The Berry Vs. The Bug

Wonderful Black Elderberries... thank you to indiskyz at freeimages.com

The Flu is one of those things that there are very few hilarious jokes about, or not online anyhow. It's because it's really anything but funny when you are laid up with mysterious aches and respiratory issues that sort of sneak up on you-- Fevers, congestion, headache, and sometimes a case of Norovirus thrown in just for variety. What's funny about that? (the funniest joke about flu is at the bottom of this post)

Nothing.

And how helpful have you found conventional Medicine to be when you are going through this sort of Hell?

Not very?

Well, I just got finished telling my friend June about a great natural way to take on the flu bug, and what did she do? She ran down to our local Health Food Store and cleaned them out of that particular dry berry so that when I went in later to stock up for our household-- GONE! Fortunately, there were a couple of made-up teas that included this wonder berry (I'll tell you what it is in a moment). And I know that June shared her purchase with another friend who is just getting over a nasty cold/flu bout, so can I be mad at her?

Never.

So, what about berries? Most of us have heard of the wonderful health-ful, high oxidant Blueberry-- and there is the yummy strawberry with its amazing super ration of Vitamin C, Elliagitannin (protecting our cells from free radicals) and antioxidants...

But...

Have you heard of the BLACK ELDERBERRY?

I hadn't heard of it until our botanically-gifted son pointed it out last summer flourishing in various yards of our neighborhood-- oh I was reminded of an Elton John song from the early 70s called "Elderberry Wine", but that was the extent of my familiarity. Now I know more, and I'd like to share that little wisdom with you, because it's powerful.

Some things I know about Elderberries:

  • Ingest only the Black Elderberry.  The Red Variety is poisonous.  Just like knowing about which wild mushrooms are edible, it's good to learn about what the Black Elderberry looks like before you do any 'wildcrafting' for your family's use.  There is a poisonous Water Hemlock tree that ALSO looks like the Black Elderberry-- it will definitely do damage if you eat those berries.  Go here to see an infographic that shows the difference between the Water Hemlock and the Black Elderberry.
  • You likely won't find any fresh or frozen elderberries in your local stores, but you probably will find the dry variety that I described above... you can make tea and even elixirs with the dry berries.  Try a health food store.
  • The Black Elderberry is a bush that can grow as high as six meters.  It likes growing where it is fairly moist for its roots.  Some people might confuse the above picture with "chokecherries", that Prairie berry that puckers you up, but the chokecherry is more at home where it is dry (as in the prairie) and is a member of the rose family, while the Elderberry is a member of the honeysuckle family.
  • Indigenous healers have been using the black elderberry for healing for hundreds of years, both in North America and Europe.  
  • Other parts of the Elderberry have healing properties as well (for example, the flowers can be dried and made into tea). But for the purposes of dealing with colds and flu, the berry is Queen.  Stick with the berry.
  • You can probably find Black Elderberry bushes growing somewhere in your neighborhood and can grow cultivated varieties in your backyard, as long as you can keep the roots moist during dry periods.  Here's a weird video from a farmer about 'natural' cultivation of elderberry trees (you must have farm animals I guess... or eat the berries and poop in your own yard..ewww). I personally have decided just to buy the plants from a nursery.
  • A study published in the 2002 Israeli Medical Association Journal looked at 5 herbal remedies, 3 of which contained black elderberry constituents. The remedies with the elderberry formulations activated an increased immune and anti-inflammatory response. The researchers concluded that the elderberry formulations studied could therefore have immuno-stimulatory properties when administered to patients suffering from influenza or EVEN immuno-depressed cancer and AIDS patients who are receiving chemotherapy or other treatments. (You can read more about this in this newsletter article
  • The European black elderberries are rich dietary sources of plant pigments and phenolic compounds- essentially, powerful phytonutrients. They contain the flavonols, quercetin-3-glucoside and quercetin-3-rutinoside, and a number of anthocyanins: a group of antioxidant compounds responsible for the attractive red, purple, and violet colours of many fruits, flowers, vegetables, and also elderberries. (And just a side-note: these same anthocyanins also produce a lovely "living" dye-- you can see how that process works in this video at about the 10:33 mark).
  • a  2011 study out of Germany demonstrated a very POWERFUL dose-response effect of elderberry liquid extract against dangerous bacterial infections and influenza viruses.  To put these results into plain English, the more elderberry (up to about 15% concentration) the better the effects against 4 known bacteria and dangerous flu viruses.  
  • And that's just a little about the Elderberry as a powerful anti-flu remedy-- there are at least 7 more super- natural and kabang anti-flu remedies that you might want to know about.  Find out by how you can get ALL the information you need HERE.

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The only slightly funny flu-joke I have come across:
The doctor tells the patient he has very bad flu. The patient says he wants a second opinion. The doctor says, ”OK, you’re ugly too”.
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Fresh, healthful vitamin-packed Juices are a fantastic addition to any detox or health improvement diet. You don't need a fancy juicer... a Blender and a Juicerless Nut Mylk Bag will do the trick! Find some great Nut Mylk and Juicerless recipes here.

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HOPE AND HELP FOR YOUR NERVES

Turn off the news. Throw away the newspaper. Get outside and go for a walk. Dr. Christiane Northrup said going for a walk is a perfectly acceptable form of treatment for certain types of depression!