While this year’s influenza season is about to come to an end, it has been the longest season in a decade. So far, flu has sickened more than 7 million people in the United States this year. It has also caused deaths somewhere between 35,000 to 55,000. Apart from staying hygienic, clean, sleeping well, and getting vaccinated, is there anything that you can do to protect yourself against the virus?
Yes, there is. Elderberries have been applauded for the role they play in strengthening your immune system and saving your health from influenza. Native to Europe and North America, elderberries are small in size but packed with antioxidants. They are also good for heart health and may have antidepressant properties.
A new research shows how exactly elderberries work to combat the influenza virus. As per this research, not only do elderberries protect against the virus but they also work to get rid of it effectively after the cells have been infected by it.
What Did This New Research Reveal?
Researchers from the University of Sydney have determined how elderberries work against the influenza virus. They have found that this fruit, a popular remedy used since ancient times, can not only prevent flu but also inhibit it at later stages.
The study conducted revealed that the elderberry fruit can stop the entry and replication of the virus in human cells as well as strengthen one’s immunity to ward off the virus. It is no secret that elderberries can fight off flu, in fact this is a long-established fact by now. This study looks at the exact mechanism that the phytochemicals of the fruit follow to relieve one of influenza.
The lead researcher of the study, Dr. Golnoosh Torabian, said, “It [elderberries’ antiviral effect] inhibits the early stages of an infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for both the viral attachment and entry into the host cells.”
For the purpose of the research, commercially farmed elderberry fruits were used in the form of a juice serum which was applied onto the cells before, during, and after the cells were infected with the flu virus. The phytochemicals in the serum effectively kept the virus from infecting the cells and also prevented the spreading of the virus after the cells had already been infected by it, that too more effectively.
The scientists involved also found that elderberry juice triggered cells to release cytokines which play a part in increasing the body’s resistance to attacking pathogens. Moreover, the team found these antiviral abilities of the fruit were due to its anthocyanidin compounds which are the phytonutrients that give elderberries their bright purple color.
A new research delves into how exactly elderberries work to get rid of flu. This research says that the phytonutrients in this fruit work against the virus even after it has already infected a person. So, keep this little but power-packed remedy for flu in your mind for this year’s almost-ending season as well as the next.