Many people enjoy juice or jam made with sambucus nigra or black elderberry, and you may have heard that this fruit has many properties that can help keep you healthy. For instance, it has plentiful antioxidants that help your body fight inflammation. However, its most important benefit for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other chronic lung diseases is its ability to help you fight cold and flu viruses. Here are 3 ways that elderberry helps with this task:
1. Prevents Cell Attachment
A key feature of viruses is that they have specific proteins on their exterior that allow them to attach to your body’s cells. By attaching itself to a body cell, the virus can inject its genetic material into the cell and take it over. In turn, this takeover allows it to use the cell to make more copies of the virus. Elderberry can help fight cold and flu viruses by blocking the proteins that attach viruses to your cells. This means that the virus can’t take over the cell, which makes it easier for the immune system to get rid of it.
2. Inhibits Virus Reproduction
If the cold or flu virus has already taken over a body cell, black elderberry can still be useful for fighting it. As discussed above, viruses hijack the cell’s reproductive mechanisms, and this allows them to make more copies of themselves and spread throughout the body. However, elderberries have phytochemicals called anthocyanins that can help stop viruses from reproducing. These chemicals are the same ones that give the berry its dark purple coloring. In fact, 1 study noted that elderberry is even more effective at stopping late-stage influenza virus reproduction than it is at stopping the virus from infecting the cell in the first place.
3. Boosts Immune System Response
Another effect that elderberry can have on the body is increasing the ability of the immune system to respond to cold and flu viruses. It can have this effect because it encourages the cells to produce more immune system messenger chemicals called cytokines. The increase in these chemicals helps the immune system fight viruses in 2 ways: They provide the immune system with faster notification of the infection, allowing it to attack the virus earlier. Also, the greater number of cytokines produced gives the immune system a better idea of where in the body the virus is. This allows the body to focus its disease-fighting resources more effectively.
Check With Your Doctor Before Using Elderberry
Elderberry comes in syrups and tablets that can be taken specifically to help fight a cold or the flu. As with many alternative treatments, you should ask your doctor before using elderberry. This will help ensure that you aren’t allergic to this fruit, and it can help decrease the risk of developing negative side effects. Also, keep in mind that elderberry treatments aren’t a replacement for your yearly flu shot.
Lung Health Institute Can Help Treat Chronic Lung Diseases
At Lung Health Institute, our health care team is ready to help you find ways to fight COPD, other chronic lung diseases and complications like colds and the flu.
One way that we can help fight all these things is with our Anti-Inflammatory Initiative™ plan. This plan is designed to provide information about lung-healthy foods, exercise tips and relaxation, but it can have other benefits for you too. It’s intended to help boost your immune system naturally, and this can help reduce your risk of developing lung infections. Also, these plans are designed to train your body to use fats to fight inflammation.
Another option that can help you is a minimally invasive procedure we’ve created called cellular therapy. This treatment option uses concentrated platelets and cells from your body to target lung disease. These platelets release healing properties that, when combined with proteins, growth factors and other beneficial cells, may promote healing in damaged tissue and reduce inﬂammation in your lungs.
Take the next step to Breathe Easier™. Contact a Lung Health Institute patient coordinator today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.