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
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.