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My #1 Go-To Herb for Avoiding Influenza, Colds, and Severe Respiratory Illness

As many of you know, elderberry is one of my favorite herbs for avoiding and treating contagious illnesses. My family always takes it when we are out and about in public, traveling, or if we feel a bug coming on. It’s one of the best antiviral herbs on the planet.

Beyond shortening the duration of cold and flu, the elder plant is also helpful for inflammation, chronic fatigue, allergies, nerve pain, cancer, and more. Importantly, elderberry can be used by those who have an autoimmune disorder — unlike other medicinal herbs that may be a trigger such as echinacea, goldenseal, and astragalus. It’s an all-around powerful remedy that should be in every medicine cabinet!

Fun Facts and Traditional Uses

Native to Europe, Africa, and areas of Asia, elderberry trees can also be found in the US.

My #1 Go-To Herb for Avoiding Influenza, Colds and Severe Respiratory Illness - Elderberry flowersBut elderberry has a long history of use. Egyptian and Greek cultures also utilized the herb for improving the complexion and to heal burns, while Indigenous people treated fevers and rheumatism with elderberry and also used it as a dye or just for food. In Europe, elderberry is traditionally used for influenza, infections, heart pain, nerve pain, headaches, dental pain, sciatica, and also as a laxative and diuretic.

The tree can grow up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall and has beautiful sprays of creamy-white flowers and bunches of bluish-black berries.

My #1 Go-To Herb for Avoiding Influenza, Colds and Severe Respiratory Illness - Elderberry forageElderberry contains the antioxidant flavonols, quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin, with the flowers containing up to 10 times more than the berries. The berries are also rich in anthocyanins, which provide strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

The berries and flowers also have a long culinary tradition of use! Cooked berries are often made into jams, chutneys, juice, pies, and wine. Elderberry flowers can be infused into a tea or boiled in sugar for a sweet cordial — see the recipe below from my book, The Forager’s Guide to Wild Foods.

Recipe – Elderflower Cordial: Boil water in a pot and dissolve 1 lb. sugar (500g). Remove from heat and mix in: 20 fresh elderflower heads, 25g citric acid, 1 zested, and sliced lemon. Cover and steep for 12-24 hrs. Drain liquid through a cheesecloth and bottle.

Outstanding Protection and Treatment for Colds, Influenza, and Respiratory Illness

Since inflammation and immune system dysfunction go hand-in-hand with autoimmune disorders, I have to be careful about avoiding the latest bug making the rounds. This is why elderberry is an important part of my family’s health protocol — especially when we are in public. My family and I take it as a preventative before and after engaging with the world and other people. It helps to keep us healthy year-round, but particularly during the cold and flu season.

My #1 Go-To Herb for Avoiding Influenza, Colds and Severe Respiratory Illness - Elderberry BasketBlack elderberry extract has been shown time and again to reduce the severity and length of a cold and influenza. In one study, 60 people ill with the flu who took 15 mL of elderberry extract four times a day experienced symptom improvement in 2 to 4 days, while it took the control group 7 to 8 days to improve. Moreover, double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial involving 312 air travelers who took 300 mg elderberry extract three times a day found that the participants who did fall ill with a cold or the flu recovered faster and had less severe symptoms.

My #1 Go-To Herb for Avoiding Influenza, Colds and Severe Respiratory Illness - Elderberry extractOne concern during our current pandemic is that elderberry may overstimulate the immune system and create a ‘cytokine storm’. However, a systematic review of data found that elderberry is a safe option for treating viral respiratory illness, and that there is no evidence the medicinal herb over-stimulates the immune system. In fact, another study published in the medical journal Autoimmunity Reviews believes that “the use of elderberry supplements should be considered at an early course of the disease”. I highly recommend you give this fascinating study a quick read!

