptoms. They could also aid in reducing inflammation, alleviating stress, and safeguarding your heart's health.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Jie Gu Mu is used to clear heat, dispel damp, tonify the lungs, reduce inflammation, and release the exterior. The herb traverses both the lung and kidney meridians, making it an ideal tonic for strengthening our lung Qi (immunity) and kidney Qi (the powerhouse energy storehouse of the body).

Additionally, Jie Gu Mu is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to induce sweating, which is believed to have the ability to expel certain illnesses from the body. This can be beneficial in the early stages of colds and flu in order to literally ‘sweat out’ the bacteria.

Elderberry has a wide range of applications, and it may be found in a variety of forms, including syrups, candies, lozenges, tablets, and teas. It can also be used in body creams, food coloring, jams, and wines.

Studies on the Health Benefits of Elderberries

Because of the popularity of elderberries in herbal medicine, many studies have been conducted to test their health benefits.

Various tests on its efficacy in reducing cold and flu symptoms have been performed, including a study done in Australia in 2016. 312 participants took 300 mg capsules of elderberry extract three times daily, and while they were not exempt from flu symptoms, it was revealed that those who became ill had a shorter duration and less intense symptoms.

Additionally, elderberries may be effective for improving heart health. A study done at the University of Connecticut found that mice with high cholesterol who consumed black elderberries reduced the amount of cholesterol in both their livers and aortas.

They may also be beneficial for people suffering from Type 2 diabetes, as regular consumption of elderberry extract can increase insulin secretion and improve blood sugar levels, according to this study.

Side Effects and Precautions of Sambucus Nigra

The parts of the elderberry tree used for medicine are the flowers, cooked berries, and the inner bark. The outer bark and uncooked berries contain small amounts of a form of cyanide, so it is best to source your elderberry supplements from an experienced practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The good news is that commercial extracts and cooked berries do not contain any cyanide, and are 100% safe to consume. Symptoms of eating uncooked berries or other parts of the elderberry tree include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Sambucus nigra is not recommended for children or adolescents under 18 years old, pregnant women, or nursing mothers. Despite the fact that no adverse events have been reported in these groups, there is not enough data to confirm that it is safe.

Final Thoughts

The elderberry plant offers plenty of incredible benefits, both in Western and traditional Chinese medicine. From lessening cold and flu symptoms to improving heart health, this versatile plant is nothing short of a miracle cure.

While Jie Gu Mu is completely safe to consume when prepared properly, there is some potential danger when administering it yourself without a professional present. Contact your GP or an experienced practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine before taking elderberry as a remedy.

Book your Tradional Chinese Medicine Consultation with our natural health specialist, Yair Danon, to learn how you can use Sambucus nigra to benefit your health and wellbeing.


This blog is intended to provide general information regarding health and related topics. The information and other materials offered in this blog, website, or any other linked materials are not meant to be used in place of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be regarded as such. Please consult with a medical doctor or natural health specialist before starting a new medication, treatment, or natural supplement.


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