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Coronavirus & Elderberry: Safe or Not?

Published on Mon Mar 23, 2020 - 7 min read

Published by: Bryan Bradford
  1. Coronavirus & Elderberry: Safe or not? 

    1. Coronavirus & Elderberry: Safe or not? With so much conflicting information circulating on social media and in the news, it can be challenging to separate fact from fiction. To be clear, we believe that elderberry is safe to take during the COVID-19 outbreak with some studies showing direct anti-coronavirus effects of elderberry18. There is little clinical evidence that elderberry causes or potentiates cytokine storms, quite the opposite. Unfortunately, during a “cytokine storm,” regulator cells are inactivated. The immune system loses control of the feedback loop, and too many inflammatory immune cells are recruited, causing multiple organ failure and septic shock.4 Some viruses such as SARS and COVID-19 (SARS 2) purposefully manipulate the immune system into creating cytokine storms to crash the immune system and further spread infection.5 Elderberry & Cytokine Storms In medicine context matters and it appears that elderberry is both an immune stimulator and more importantly an immune regulator which has a potent protective effect against both cytokine storms, influenza17, and coronaviruses18. The wisdom of nature wins again.  
    2. [References] 
    3.  
    4. Further, for volunteers using long-term high dose elderberry, inflammatory cytokines were reduced by 35% (from 15.3 to 10.5)!9 Further, in mouse studies, elderberry improved the symptoms of both diabetes and high blood pressure10, two major risk factors for COVID-19 complications.11 For additional support, other immune regulator herbs such as astragalus12, green tea13, reishi14, turmeric-curcumin15, and vitamin c16 may be combined with your elderberry regimen.  
    5. Much of the current controversy surrounding elderberry and cytokine storms stems from a 2001 study on the elderberry extract Sambucol where researchers found elderberry stimulated the production of cytokines 45-fold.8 A 45-fold increase in cytokines seems like a lot, but it is important to put the study’s methodology into context. The researchers didn’t treat whole people; rather, they fed isolated and purified blood cells directly with elderberry in a petri dish removing all of our innate regulatory mechanisms. This methodology doesn’t represent the wisdom of nature or our highly adaptive immune system.  
    6. Elderberry has been highly regarded in myth, medicine, and legend throughout history.6 Long ago Hippocrates, “father of modern medicine” spoke of elderberries gifts to medicine. The branches of the Elder tree were once rolled into pipes and used for kindling fires and indeed Elders botanical name, Sambucus, comes from the Greek, Sambuca, which translates to “wind instrument”.6 In many cultures, the Elder tree is sacred and said to be able to ward off storms, witches, and goblins. Some traditions even state that sleeping under an Elder tree could impart knowledge of the future.7 Perhaps we could use some of Elders wisdom to shed some light on the current COVID-19 controversy.  
    7. The Magic of Elderberry 
    8. Cytokines are essential immune signaling molecules that organize and mobilize our innate immune system against microbial pathogens. Simply, under an immune threat, the bodies cytokines send up flares that recruit other immune molecules to localize inflammation and contain the infection.3 The immune system operates in a forward positive feedback loop, meaning, immune cells create cytokines, which in turn generate more immune cells, which then generate more cytokines and so on. This cytokinemediated loop continues to operate until an immune regulator cell comes along and puts on the brakes.  
    9. What is a Cytokine? What is a cytokine storm? 
    10. Elderberry has a long history of use and is one of the superstar herbals we used to fight cold and flu infections every year. I’m sure most people who have used elderberry during the flu would call it a lifesaver, however, amid the COVID-19 outbreak currently sweeping the world, questions of elderberry’s safety have been raised.1 The concern is that elderberry could potentially over stimulate the immune system causing a “cytokine storm” a potentially lethal immune complication seen in previous SARS pandemic outbreaks leading to ARDS.2 (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) 
    11. We could learn a thing or two from our “elders”.  

    We could learn a thing or two from our “elders”.  