All Elderberry Extracts Are Not The Same

My #1 Go-To Herb for Avoiding Influenza, Colds and Severe Respiratory Illness - Elderberry tinctureUnlike many elderberry products on the market, the tincture found in my apothecary isn’t formulated with a sugar or honey syrup base. Instead, the full-spectrum of beneficial properties are accessed through our dual-extracted and spagyric methods, which create a superior alcohol and glycerite-based extract that has the additional benefit of a very long shelf life. We offer elderberry as a stand alone tincture or included within the Travel PackWinter Defense, and Warrior bundles.

Wishing you an abundance of health throughout this season and beyond!

Safety

Our elderberry tinctures are not toxic, but If gathering it yourself, note that each part of the plant is mildly toxic. Do not use the fresh plant without first cooking or drying. The bark and root should never be taken internally. Elderberry leaves and unripe berries are poisonous.

You may also like:

How to Infuse Honey with ElderberryBanner Elderberry tincture

The Berry That Is Illegal to Grow (In Some States), But Perfectly Fine to Forage (Video)

Elderberry Syrup With Echinacea and Goldenseal

How to Make Immune Boosting Elderberry Syrup

Easy Hot Toddy Recipe For Cough and Cold

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Hi. I use elderberry
syrup if I feel any kind of respiratory symptoms that might be a cold or the flu. Thanks fir all the infirmation in your report & recipe alsl!

Is there something that can be used for a person that gets cold sores?

Hi Cathy,

Thank you for your comment.
Please see the article below:
https://thelostherbs.com/16-home-remedies-for-herpes/

I hope this helps!

Many blessings and good health!

For cold sores my go to is Lemon Balm tincture – great success using it internally and directly on the lips on the cold sore! In my apothecary at http://www.nicolesapothecary.com

A non herbal remedy is applying SPF30 zinc based sunscreen. Works very well and quickly.

I am 65 years old and have had fever blisters all my life! If has only been in the last decade that I discovered Melissa (lemon balm) the most powerful anti viral I know of. I use essential oil cut with a carrier oil. The second I know a blister is coming on,
I continually put it on topically multiple times and it keeps it from coming up. Love my Melissa EO.

I make a salve from bloodroot, olive oil, beeswax and vitamin E. It makes the pain stop almost immediately and the cold sore dries up in a day or two.

30-40,000 units of D3 two or three times a day at the vert first sign of an eruption.
works for me every time.

L lysine stop cold sores/fever blisters. I take 3-4000 mg on the onset of one but since I’ve been taking 1000 mg everyday as a preventive measures I haven’t gotten any sores!

L-Lysine! Knocks it out! and Cod Liver Oil!

Look into colloidal silver, it kills all viruses, mold, fungus and almost every bacteria in 6 minutes or less, in vitro, but is ENTIRELY non-toxic to us. If u Google it, pass up the first 4 to 5 full PAGES of search returns, as they will be negative assertions of the colloid because, since big pharma and the affiliated alphabet so-called health agencies can’t profit from it and it’s too effective. Also look for simple methods to make it cheaply at home on YouTube, however, do NOT listen to any videos who tell u to add salt to the recipe as that will make the wrong kind. And don’t fret about argyria which requires you to grossly overdose yourself to the point of ridiculousness. I’m sure you have more common sense than that.

cold sores are a viral outbreak of herpes, and one of the best treatments is a lemon balm tincture, you can grown your own lemon balm and have it on hand. You can also prevent the cold sores by limiting your stress, adding Lysine to your diet- either supplements or with foods high in Lysine. Limiting foods in your diet ( especially in high stress times) that are high in arginine, i.e. nuts & seeds, red meat, poultry,dairy, grains, wheat germ… there are necessary amounts of arginine but perhaps you are over your bodies personal needs

I make a healing salve from two infused olive oils and beeswax. One infused with goldenrod flowers and one infused with yarrow. Amounts of oil in equal parts. At the first tingle on the lip, I put the salve on. So far, I have not had any eruptions. I have not used this inside of my mouth.

L-lysine works amazingly well to stop the replication of the cold sore virus. I take 2,000 mg as soon as I feel the itchy tickle and again 6 and 12 hours later. Then 1000 mg every 8 hours for the next 24 hours. Stops them every time.

