The coronavirus pandemic has put all of us on fight or flight mode. Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve all been desperately looking for ways to boost our immune system and prepare our bodies to effectively fight off the virus if the time comes. If you’ve been on the search for natural coronavirus remedies, you’ve certainly heard of elderberry once or twice. Elderberry is a known immune-boosting remedy. Many people have been turning to it during this pandemic in the hopes that it will help prevent or fight off the virus.
The big question is: how are elderberry and coronavirus related? What makes elderberry medicinal? Can you use elderberry for coronavirus prevention? How exactly can elderberry influence your body’s fight against the coronavirus? You’ll find the answers to all of these questions below.
What Makes Elderberry Medicinal?
Elderberry is anti-inflammatory, packed with fiber, and extremely high in antioxidants. But why are antioxidants important and what do they do? This study by Lobo et al. explains this in detail. What antioxidants do is fight off free radicals. Free radicals are unpaired molecules that roam around in your body and may interfere with various other molecules, disrupting your body and overall health. Your body accumulates many free radicals every day from various internal sources (your bodily functions) or external sources (such as pollutants or chemicals in the air).
If your body does not have enough antioxidants to fight off the free radicals, you experience oxidative stress. This may result in a weakened immune system and the development of various diseases. Your body produces antioxidants itself but those are rarely enough to keep a healthy body and immune system. For this reason, you should always focus on an antioxidant-rich diet. Here are the antioxidants in elderberry:
How May Elderberry Help or Hurt in the Fight Against the Coronavirus?
As you now know, elderberry is great at boosting the immune system, which means that it’s an excellent measure to take if you want to ensure your body is capable of fighting off the virus. There is also evidence to believe that elderberry helps fight off the cold and flu. In a study on air travelers by Tiralongo et al., it was concluded that taking elderberry reduced the severity and duration of common cold symptoms in travelers.
What about elderberry and coronavirus? Since COVID-19 is still very new, there isn’t yet much research on how elderberry can help or hurt in the fight against it. However, there is reason to believe that while elderberry is a great preventative measure, you should stop taking it once you feel coronavirus symptoms and suspect you may have contracted the virus. Let’s explain why in detail.
According to a study by Barak et al., elderberry promotes the production of cytokines, which are chemicals in the body that help boost the immune system and fight infection. However, they’re only beneficial in small quantities. If released in excessive amounts, they can result in a life-threatening inflammatory reaction called a cytokine storm. According to a study by Hojyo et al., the high mortality of COVID-19 is precisely due to the cytokine storm it causes. Taking elderberry when you have the coronavirus may increase the severity of the cytokine storm and put you at higher risk of complications.
So elderberry and coronavirus don’t exactly go hand-in-hand. If you begin to notice symptoms, it’s best to stop taking elderberry immediately. However, elderberry is still an excellent way to prevent yourself from contracting the virus and boost your immune system.