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Can Elderberry help with Coronavirus?

What are Black Elderberries?

Black Elderberry (sambucus nigra) is the oldest medicinal herb cultivated by man, and has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Ashbolt Farm products are 100% Australian, grown here on our farm in Tasmania. We have been growing elders and producing both elderflower and elderberry extracts in Tasmania for over 20 years.  

Elderberries contain vitamins A and B1, B2 and B6; and high levels of vitamin C along with amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids powerful antioxidants properties that protect cells against damage. The purple pigment of Black Elderberry contains high levels of anthocyanin. Research has shown that anthocyanins can boost the production of cytokines, the proteins that act as messengers within the immune system, enhancing the body’s immune response.

What is Elderberry used for? 

Our customers regularly tell us how taking our elderberry based concentrates prevented them from succumbing to the effects of cold and flu, while those around them fell victim. Whether this is placebo or not, this is in line with the long history of being used in the treatment of influenza, common colds, coughs and upper respiratory, bacterial and viral infections. 

In response to current world events, this has inevitably led to questions about whether it is effective against coronavirus strains. 

The immune system consists of a complex collection of cells, processes, and chemicals that constantly defend your body against invading pathogens, including viruses, toxins, and bacteria. We bolster our immune system when we eat nutritious foods and get enough sleep and exercise.

Including Elderberry extracts as part of your healthy regime may help avoid other complications such as coming down with common colds and flu symptoms.

There is no research that currently supports the use of any supplement to protect against COVID-19 specifically. The only sanctioned advice is to practise strict social distancing and heightened personal hygiene, including regular hand washing.

The following is a summary of research to assist our customers make informed decisions. We are not medical experts and don’t make any claims that our products are proven to be medicinal. Please consult your own medical practitioner or source further information from peer-reviewed medical sources and potential side effects.

Elderberry and coronavirus studies and further research

There are promising indications that the compounds in elderberries have an ability to inhibit multiple flu virus’s entry and replication in human cells. The University of Oxford recently published a thesis that suggests Elderberry extract from fruit and flowers appears to show some inhibitory effect against many micro-organisms including influenza and other enveloped viruses including the novel coronavirus. 

Other research showed a positive impact on coronavirus infections. In 2014, researchers at Emory University noted that elderberry extract inhibited coronavirus virility at the point of infection.  The scientists hypothesised that it rendered the virus non infectious. In a study from National Sun Yat Sen University and the China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan in 2019, the researchers used an ethanol extract of Sambucus stem (not the berry) and observed its potential against coronavirus strain NL63. 

Under laboratory conditions at Justus Liebig University in Germany, elderberry was shown to be very effective against several bacteria that are responsible for pneumonia during flu-like infections, and against Influenza A and B viruses in particular. Black Elderberry contains a unique compound called Antivirin® that can help protect healthy cells and inactivate infectious viruses. When given to patients, it was found to ward off flu infections quickly (Zakay-Rones 2004).

For more reading about the antioxidant properties and health benefits of visit the Journal of Functional Food 

What else can you do with Ashbolt Farm produce?

Our Ashbolt Farm Tasmania traditionally made elderberry concentrates / syrups may build your immune system and will certainly uplift your spirit!

Our Elderberry Concentrates are just delicious splashed into sparkling water and cocktails or drizzled on pancakes, porridge, yoghurt or ice cream. 

For a pick me up – add a few teaspoons to hot water, with a slice of lemon and ginger tea. For a warming tipple on a cold winter’s night – just add your favourite liqueur – Cointreau, gin and whisky all go well. Check out our Ashbolt Farm Recipe page for inspiration on how to make these.

We have two versions of Elderberry syrups which both contain the same amount of concentrated elderberry juice. The only difference is that our original Elderberry Concentrate is sweetened with cane sugar, and our No Added Sugar Elderberry Concentrate is sweetened with grape juice.

If you are looking for a way to gift Tasmanian made produce to friends or family? We’ve got a range of great gourmet Tasmanian gifts in the form of Tasmanian Hampers stocked with Ashbolt Farm products. We deliver throughout Tasmania and beyond, so have a look at our Tasmanian Hampers page or order our Elderberry products here.