I never did receive my medicinal Herb kit I bought your book. And something else and it all came to a $179 $9 all I got was a $49 book in the mail. Where is the rest of the stuff?

Hi Frances,

Thank you for your interest in our work.
Please check your personal email. I sent you an email regarding your order.

Many blessings and good health!

I thought a long time ago I was getting some seeds or something too. Just got a book. I’ll have to check order if I can find
It.

Similar thing happened to me. I payed for the book and more and never received the real thing only de link in de mail.

Hi Hanah,

Please check you personal email. I sent you an email with your order details.

Many blessings and good health!

Hi there,
Like the person above commented (FRANCES ROFRANO) I also didn’t receive the other items included in the offer but only had the book of lost herbal remedies. Could you please check my order items.
Many thanks,
P.S. I’ve really enjoyed reading the book and it’s been a real help and a great resource of information.

Hi Michelle,

Thank you for reaching out to us.
I sent you an email with your order details and download links.

Many blessings and good health!

Where can I get this in Canada?

Thank you for all the information you out I am leaning alot from
your . I went to see if you can send all of plant that are eable in
az . that is in my back yard okay thank you!

I ment your books

I don’t need a laxitive or diaretic so how can I use elderberry for the other benifits?

Do u sell the tinture?

Hi Corrine,

Thank you for your interest in our work.
We offer the elderberry as a stand-alone tincture or included within the Travel Pack, Winter Defense, and Warrior bundles.
https://nicolesapothecary.com/collections/all/products/elderberry-tincture

Many blessings and good health!

Hello, and thank you for your emails with useful information about the plants around us. Unlike Frances Rafrano and MICHELLE CARLTON-SMITH from previous comments, I have not received a physical copy of the book, which upsets me very much. I checked my order’s receipt, and it says that I paid for physical and digital copy of the book. All I am getting is the almost-daily email. Still hoping for the book though. Please let me know.

Hi Alla,

Thank you for purchasing “The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies”.
I am sorry to hear that you have not received your book yet.

Please check your personal email. I sent you an email regarding your order.

Many blessings and good health!

Sorry to continue the theme, but I also spent well over $100 on what I assumed were to be hard copy books, but I only received one hard copy – The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies, which I love!!! Are the hard copies back ordered? Thank you,

Hi Missy,

Please check you personal email. I sent you an email with your order details.

Many blessings and good health!

Thank you so much for your reply. I have checked my personal email and junk folder and not received any further emails regarding my orders.

Hi Missy,

I have resent the email. Please check again 🙂

Thank you

love all the info but I too was disappointed not to have received the other two books promised with the hard-copy I ordered and did receive. Turns out, the other two books are digital which was not explained up front, I would not have wanted (in that form) and still don’t know how to access. Sigh….

I love all the info but I too was disappointed not to have received the other two books promised with the hard-copy I ordered and did receive. Turns out, the other two books are digital which was not explained up front, I would not have wanted (in that form) and still don’t know how to access. I can’t find my order number! I have never received the book only these emails! Never received the addition gifts for ordering either! It’s been months and all I have to show for 180$ is e-mails. I love the information but expected the physical books promised

Hi Leslie,

Please check you personal email. I sent you an email with your order details.

Many blessings and good health!

Please explain how one accesses digital books, for dummies like me.

At the top it says elderberry is good for sciatica. How do you use it to treat sciatic pain?

Hi Stacey,

Anthocyanins are known to reduce inflammation. Those in elderberry do so by blocking the production of nitric oxide by the body’s immune cells.
Nitric oxide serves as a signaling molecule that triggers inflammation when you get injured or have sciatica. By slowing down this response, pain and swelling may decrease as well.

I too have never received what I thought I was getting in a physical book.
Yes, I appreciate the emails however where I want to use the book I do not have Wi-Fi. I have waited to print the book.
Looks like I have company.

