Elderberries are one of those herbs whose name is pretty well known. But what exactly are they and why do they work to aid healing in our bodies?
Let's get down to the "Nitty-Gritty" of this plant:
Elderberries are rich in the flavonoid Quercetin* - this is believed to account for most of the therapeutic properties of the berry. The therapeutic properties are best known to combat flu viruses and respiratory ailments. Elderberries contain a compound that inhibits the ability of the flu virus to penetrate cell membranes and invade the respiratory tract.
They have also shown to relieve allergies and hay fever, soothe sore throats, combat sinusitis and lower fevers. They are also great relief for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease and can serve as a gentle laxative.
Elderberries are full of tannins, amino acids, carotenoids, and Vitamins A and B. The high Vitamin C content in Elderberries account for the strong antioxidant properties that can protect against cell damage.
At NMM we ADVOCATE growing your own herbs! However, we know how busy everyone is -we want you to have Elderberries on hand ASAP. We have Elderberry Syrup Packets ready to go for when your family needs it immediately. (See the highlights of the Syrup Packets at the bottom of this post.)
PLEASE be careful when you are thinking about growing your own Elderberry Bush. There are some varieties that are poisonous. But fully ripe berries from the European Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) are NOT poisonous. Before consuming, these berries should be boiled down into a syrup, as they do contain low levels of naturally occurring toxins. By boiling, the toxins are completely removed, leaving a safe, toxin-free syrup that is high in antioxidants, and highly beneficial for the immune system.
The North American medicine people say the elderberry has the power to “strengthen the inner warrior.” Elderberries have a history as a healing food, as recorded in a 1633 book called The Anatomie of the Elder. This is a book of 230 pages dedicated to documenting the medicinal properties of every part of the elderberry plant. So if you are into REALLY researching this plant more, we recommend that you pick up a copy!
We love giving Elderberry Syrup to our families and highly recommend it for flu season!
Elderberry syrup Highlights
*Don't understand what a flavonoid is? Click herefor a more in depth article.
*Quoted from WebMD: Quercetin is used for treating conditions of the heart and blood vessels including “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), high cholesterol, heart disease, and circulation problems. It is also used for diabetes, cataracts, hay fever, peptic ulcer,schizophrenia, inflammation, asthma, gout, viral infections, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), preventing cancer, and for treating chronic infections of the prostate. Quercetin is also used to increase endurance and improve athletic performance.
The information on this page has not been evaluated by the FDA or any other medical experts. Statements on this web site are not intended to be a replacement for medical advice from your personal physician.
Basics Of Allergies & What To Do About It
Allergies are a complicated phenomena. They are very different for every person - an extremely individualized health issue. Basics of allergies are this:
1. Your immune system overreacts to taking or inhaling a usually harmless substance and it triggers an allergic reaction. (i.e. peanuts are deadly to some people, fine for others) It can be a food, medicine or plant. Sometimes it is pollen from a certain plant and it triggers hay fever.
2. When your immune system is in contact with the culprit, then your immune system releases histamines to various parts of your body; lungs, mucous membranes, nasal passages, etc. This results with inflammation and a various result of reactions like wheezing, sneezing, itching, sore throats and tearing up.
3. Then you are miserable!
1. Really pay attention to the triggers. I have known people to solve their allergy issues because of knowing the culprit (even the specific pollen bothering them) and finding a specific remedy for it. This takes work and a lot of NOTICING, but worth it if you suffer from seasonal allergies.
2. Once narrowing down the problem, obviously if you can avoid it, do that first! (i.e. my sister is deathly allergic to grapes, so easy for her to avoid).
3. Find natural helpers to ease the effects of allergies (we have a great one if you click on that link), and also do some detective work into herbs that really help to ease your issues personally.
No matter what (especially with SEASONAL allergies) since inflammation and comprising of the immune system is the problem, there are a few natural remedies that you can immediately start using to help:
1. Stinging Nettle: Doses of CONSISTENT use of Nettle can help the effects of histamine released in the body because of it's strong anti-inflammatory properties. Quote from Livestrong, "Low doses of stinging nettle can be used to counteract the effects of hay fever due to its strong anti-inflammatory effects. A 2009 report published in the journal "Phytotherapy Research" state stinging nettle demonstrated the ability to inhibit the inflammatory process associated with seasonal allergies*."
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Andrea has had seasonal allergies since moving to Southern Utah. Using Nettle in her everyday diet a couple times a day has made a HUGE difference for her personally.
2. Cayenne: Cayenne is considered as a "King Herb". It heals the body. When experiencing inflammation from allergies, Cayenne will help to release the mucous from your body before it builds up to fast. More detailed information about Cayenne.
3. Butterbur: This quote from WebMD says as much as we could about this herb being a GREAT antihistamine option:
"Among those generating the loudest buzz right now is the European herb butterbur (Petasites hybridus), which, says Mary Hardy (MD), "has had some very impressive clinical trial results."
