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  1. Thanks Coop, always enjoy learning about the natural remedies. I trust those far more than a “doctor” visit. Come to think of it, I haven’t visited a “doctor” in years.

  2. We get pure elderberry juice from River Hills. I take 1T per day mixed with about 1 oz of grape juice to temper the flavor. I haven’t been sick since I started taking it. I was motivated to improve my immunity by a month long bout of various illnesses last December.

    You can also get good cuttings from River Hills to grow your own elderberry plants. We planted 9 of them and 100% took. It will be a few years before you get berries from them.

    We’ve also started some Aronia berry plants – same kind of thing.

  3. Ya know, I am one of those people that can be around anyone that is sick with anything, and not contract their illnesses. I have found over my 50 years that the more you expose yourself to germs, the less likely you are to get sick. I see people wiping off their shopping carts, which we never did 10 years ago, hiding their faces behind the stupid looking dust masks, and a myriad of other germaphobic practices. I have also noticed that since people have started this stuff, that the cold and flu season is always worse every year. People let your kids eat dirt, eat without using alcohol on their hands and go to school without diaper wipes in their backpacks. I promise they will be better for it.

    1. Your situation is common. your view of what is happening is common too. But, You do in fact catch the colds and whatever else is going around but your symptoms are simply less than others. It isn’t about eating dirt or using (or not using) alcohol wipes. Some people are simply more genetically prone to have severe symptoms and some are not. Rest assured you get the flu and common colds and everything others get.

  4. What is the evidence that elderberry products have the effect you describe? Have statistically significant and objective studies have been completed that confirm your observations? Could it be that your extra care with hand washing and limiting exposure contributed to your lack of colds/flu? I am not being personally critical but too often association is confused with causation. And in these trying times critical and data driven thinking is of utmost importance. Respectfully submitted.

      1. Yes, this NIH reference does seem to at least support enhanced production of cytokines by Sambucol, a commercial black elderberry extract. My response is “so what?” We still have a massive lack of understanding of the very complex and intricate biological processes involved. However, this NIH abstract is either badly written or purposefully misleading. The casual reader could be led to believe that this study of Sambucol not only enhances production of inflammatory cytokines (especially TNF-alpha) in 12 (a very small number statistically) test subjects but that it “reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days.” The cited study is an IN VITRO study meaning basically in a test tube. Test tubes do not have symptoms. For reasons I do not understand the authors inserted the symptoms reduction data from another study that was quite poorly done. If Sambucol does in fact enhance cytokine production that is not necessarily a good thing. The out of control cascade of cytokines (“cytokine storm”) is responsible for most of the deaths in more virulent influenza outbreaks. The fact that certain influenza viruses kill younger, healthier people is thought to be due to their better immune system. Theoretically, why would we want to enhance a potentially lethal process? TNF is also a prominent factor contributing to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Again, we just don’t have a full understanding of how all these processes work together.
        The article by Michele Cooper advocates certain elderberry abstracts and formulations as prevention and will “assure your health during the cold winter months.” Neither this, nor the articles cited by her below, indicate usefulness in prevention of colds/flu. The one article she cited below that attempted to address prevention showed NO DIFFERENCE in contracting a cold with or without elderberry although from a design perspective the study was beyond poorly done. But she goes on to write “In fact, elderberry works extremely well against “enveloped viruses” and can even protect you from some of the really nasty ones, like Ebola, Marburg, SARS, and hanta viruses, which are enveloped viruses.” IN FACT there is zero credible evidence that I can find for that claim.
        As for treatment of influenza, there are studies that SUGGEST the possibility of a beneficial effect but none come close to proving this. Most, if not all, of those studies actually state that more research in needed.
        On the good side, elderberry extracts do not appear to be particularly toxic as long as only the berries and flowers are processed appropriately, or from a commercial source.
        My only goal with my original comment above was to encourage critical thinking not only on this specific topic, but in general…and especially if something appears to be too good to be true. In no way am I intending to be personally critical of anyone’s character or motivations.

    1. How about the National Institute of Health? Is that good enough for you?
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399518 , nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/flucold.htm , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080016 , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3056848/ , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4848651/ , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22972323 , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3899428/ , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19682714/

      and a bunch more. If you would like to see all of them (several pages) go to the National Institute of Health (.gov) and type into the search feature elderberry for viruses.

      1. To your question, “Is that good enough for you?”
        My answer: Actually, no. I read read numerous articles and, as most of them clearly state, more research is needed. My take away is there is at best a SUGGESTION of benefit to elderberry abstracts for influenza and not much in the way of any benefit in other infectious diseases.

        To your question, “How about the National Institute of Health?”
        My answer: Not necessarily. “Researchers” in this same government organization, along with the CDC, regularly cherry pick, and often outright falsify, data to support their belief that firearms ownership is a disease that they must control.

        1. I will not argue with you. Use it, or don’t use it to protect yourself from colds and flus, it’s entirely up to you. I make no money or any other benefit from suggesting this to help you and others feel healthier, I’m just passing on knowledge.

  5. I also use the elderberry syrup. I add raw honey (1cup) for a better taste.

    Had only one cold last year, one this year. The cold did not go to my chest and hang out there for 6wks. I believe because of the elderberry syrup.

    No flu last year or so far this year. Did not take flu shot either.

    I would recommend it and have given it to family and friends.