    Elderberry has a long history of use and is one of the superstar herbals we used to fight cold and flu infections every year. I’m sure most people who have used elderberry during the flu would call it a lifesaver, however, amid the COVID-19 outbreak currently sweeping the world, questions of elderberry’s safety have been raised.1 The concern is that elderberry could potentially over stimulate the immune system causing a “cytokine storm” a potentially lethal immune complication seen in previous SARS pandemic outbreaks leading to ARDS.2 (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) 

    With so much conflicting information circulating on social media and in the news, it can be challenging to separate fact from fiction. To be clear, we believe that elderberry is safe to take during the COVID-19 outbreak with some studies showing direct anti-coronavirus effects of elderberry18. There is little clinical evidence that elderberry causes or potentiates cytokine storms, quite the opposite. 

    What is a Cytokine? What is a cytokine storm? 

    Cytokines are essential immune signaling molecules that organize and mobilize our innate immune system against microbial pathogens. Simply, under an immune threat, the bodies cytokines send up flares that recruit other immune molecules to localize inflammation and contain the infection.3 The immune system operates in a forward positive feedback loop, meaning, immune cells create cytokines, which in turn generate more immune cells, which then generate more cytokines and so on. This cytokinemediated loop continues to operate until an immune regulator cell comes along and puts on the brakes.  

    Unfortunately, during a “cytokine storm,” regulator cells are inactivated. The immune system loses control of the feedback loop, and too many inflammatory immune cells are recruited, causing multiple organ failure and septic shock.4 Some viruses such as SARS and COVID-19 (SARS 2) purposefully manipulate the immune system into creating cytokine storms to crash the immune system and further spread infection.5 

    The Magic of Elderberry 

    Elderberry has been highly regarded in myth, medicine, and legend throughout history.6 Long ago Hippocrates, “father of modern medicine” spoke of elderberries gifts to medicine. The branches of the Elder tree were once rolled into pipes and used for kindling fires and indeed Elders botanical name, Sambucus, comes from the Greek, Sambuca, which translates to “wind instrument”.6 In many cultures, the Elder tree is sacred and said to be able to ward off storms, witches, and goblins. Some traditions even state that sleeping under an Elder tree could impart knowledge of the future.7 Perhaps we could use some of Elders wisdom to shed some light on the current COVID-19 controversy.  

    Elderberry & Cytokine Storms 

    Much of the current controversy surrounding elderberry and cytokine storms stems from a 2001 study on the elderberry extract Sambucol where researchers found elderberry stimulated the production of cytokines 45-fold.8 A 45-fold increase in cytokines seems like a lot, but it is important to put the study’s methodology into context. The researchers didn’t treat whole people; rather, they fed isolated and purified blood cells directly with elderberry in a petri dish removing all of our innate regulatory mechanisms. This methodology doesn’t represent the wisdom of nature or our highly adaptive immune system.  

    Further, for volunteers using long-term high dose elderberry, inflammatory cytokines were reduced by 35% (from 15.3 to 10.5)!9 Further, in mouse studies, elderberry improved the symptoms of both diabetes and high blood pressure10, two major risk factors for COVID-19 complications.11 For additional support, other immune regulator herbs such as astragalus12, green tea13, reishi14, turmeric-curcumin15, and vitamin c16 may be combined with your elderberry regimen.  

    In medicine context matters and it appears that elderberry is both an immune stimulator and more importantly an immune regulator which has a potent protective effect against both cytokine storms, influenza17, and coronaviruses18. The wisdom of nature wins again.  

     

    [References] 


Coronavirus & Elderberry: Safe or not? 

We could learn a thing or two from our “elders”.  

Elderberry has a long history of use and is one of the superstar herbals we used to fight cold and flu infections every year. I’m sure most people who have used elderberry during the flu would call it a lifesaver, however, amid the COVID-19 outbreak currently sweeping the world, questions of elderberry’s safety have been raised.1 The concern is that elderberry could potentially over stimulate the immune system causing a “cytokine storm” a potentially lethal immune complication seen in previous SARS pandemic outbreaks leading to ARDS.2 (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) 

With so much conflicting information circulating on social media and in the news, it can be challenging to separate fact from fiction. To be clear, we believe that elderberry is safe to take during the COVID-19 outbreak with some studies showing direct anti-coronavirus effects of elderberry18. There is little clinical evidence that elderberry causes or potentiates cytokine storms, quite the opposite. 

