Primarily found in Europe and North America black Elderberries have long been used in traditional cultures to support immune function. Elderberries have also been used as a food, source for making wine, and syrup. The bush has been referred to as 'the medicine tree of the common people.' The flowers of Sambucus nigra have been used to support a healthy immune response during times of fever and praised for their diaphoretic properties when steeped as a tea.
Elderberry has long been proposed as being immune supportive, it supports the body’s natural defense. The immune maintenance properties of Elderberry were first studied by a virologist who was able to demonstrate that Elderberry constituents could neutralize activity of hemagluttinin spikes found on the surface of many viruses. When these spikes became deactivated, the virus was no longer able to pierce and enter the cells walls, which effectively reduced virus cell replication.
The immune modulating effects of Elderberry were further studied and it was determined that this effect occurs by enhanced cytokine production which activates phagocytes and facilitates movement into inflamed tissues and ultimately causes an anti-inflammatory effect which reduces the severity during the onset of symptoms.