  6. Good article! I have several elderberry bushes that I share with the birds. I make the tincture for shelf-stable purposes (about 2 qts), then seal them in canning jars. I add a teaspoon to hot chocolate each morning during bad weather or when I have to be among crowds in the city. I also give the jars as gifts

  7. Question about the elderberry syrup: Is it supposed to be thick like cough syrup or very liquid? I cooked the berries in a covered pan and it is very liquid, even after adding the honey.

  8. Keep your immune system in top shape thru a healthy diet (fruits+veggies), exercise, 8 glasses of water per day! Mentally focus on all things that are of good report…

    Philippians 4:8 King James Version (KJV)

    8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

    1. This verse fits my daily practice. When someone says, “How are you?” or some variation, I accept that as a reminder to notice what I take for granted. Then I reply. “I’m grateful.” In that reply I am noting my marriage, my spiritual life, running water, etc.

      Some 12-step folks call it an “attitude of gratitude”.

      My reply also allows more of a connection than saying, “I’m fine” as an answer.

      So, friend, I am grateful you posted the above passage.

      Carry on.

    1. You’d be screwed if it did have to be picked under the sign of Pisces. Elderberry grows in the summer.

      Elderberry is VERY effective against packaged viruses, Marburg, Ebola, Hanta, etc are all packaged viruses, as is herpes and chicken pox. If you actually caught Ebola or Marburg, I think the elderberry would be kind of like closing the barn door after the cows got out – those are fast moving viruses and cause your body to kill itself by sending your immune system into overdrive. I do have some stuff, a mixture of herbs that taken at 1tsp per hour would likely keep you alive if you started it immediately, but the elderberry would likely keep you from contracting the virus if you were taking it as a prophylactic. Elderberry makes your cells kind of slippery and impervious to the virus entering, thus keeping them from replicating.

  9. Natural Sources elderberry brand is a thick, concentrated syrup of elderberry. Being a science type, I bought one of every brand of elderberry syrup in the well-stocked local healthy food store, took a spoonful of each, kept the Natural Sources, and threw out the rest. It was the only one with a simple, fresh elderberry taste. It keeps forever in the refrigerator if not opened, and a year or two if it is.

    It is readily available online, and cheaper than Sambucol.

  10. Michele:
    It was nice to see your article on the elderberries, shall print it out an put it in my health binder(lost my recipes). The more you share your knowledge the better off many shall be, when and if big pharma is no longer readily available.

    Merry Christmas to you & yours

  11. To “Healthy middle ager”, have you seed what is put in “vaccines”? Check out the CDC website:

    I will start out with ABORTED human fetuses,human-diploid fibroblast cell cultures (strain WI-38 and MRC-5 (human diploid) cells.
    Mercury which “they” claimed to stop putting in the vaccines, it is under the name “thimerosol” and “insect cell”?
    “Madin Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cell protein” some sort of DOG protein,
    “hydrolyzed porcine gelatin”, hmmm some sort of PIG gelatin?
    “Bovine serum albumin”, COW and
    “chick embryo cell culture” Chickens?
    “Monkey kidney cells” and this was just to name a few…
    didn’t even get to the preservatives, like “formaldehyde”!!

    Vaccines, I think NOT!
    Just as a reminder, this IS OFF the CDC’s own website.

    If all I have to do is drink a little berry juice or eat some garlic or even go to Costco and get their jumbo container of Vitamin C to ward off colds, I would rather do that than take a vaccine.

  12. I have studied vaccines since my now 20 year old was born. There was a time I didn’t vaccinate and eventually came around to vaccinating all my children. That being said, when one reads that aborted babies are used in vaccines, it makes some of us pause. You are deliberately being obtuse in regards to this discussion and dare I say pig headed in your opinions. If you appreciate and value vaccines without concerns then wonderful. Let those of us that approach it with fear and trembling voice our opinions as well.

    1. H.M.A.
      Very nicely done summary which, I think, is well supported by the data.
      I am not sure how anyone could be offended by your words.
      I realize this was originally about the supposed benefits of elderberry abstracts but has drifted to vaccines.
      For the record, and complete transparency, I am a physician with over a decade in emergency medicine followed by 2 1/2 decades in oncology. My take on nearly 4 decades of practice is that every time I hear “settled science” or words to that effect I cringe because what we know pales in comparison to what we do not know. That said, I am a strong advocate of VOLUNTARY vaccination…as well as VOLUNTARY seat belt wearing, VOLUNTARY avoidance of alcohol and tobacco, etc.
      I believe the two most significant health advancements in history are vaccines and public health–which would include good personal hygiene.
      I would like to share a completely anecdotal observation regarding how beneficial overall vaccines have been to humanity.
      One of the most brilliant scientist physicians of the 20th century was Dr. Arthur Guyton who was left on crutches after contracting polio during his surgical residency in the 1940’s. My father’s secretary, one of the sweetest women imaginable, was left on crutches from polio contracted in the early 1950’s. Polio vaccine was first in use in the mid 1950’s. In my entire medical career I have seen exactly zero new cases of polio.
      My grandfather was born in the early 1900’s and had severe scars from childhood smallpox which he miraculously survived. Smallpox vaccine was not widely available until about the 1960’s. I have never seen a new case of smallpox in my medical career.

      And, finally, to re-quote from Armed Citizen above:
      Philippians 4:8 King James Version (KJV) :
      “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
      Merry CHRISTmas all,

  13. Please don’t be one of those annoying condescending people who think they know it all. I have two personal friends who have had major reactions to that vaccine with one including permanent damage and difficulty walking.

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