Which herbs best support our immunity?
Published by Calivita Partner in Immune Support · 20 March 2023
Tags: immunity, elderberry, Echinacea, Astragalus
Tags: immunity, elderberry, Echinacea, Astragalus
Folk medicine is derived from the wisdom gained through thousands of years of using herbs, minerals, water and earth elements. In every corner of the Earth, people were looking for ways to heal, thus gaining valuable knowledge that they passed on to their descendants. Today we have the opportunity to learn and use all that is possible through the history of accumulated wisdom. Thus, traditional eastern medicine (Chinese medicine), Native American folk medicine and European folk medicine met in Samburex through elderberry, purple coneflower (Echinacea) and astragalus (Astragalus) to soothe colds. Echinacea is one of the best-known immune boosting plants; strengthens the body's natural immunity, supports the work of the immune system and the upper respiratory tract. Astragalus in combination with echinacea is a very effective means of strengthening natural immunity. The action of SambuRex products is additionally enhanced by vitamin C, which contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system and protects cells from oxidative stress.
The common link of all beliefs and folk tales about the elderberry is its protective role. The elderberry tree was sacred throughout northern and western Europe, and all its parts were considered a blessing and a gift from the mother earth that lived in it. Songs dedicated to this plant were sung - in England it was Elderly mother, in Denmark Hyldemoer, in Germany Frau holle. The ability of this plant to sprout from damaged branches and release roots from cuttings symbolized regeneration.
For the Celts, elderberry was a symbol of birth and death. According to the Celtic horoscope, people born in the sign of elderberry (November 25 to December 23) are prone to research, competent, like to be free, have a lot of luck in life. The healing properties of elderberry were even admired by Shakespeare in the comedy "Merry Wives of Windsor" in the words: "What does my Aesculapius, my Galen, my elderberry heart say?"
What healing properties does elderberry have
It is mentioned already in the times of Hippocrates, Pliny the Elder, Galen. In the 1653 book Complete Herbal, Nicholas Culpeper rated this plant as more useful than other herbs. It was raised high again by the 19th-century German Catholic priest Sebastian Kneipp, who is credited with reviving naturopathic medicine in Europe. Elderberry was most commonly used for acute respiratory infections. It has also been used as a body tonic, especially for children, which can be explained by its fairly high levels of folic acid and minerals, and red pigments.
How does elderberry work as an antiviral against colds and flu?
In the 1990s, it was discovered that the active substances (probably anthocyanins) in elderberries prevent the transmission and multiplication of influenza viruses in vitro. Substances contained in elderberries stimulate the part of the immune system responsible for the first line of defense against dangerous microorganisms. Therefore, elderberries are ideal for prevention and early stages of infection.
Mechanisms of antiviral action
- Elderberry can prevent the virus from attaching by damaging the outer shell of the virus
- May increase the production of inflammatory cytokines in healthy individuals
- The lectins (agglutinin) present in elderberries can prevent viral proteins from binding to respiratory receptors (sialic acid), thus preventing infection. Sialic acid molecules on the cell surface act as chemical beacons for the influenza virus. Once the virus finds the sialic acid, it can bind and infect the cell.
Additional help in case of infection are also other valuable substances contained in elderberries, such as:
- vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system and our defense mechanisms,
- essential oils that have an anti-inflammatory, analgesic effect on the throat,
- glycosides - strengthen the heart
Less known health benefits of using elderberry extracts.
- Cardiovascular health - flavonoids and anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which significantly protects the heart and blood vessels from aging and degeneration. In terms of their content, elderberries are far superior to cranberries, blueberries, goji berries and blackberries. In addition, thanks to the high content of potassium, the consumption of elderberries is particularly good for the regularity of the heartbeat. Potassium is important for muscle contraction, flexibility and water balance.
- Help with herpes – herpes is mainly caused by the flu, viral infection, weakened immune system or mental stress. Thanks to vitamins A, C and potassium, elderberries can have a preventive and healing effect.
- For a healthy metabolism, especially in diabetes
- Preservation and enhancement of vision
- In anemia to strengthen the blood.