As a time-honored remedy, elderberry syrup has been used to combat various ailments, from the common cold to the flu, and more. You may ask, “Is elderberry a healthy option for children?” To answer this, let’s explore its primary benefits and safe usage for kids who might need a wellness boost.
You’ve definitely heard of elderberry syrup from other moms online or at your local mom’s group if you have children. Someone you know may even produce their own and market it to concerned parents in your area.
Elderberry is often promoted during cold and flu season as a treatment for upper respiratory illnesses like the common cold and the flu.
While many parents are willing to do almost anything to keep their children healthy, the question remains whether or not this herbal medicine is actually effective. Moreover, how secure is it? Pros give their two cents.
Can You Explain What Elderberry Is?
The European elder tree, or Sambucus nigra, yields the medicinal compound elderberry, which has been used for centuries to treat or prevent a variety of diseases. Kids typically prefer elderberry syrups or sweets to other elderberry preparations, such as teas, lozenges, or pills.
Is There Any Use for Elderberry?
Elderberry “may be of some value in supporting the immune system,” says Aviva Romm, M.D., a family medicine practitioner, herbalist, and midwife based in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.
It contains the antioxidant proanthocyanidins and is high in vitamin C, both of which help the body’s immune system. Using it as a daily syrup supplement for immunological health may provide some protection.
However, emergency care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and founder of Conduct Science and Maze Engineers Shuhan He, M.D., thinks that elderberry is most beneficial in reducing symptoms rather than preventing disease completely. In one study, it was shown that elderberry can decrease the severity and length of cold symptoms. You might still get sick, but your immune system might be able to handle it more effectively and with fewer complications if you take this.
Why Has Interest in Elderberry Recently Increased?
Elderberry has a long history of use due to its medicinal and immune-enhancing qualities. The ancient Egyptians and Native Americans employed it to treat illnesses, coughs, and the common cold, which is even mentioned in the Bible.
The hope that it can combat bothersome viral diseases may contribute to its recent popularity spike. Remember that antibiotics only work against conditions caused by bacteria, like strep throat, and not viruses, like the common cold or the flu.
Pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Gregory Weaver, M.D., states, “In general, we have very few medications that treat viral illnesses.” Some research suggests that elderberry’s active ingredients may have promise as a treatment for both inflammation and viral infection. For influenza, in particular, there is a good number of data.
Is Elderberry an Effective Antiviral?
Several studies have examined the effectiveness of Tamiflu with elderberry in alleviating flu symptoms and preventing future infections. According to the available research, Elderberry has been shown to be at least as effective as Tamiflu.
Experts advise against substituting elderberry for the flu vaccine for children. Elderberry should not be used as a replacement for the flu vaccine, nor should it be used to prevent illness in children.
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved elderberry for use.
Something else to remember? Elderberry is not allowed by the Food and Drug Administration because it is not a medicine but rather a food supplement. Companies making supplements are responsible for their safety and accurate labeling; the FDA in the United States is not obligated to approve them before sale.
Use only herbal products from recognized manufacturers who adhere to CGMPs for the highest level of safety. According to her, these firms are an extension of the GMPs that govern medicine production and adhere to particular sourcing criteria and rigorous production standards for supplements.
Should You Give Elderberry to Your Kid?
If your child is immunocompromised due to an autoimmune problem, chemotherapy, or any underlying health issue, you should consult with their doctor before beginning elderberry.
Being a smart shopper is crucial when purchasing anything for your kids. Due to the potential for poisoning, elderberry products prepared at home, from unripe berries, or from the bark, leaves, or flowers of the plant are all strongly discouraged by experts. Instead, parents can pick up elderberry syrup at the supermarket, but it’s important to make sure it comes from a trustworthy manufacturer.
“Sugar is more damaging to the immune system than elderberry is beneficial,” says holistic health practitioner Audrey Christie, MSN, RN, CCMA of Lake Dallas, Texas, so it’s best to stay away from sugary syrups and gummies containing elderberries.
Don’t forget the tried-and-true methods of helping your kids stay healthy, such as plenty of rest, frequent handwashing, and a balanced diet. A child’s health can fluctuate regardless of how well you care for them.
Upper respiratory and viral infections are almost certainly more common in children than in their parents. Some of it can’t be helped.
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