Hi Monet,

Please check you personal email. I sent you an email with your order details.

Many blessings and good health!

I don’t like digital books…. I never read them. If I am going to read a book I want to hold it in my hands and turn the pages. By the way, I love your website.

Yes! Same here! Real books for my real money!

hi nicola just recieved your book where would i look for parkinsons med or what would you recommend love your book thanks james

Hi James,

Thank you for your interest in our work.
At the beginning of the book, after the Introduction, you will find a Medicinal Herbal Reference Guide, where you can search for the ailment you are looking for:
Parkinson’s Disease: Ashwagandha (p47-48), Cinnamon (p291), Flax (p66-67), Lion’s Mane (p270-271), Red Mulberry (p252), Skullcap (p132-133), Thorn Apple (p138-140).
You can also find the Appendix at the end of the book.

Many blessings and good health!

just an fyi , i haven’t received the book or anything as of yet.

Hi Oscar,

Please check you personal email. I sent you an email with your order details.

Many blessings and good health!

What is your recipe without sugar or honey? I have elderberry powder and would like to make a tincture/ syrup sugar free.

You can use vegetable glycerin and a little water. Nicole mentioned it in one of her videos. 🙂

How come all over, I find information saying do not take elderberry if you have autoimmune disease

Hi, What do you think about the grapefruit seed extract. I heard that it works very well against virus?

I use Selenium to help prevent flu, etc., eating a couple Brazil Nuts, which contain selenium also helps. Just don’t eat more then 2 or 3 a day or you could have a bad reaction. Or I take Pau de Arco, helps the immunity. Haven’t had the flu in years, since starting this. I don’t take everyday, but when I know I’ll be out among people I do take one of these a couple times. Although, I do take an arsenal of supplements which I’m sure helps also.

Are there any precautions or differences in the use of species other than black elderberry? I have three species. Are there any caveats of which I should be aware?

Looks like something I could use.

I avoid elderberry in this pandemic bu I make syrups with the same herbs and principals with aronia-berries. The father of my children has several autoimmune diseases and due to his immune system easily going into cytokine storms we avoid stimulating it too much elderberry in case we get the C as well

Hi Nicole! I love your book! The color photos and descriptions are very informative! Regarding e-books, I have the same problem as others where I can’t access them and if I do I can never find them again. How about making the other books available in physical format for a small fee??? BTW I did receive my seed kit! And I look forward to your educational emails. Thanks so much!

Hi Barbara,

Thank you for your reaching out to us.
Your feedback is always important to us and gives us valuable insights which allow us to continually improve and serve you better.

Please check your personal email. I sent you an email with the download links.

Many blessings and good health!

Where can I buy elderberry?

Hi Oluwatope,

We would suggest you find a local health store or a local market. There are a couple of specialized online medicinal herbs stores. It is best to use Google to find one that delivers to your area.

Many blessings and good health!

I have CMT 1B a form of MS. I am loosing my balance and feeling in my feet up to my knees also in my hands. I know you do not prescribe anything but you got out of the wheel chair. I am heading for one and I don’t want to be a burden to my family. What can you tell me I can try and or do that I can afford?

Just FYI: Elderberry recipes work better if you add elderflowers to them. It “ups” the power. I use the same amount of elderflowers to all elderberry recipes. You give the “recipe” as water (no amount disclosed) and 1# of sugar. YIKES! Talk about unnatural and toxic!

Also, almost all citric acid is corn based. Corn is GMO. Be careful what you use and make sure you are using NO GMO citric acid.

Elderberries, elderflowers, (in equal amounts), water, and SOME honey/organic sugar. Sugar boiled with the elderberries/elderflowers, honey AFTER the syrup has cooled to UNDER 90*

No need for citric acid OR lemon.
Boil the elderberries/elderflowers, in 2x the water volume of the herbs. (if using sugar, add it too. You don’t need that much, just to taste) Leave overnight to cool, when cooled add honey, if you didn’t add sugar, to taste. (or if you need it sweeter.)

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