Interest in the health benefits of elderberry has grown substantially in 2021 as more people pursue better nutrition, new fitness routines, and increased immunity. We've created this Elderberry 101 guide to help get you started!
What Are the Health Benefits of Elderberry?
The benefits of elderberry are so numerous, we call it a wonder-berry! Elderberries are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and fiber.
There are many different types of elderberries: black elderberry, American elder, dwarf elder, danewort, antelope brush, and blue elderberry. The most widely used elderberry is the black elderberry, sambucus negra, which is native to Central Europe.
The black elderberry contains the highest level of polyphenols (bioactive flavonols like quercetin, phenolic acids, and anthocyanins) of any in the elder family and has traditionally been used for its medicinal benefits.
Elderberries have been used in folk medicine for centuries. Historically, humans have used elderberry to combat cold viruses, sinusitis, and influenza as well as a diuretic and laxative (when consuming increased amounts).
In fact, elderberries are poisonous in their raw and natural state and must be cooked and appropriately prepared for safe human consumption. That's why we always recommend sourcing your organic elderberry syrup from a licensed producer - like Montana Elderberry!
The body of research on the health benefits of elderberry has grown in recent years. In a 2018 study of 180 participants, the Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal reported:
"Supplementation with elderberry was found to substantially reduce upper respiratory symptoms... These findings present an alternative to antibiotic misuse for upper respiratory symptoms due to viral infections, and a potentially safer alternative to prescription drugs for routine cases of the common cold and influenza."
Additionally, a 2000 study of 60 people suffering from influenza found that consuming 15ml of elderberry syrup 4 times daily showed symptom improvement 4 days sooner than those that did not consume elderberry.
Similar results were found in a separate 2016 study of 312 air travelers on an intercontinental flight out of Australia. For those travelers that fell ill and consumed elderberry extract, the severity and duration of cold symptoms were significantly reduced.
The benefits of elderberry for kids are the same as for adults - and thankfully - kids absolutely love our Organic Elderberry Syrup. Our 4 kids request it daily!
What Makes the Best Organic Elderberry Syrup?
The best organic elderberry syrup is one which contains all natural, organic ingredients and is sweetened with raw unfiltered honey. There are many reasons for this!
Firstly, most of the world's black elderberries are sourced from Eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary, Ukraine) where the agricultural regulations are often less strict than the U.S. and Canada. Knowing the elderberries used in your syrup are certified organic provides peace of mind that you and your family are not being exposed to any foreign contaminants.
The same goes for the other natural ingredients in elderberry syrup like ceylon cinnamon, ginger root, and clove. There's absolutely no reason why your syrup needs to have non-organic ingredients, added sugars, artificial preservatives, or fillers!
While other elderberry syrup producers provide shelf-stable pasteurized products, we at Montana Elderberry believe in the benefits of fresh, raw, and whole foods that often require refrigeration - just like our organic elderberry syrup!
Raw Honey Benefits
We believe that a raw unfiltered honey is by far the best way to sweeten organic elderberry syrup. It truly is a superfood!
The reasons to choose raw honey vs. regular honey are numerous. Raw honey is natural honey that has been taken directly from the hive and honeycomb and never heated above 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most raw honey contains over 30 polyphenols which have antioxidant properties as well as 33 minerals, 22 amino acids, vitamins, and antimicrobial and antibacterial enzymes. Wow!
Most regular honeys found in the grocery store are processed, filtered, and pasteurized (meaning they have undergone high heat treatment). This removes many, if not most, of the beneficial bioactive plant compounds and destroys the enzymes responsible for honey's antimicrobial properties.
Further, nearly 70% of the honey consumed in the U.S. every year is actually imported from outside of the country. Many of these foreign "honey" products have been mixed with additional sweeteners or fillers such as high fructose corn syrup.
To avoid these issues, always examine the product and nutrition labels and select a honey that is raw and harvested within the United States.
Raw Unfiltered Honey
One important aspect to consider when selecting a raw honey is whether or not it has been filtered. When a honey is filtered, the bee pollen and propolis are removed along with their many benefits.
Bee pollen is a mixture of flower pollen, of course, as well as nectar, wax, and enzymes. Pollen is the main source of food for the hive and packs a strong nutritional punch!
Frequently deemed "Nature's perfect food", bee pollen contains over 250 bioactive compounds including vitamins, minerals, antibiotics, antioxidants, and fatty acids. Additionally, research has linked it to increased immunity and wound healing. You definitely want bee pollen in your honey!
Propolis is another compound created by bees. They collect the sappy resin found on tree bark and leaves and combine it with nectar and wax to create a special coating for their hives. Humans have used propolis since 300 BC and it is still used today as an anti-infection topical.
Not all raw unfiltered honeys are created equal, however! Knowing the location of where the honey is produced and harvested is important when you consider where the bees are collecting their pollens and nectars from.
If bees spend most of their time foraging in fields of pesticide-coated plants, their pollen and nectar (and therefore honey) are going to contain those chemicals as well.
That's why we at Montana Elderberry have sought out honey suppliers in remote, mountain areas. It makes us feel good to know that the wonderful bees making the raw unfiltered honey for our syrups are spending their days in alpine areas, flying from Montana wildflowers to larch trees, collecting a vast variety of natural pollens.
Organic Elderberry Syrup Recipe
We believe that eating and enjoying raw whole foods is the best way to fuel your body and take in all the vitamins, antioxidants, and polyphenol flavonols necessary to thrive. That's why we keep our organic elderberry syrup recipe really simple!
We use only organic black elderberries, ceylon cinnamon, ginger root, and cloves to brew our syrup. Elderberry juice is very tart on its own, so we add raw unfiltered honey from the mountains of Montana to sweeten it up.
We wait until the juice has cooled to below 95 degrees Fahrenheit and then mix the honey in, paying careful attention to maintain all the raw honey benefits outlined above. All of these unique benefits combined is how we offer the best organic elderberry syrup!
How To Take Elderberry Syrup
In general, the suggested daily use for Montana Elderberry's organic elderberry syrup is 1 Tablespoon per adult and 1 Teaspoon per child, aged one year or older. (Any elderberry syrup with honey in it should not be given to a child under 12 months of age). These suggested amounts may be taken up to 4 times daily, as needed.
How to take elderberry syrup is entirely up to you! Most people enjoy the syrup on its own because it's delicious, quick, and an easy part of your daily health and wellness routine.
Others enjoy mixing it into sparkling water, iced tea, or lemonade, pouring it over oatmeal or cottage cheese, or even as a mixer in a favorite elderberry cocktail. Some of our customers have even mixed our organic elderberry syrup with gelatin to make elderberry gummies. We highly recommend all of the above!