Studies have shown that taking a supplement containing black elderberry may be beneficial to help boost the immune system at times when it may be weakened, such as when suffering with a cold, flu or other viruses. A study using an elderberry extract (Zakay-Rones 1995) showed inhibition of several flu viruses in vitro.
An Antiviral Agent – ‘Antivirin’
Viruses are unable to multiply on their own and need to be inside healthy cells to do so. To help them enter a cell some viruses are coated with haemagglutinin spikes. Black Elderberry Extract is believed to contain an antiviral agent, ‘Antivirin’ which can help neutralise the activity of the haemagglutinin spikes. When these spikes are deactivated the viruses can no longer pierce cell walls to enter the cell and replicate.
Elderberries are particularly rich in flavonoids, in particular anthocyanins. These act as powerful antioxidants to help the immune system defend itself.
Anthocyanins are found in the pigment of purple, dark blue and red fruits such as the black elderberry. Elderberries contain higher flavonoid content than other fruits including cranberries, blackcurrants and blackberries and almost 5 times the anthocyanins content of blueberries.
Due to the high anthocyanin content, the black elderberry has powerful antioxidant properties to also help attack the viruses.