In one study, published recently in the British Medical Journal, a group of Swiss researchers showed how just one tablet of butterbur extract (Ze 339) four times daily was as effective as a popular antihistamine drug in controlling symptoms of hay fever -- without the traditional symptom of drowsiness that sometimes occurs. In a second study, presented at the 60th annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), a group of British researchers put their stamp of approval on butterbur's effectiveness in quelling symptoms of grass allergy."
4. Goldenseal: This herb is popular for so many things. The anti-inflammatory properties of this herb are quite impressive. These properties make it potentially very powerful for those suffering the effects of histamine release. However - only use this herb for 3 weeks at a time, because it can build up in your tissues and become toxic. If you have allergies and you try it for 3 weeks, you should know by that time if it is going to help your body!
Why haven't we put together a product specifically for allergies?
The reason for this is because every body is SO DIFFERENT. What works for one person does not work for another with allergies. It is a very individualized problem.
However, we do believe the Flaming Throat Relief offers the best help for the effects that allergies can cause. It is a GREAT immune system builder as well.
Anxiety R&R has a high amount of Nettle in it as well.
*Herbs Act Best As Natural Anti-Histamine - Livestrong
At NMM we all have families and a lot of small kids. Flu season can be a tough time for a lot of mamas out there! Lately we have had several other people ask us this question:
"What do you do with your littles?"
So since flu season is upon us... what should you do? What will kids actually use? What will they actually accept without freaking out, running away, crying and whining?
Here are a few ideas:
1. First ask yourself... What have they been eating?
We OFTEN talk about "The Bug" going around... looking for something to blame getting sick on. Haven't you ever noticed that "the bug" usually goes around during the time of year that we are eating the worst? Hmmmm... YES the two are related.
Especially when littles are sick, STOP the processed sugar. Please. It is like a feeding ground for all those bugs and germs. Do not give their body MORE ability to get even more sick by putting more of it in their bodies.
Organic honey and agave are very soothing for throat issues - they can be used in moderation when giving natural medicine.
2. Make them a green drink. At our house we call it "The Strong Hulk Shake".... then sneak in those herbs.
This method for getting more herbs works for any child that is eating solids (as long as you have already given them these foods and there are no allergies).
We make this with coconut milk (loaded with calcium), apples (you know all the good stuff there), pineapple (loaded with Vitamin C), small banana (potassium), lime juice and a few drops of orange essential oil... then pack it with spinach and/or kale. Usually add some ice for the chilling factor.
At NMM we try to take advantage of EVERY opportunity to "sneak" in powdered herbs.
For a dry cough and diarrhea problems you can sneak in some Slippery Elm Bark Powder. For anything respiratory you can sneak in Mullein Powder. There are SO MANY other powdered herbs you can sneak in... so if you have a question about it, let us know.
Another easy way to sneak in herbs, for those kids who don't want to take capsules, is to add them to applesauce and yogurt.
3. Massage like crazy.
This is excellent to do with any child that will let you. We use what is known as Thieves Oil (we make our own) but you can buy it through various essential oil companies. At DoTerra it is know as On Guard.
NMM Andrea (Certified Massage Therapist and Bodyworker) regularly does this with her six year old son, four year old daughter and two year old son. This is what she says:
"Using a carrier oil start with your child's legs (I use coconut oil). Cover their leg with the oil with long strokes... it usually feels really good to them, especially if your child is sick. If it is an older child you can do this with their lower leg as well to be more non-invasive. After covering their leg with the carrier oil then drop the essential oil on their leg and massage in. Between 2-4 drops depending on the size of your child for each limb or area.
Then go to the next leg, their arms and their tummy and chest doing the same thing. Have them lay on their tummy and rub their back. This usually takes about 15 minutes, and it is excellent quality time with them as well."
4. Elderberry Syrup
Last, but not least, we highly recommend Elderberry Syrup. We wrote a whole blog post about this syrup, what is in it and how it can help your family. It is IDEAL to give to the littles because it is very easy to make it to taste very good.
NMM Kalea said, "We used the Elderberry Syrup at the beginning of the season last year and it helped us tremendously. I ended up using it as a pancake syrup because I had sweetened it with pure maple syrup! It was so easy to get it in my kids bodies."
NMM Introduction & Experience
We want to give a quick run down of our group!
1. Paula: Mom of the Mamas. She taught us everything we know. She is also very much a master herbalist (she is modest and doesn't say so) with 30+ years of practicing natural medicine and herbs.
2. Goldie: Fitness and Coach. She loves working out and helping the body reach it's full potential. Her energy is contagious and she puts together amazing meal plans!
3. Andrea: Professional Body Worker/Massage Therapist. 15+ years experience. She is trained in all kinds of modalities for body work including sports, cranial-sacral, deep tissue, headache specialist, chinese bodywork, etc.
4. Mesha: Cardiac Nurse. 20 years experience. She knows everything about everything! Helps us have a great balance with natural medicine and western medicine.
5. Kalea: Professional Horticulturist. 10 years experience. She is super talented at plant identification and helping us grow our own stuff so we aren't reliant on outside sources.
We are the NMM's! Read more about us by clicking on the photo.
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