What is an Elderberry? An Elderberry is a genus of flowering plants in the family Adoxaceae. It was formerly placed in the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae, but was reclassified due to genetic evidence. It contains between 5 and 30 species of deciduous shrubs, small trees and herbaceous perennial plants.
The genus occurs in temperate to subtropical regions of the world. More widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, its Southern Hemisphere occurrence is restricted to parts of Australasia and South America. Many species are widely cultivated for their ornamental leaves, flowers and fruit.
Used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.
Elderberries (Sambucus) have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not.
Beneficial components in Elderberries
Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies2 these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.
Elderberries were listed in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs as early as 1985, and are listed in the 2000 Mosby’s Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever. In Israel, Hasassah’s Oncology Lab has determined that elderberry stimulates the body’s immune system and they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it. The wide range of medical benefits (from flu and colds to debilitating asthma, diabetes, and weight loss) is probably due to the enhancement of each individual’s immune system.
At the Bundesforschungsanstalt research center for food in Karlsruhe, Germany, scientists conducting studies on Elderberry showed that elderberry anthocyanins enhance immune function by boosting the production of cytokines. These unique proteins act as messengers in the immune system to help regulate immune response, thus helping to defend the body against disease. Further research indicated that anthocyanins found in elderberries possess appreciably more antioxidant capacity than either vitamin E or vitamin C.
Studies at Austria’s University of Graz found that elderberry extract reduces oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is implicated in atherogenesis, thus contributing to cardiovascular disease.
I received the Norm’s Farms sampler pack to to test several weeks ago, and let me tell you, we have been enjoying our breakfast time so much more lately !
We received the :
- Elderberry Jam
- Elderberry Ginger Pecan Jam
- Elderberry Jelly
- Blueberry Elderberry Preserves
- Elderberry Wellness Syrup ( as you can tell I tried that IMMEDIATELY)
- Elderberry Extract
The minute I opened the box ( which arrived super quick and its contents were wrapped impeccably! ) I instantly headed to my kitchen and took a bit of the Elderberry Wellness Syrup, you see, this box arrived to me while I was in the throes of a very passionate love affair with a really nasty cold…ok, so obviously I am being quite sarcastic, I was obviously quite miserable! Summer colds are THE WORST! So I did a little happy dance when I saw this! It instantly made my raw throat feel soothed, so those are some major points right there! Oh how I hate having a raw throat…especially when my children are being wild and running around being completely crazy and it is literally torture to even remotely scold them…or talk at all 😛 I was VERY impressed with it’s immediate results and was very very thankful to have received it when I did! Did I mention it is also quite tasty?!? Yum! I have been taking the Extract daily since to try and ward off the evil sickness beasties and I can happily report, so far so good! It also has a pleasant flavor! I have actually added it to a beverage several times, and have enjoyed it immensely! ( Can I also add that I love that these are in glass jars??!!)
Now on to the jams, jelly and preserves! Oh my! MMM…First of all, let me just say, I am a jams, jellies, and preserves type gal! I loooove them. All. So I was super duper excited to give these a test out…and I apologize for the lack of photo’s from my initial taste test, I was a little excited and a little sticky 😉 I honestly can say that every lovely jar that I received, I loved. They are very fine quality for sure, not your run of the mill factory processed jar of chemical filled sludge 😛 Did I mention I am a bit of a food snob at times? 😉 As I said previously, they are all super fantastic, but if I had to do the super tough job of choosing favorites, I think I would go with the Elderberry Ginger Pecan Jam ( This one quite surprised me, I am not always the biggest fan of ginger ) and the Elderberry Blueberry Preserves! I have been eating them on toast ( obviously ) , bagels, biscuits and my new favorite…in oatmeal! My kids have also been enjoying the Elderberry Blueberry preserves in their oatmeal quite a bit as well, which is like super amazing! It’s a real struggle to get those kids to want to eat anything other than crap cereal for breakfast, so this is a total SCORE! I totally recommend ALL of the products I received and think they would make a really great gift to yourself or your loved ones…not to mention they would look super cute in a gift basket…right?!? To see product description see below!
Elderberry Ginger Pecan Jam
Our Elderberry Ginger Pecan Jam is loaded with chunks of pecans and candied ginger. Delicious with soft cheeses and crusty bread, this tasty and unique jam is a wonderful way to get your daily serving of elderberry.
Ingredients: Sugar, elderberries, pecans, candied ginger (sugar, ginger), water, GMO-free pectin mix (sucrose, pectin, citric acid), lemon juice concentrate
Our Elderberry Jam is made with the whole fruit and no seeds. It is then lightly sweetened with pure cane sugar and a touch of lemon juice. Dr. Oz names Elderberry Jam as one of his top five foods for brain health, and you won’t find a better tasting Elderberry Jam anywhere. Excellent stirred into plain yogurt or used to sweeten oatmeal. It is also great on fresh home made biscuits.
Ingredients: Sugar, elderberries, water, fruit pectin mix, lemon juice
Our all natural Elderberry Jelly is made with pure elderberry juice, lightly sweetened with pure cane sugar, and then finished with a touch of lemon juice. This is a brighter, lighter version of our best-selling Elderberry Jam.
Ingredients: Sugar, elderberry juice, water, fruit pectin mix, lemon juice.
Blueberry Elderberry Preserves
Norm’s Farms found the tastiest North Carolina grown blueberries to feature in our new line of Preserves. Loaded with lots of whole blueberries and oh-so-good-for-you elderberries, these preserves are the perfect treat. And at only 8 grams of sugar per serving (the same as most fruit spreads), this is a treat you can afford!
Ingredients: Sugar, blueberries, elderberries, lemon juice concentrate, water, GMO-free pectin mix (sucrose, pectin, citric Acid)
Elderberry Wellness Syrup
Elderberry Wellness Syrup is formulated to bring natural and soothing relief for seasonal distress. Our Wellness Syrup contains equal amounts of our Elderberry Extract and soothing, delicious honey, perfectly spiced with analgesic cloves to coat your sore throat. Cinnamon adds an extra kick of relief.
Our Wellness Syrup tastes great! The recommended serving is one to two teaspoons several times a day.
Ingredients: Elderberry, water, honey, cinnamon, cloves, sugar (less than 1% by volume), xanthan gum, (less than .04% by volume), malic acid* (less than .04% by volume).
Norm’s Farms Elderberry Extract is made from farm-fresh North American native elderberries (not from European concentrate). Our Extract formula is very simple…we use a gentle water process to extract the elderberry and remove the seeds before we bottle it.
Our Elderberry Extract tastes great, like a dry red wine: it’s not sweet, and it’s not bitter. You won’t find any added alcohol, sugars, artificial sweeteners or ingredients in our products. Elderberry contains higher levels of antioxidants than blueberry, sweet cherry, tart cherry, acai, noni, goji, pomegranate and cranberry juices.
Ingredients: Elderberry, water,* malic acid** (less than .03% by volume)
Norm’s Farms has graciously offered to give one of you lucky readers a $25 gift certificate to their online store! Woohoo! To enter, you must be 18+ and a resident of the US. Please LIKE Homemaking Heather on Facebook, LIKE Norm’s Farms https://www.facebook.com/Norms.Farms on Facebook, let me know that you have done so and which Norm’s product you would like to try out most! As always, extra entries are given for sharing and tagging. Good luck!