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The Health Benefits of Elderberry Wine
 
On one of our first trips to Pennsylvania, we stopped by a winery that made elderberry wine. While
we were sampling it, the winemaker was touting the health benefits. She swore to me that if I felt
like I was getting the flu, I should drink a glass of elderberry wine before bed. She said when I woke
up in the morning, all of my flu symptoms would be gone.
 
I completely dismissed the idea at first. How could wine cure the flu? I tried to put it out of my mind...
but I couldn't. I was tempted to contact a service like 118.com to ask them if it was true or ask everyone I met to find out if they had heard about it. The past two times my mother has come down with the flu, it has turned into pneumonia and put her in the hospital for several weeks. I had to wonder if wine could possibly help her. I figured it might be worth looking into the mysterious elderberry.
 
The elderberry has a rich history dating back many, many years. Ancient Egyptians applied the
flowers of the elderberry plant to heal burns. Early Indian tribes used elderberries in teas and
other beverages. In the 17th century, the British began making elderberry wine. They claimed
it could cure the common cold and would prolong your life.
 
Elderberries can be used in pies, pancakes, muffins, jam and jelly. Unripe berries and all parts
of the elder plant are somewhat toxic and can cause nausea when eaten.
 
Recent research shows that elder builds up the immune system and directly inhibits the influenza
virus. Elder contains an enzyme that smoothes the spikes on the outside of the virus, which the
virus uses to pierce through cell walls. Elderberries have also been recommended in cases of bronchitis, sore throat, coughs, asthma, colds and constipation.
 
Elderberry extracts, syrups and lozenges are available over the counter to build the immune system, ward-off illness and to fight colds and flu...but drinking elderberry wine sounds a little more enticing to me. On my last trip to Pennsylvania, I bought my mother a bottle of elderberry wine. I'm hoping that my source was right, and next time she feels the flu coming on, a glass of wine will do the trick...at least it couldn't hurt to try.
 
This article should not be considered medical advice. It is for general information purposes only.
 

This article was written by Sharon Alexander of www.WineryAdventures.com. Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.