What is a Cytokine? What is a cytokine storm? 

Cytokines are essential immune signaling molecules that organize and mobilize our innate immune system against microbial pathogens. Simply, under an immune threat, the bodies cytokines send up flares that recruit other immune molecules to localize inflammation and contain the infection.3 The immune system operates in a forward positive feedback loop, meaning, immune cells create cytokines, which in turn generate more immune cells, which then generate more cytokines and so on. This cytokine-mediated loop continues to operate until an immune regulator cell comes along and puts on the brakes.  

Unfortunately, during a “cytokine storm,” regulator cells are inactivated. The immune system loses control of the feedback loop, and too many inflammatory immune cells are recruited, causing multiple organ failure and septic shock.4 Some viruses such as SARS and COVID-19 (SARS 2) purposefully manipulate the immune system into creating cytokine storms to crash the immune system and further spread infection.5 

The Magic of Elderberry 

Elderberry has been highly regarded in myth, medicine, and legend throughout history.6 Long ago Hippocrates, “father of modern medicine” spoke of elderberries gifts to medicine. The branches of the Elder tree were once rolled into pipes and used for kindling fires and indeed Elders botanical name, Sambucus, comes from the Greek, Sambuca, which translates to “wind instrument”.6 In many cultures, the Elder tree is sacred and said to be able to ward off storms, witches, and goblins. Some traditions even state that sleeping under an Elder tree could impart knowledge of the future.7 Perhaps we could use some of Elders wisdom to shed some light on the current COVID-19 controversy.  

Elderberry & Cytokine Storms 

Much of the current controversy surrounding elderberry and cytokine storms stems from a 2001 study on the elderberry extract Sambucol where researchers found elderberry stimulated the production of cytokines 45-fold.8 A 45-fold increase in cytokines seems like a lot, but it is important to put the study’s methodology into context. The researchers didn’t treat whole people; rather, they fed isolated and purified blood cells directly with elderberry in a petri dish removing all of our innate regulatory mechanisms. This methodology doesn’t represent the wisdom of nature or our highly adaptive immune system.  

Further, for volunteers using long-term high dose elderberry, inflammatory cytokines were reduced by 35% (from 15.3 to 10.5)!9 Further, in mouse studies, elderberry improved the symptoms of both diabetes and high blood pressure10, two major risk factors for COVID-19 complications.11 For additional support, other immune regulator herbs such as astragalus12, green tea13, reishi14, turmeric-curcumin15, and vitamin c16 may be combined with your elderberry regimen.  

In medicine context matters and it appears that elderberry is both an immune stimulator and more importantly an immune regulator which has a potent protective effect against both cytokine storms, influenza17, and coronaviruses18. The wisdom of nature wins again.  

 

[References] 

    1. https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/pediatrician-biggest-concerns-covid-19-160001252.html 

    2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4711683/ 

    3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4670773/ 

    4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3294426/ 

    5. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jmv.20255 

    6. https://herballegacy.com/Bond_History.html 

    7. https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/e/elder-04.html 

    8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11399518/ 

    9. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/139/12/2266/4670593 

    10. http://europepmc.org/article/MED/26314315 

    11. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/people-at-higher-risk.html 

    12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24325861 

    13. https://www.cabi.org/nutrition/ebook/20173328626 

    14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20574926 

    15. https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-benefits/how-turmeric-fights-these-7-serious-viral-infections 

    16. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-16073-9_5 

    17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27023596 

    18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3899428/ 

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Published By:

Bryan Bradford

Bryan Bradford is the lead nutrition specialist, Certified Health Coach and Chief Nutrition Officer and one of the founding family members of Sunflower Shoppe.

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