April 28th, 2009 | Posted in alan | Tags: , , ,

Nowadays it seems we live with the constant spectre of the latest super-flu. It sometimes seems that we are just one small viral mutation away from oblivion!
It’s good to know then, that regardless of the type of flu or its origins, nature has provided us with some herbs to help us fight off the effects of these nasty viruses. Standing at the head of the anti-viral herb queue is black elder.

Black elder is a herb that has been used for centuries to fight the symptoms of colds and flu. Modern research indicates that it may well have some of the answers to the modern viral diseases as they get ever more serious.

So what’s so good about black elder then?
Elder has been used for so long in European herbal medicine, and indeed world-wide, that it has become part of folklore and myth…often described as the medicine chest of the countryside!
As an anti-viral agent, black elder has beed used for centuries, being given to fight the symptoms of colds and flu. Conrad von Magenberg was the first to write about elder’s ability to enhance resistance to disease, in the thirteen hundreds.

Research shows that people (and other animals) with colds and flu given black elder recover faster and suffer fewer symptoms. It has to be said though, black elder does not seem to prevent colds and flu, it just deals with them effectively! Clinical trials have shown that black elder helps to limit the course of, and reduce the symptoms caused by several strains of Influenza A and B viruses. Black elder may also have some activity against HIV and the cold sore virus, not to mention the notorious bird flu.

Black elder stops viruses replicating, both in the test tube and in people! THe influenza virus attaches itself to our cells by attaching to specific receptor sites on the cell membrane called haemagglutinins. Once attached the virus uses enzymes to enter our cells. Once in, the virus can multiply. Israeli researcher, MAdeleine Mumcuoglu Ph.D of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Centre in Ein Karem, Israel, has researched the activity of black elder extensively. She found principles in black elder that inhibit the viral enzymes effect on our cell membranes within 24-48 hours, and thus block the entry of the virus into our bodies.

What’s more, black elder triggers an immune response to invasion by a virus. As well as raising an antibody response various chemicals called cytokines are raised. These chemicals amplify and direct an immune response to virus infected cells. Black elder is also used to reduce the fever caused by colds and flu. In this respect black elder is probably the best known and longest used fever reducing herb on Earth!

Is black elder safe for everyone?
Black elder is safe for adults and children and can be taken alongside all the usual antiviral and fever lowering drugs.

How much do I take?
Take 20 drops of Swiss Herbal Remedies black elder tincture, in a little water, three times daily. This dosage can safely be doubled when the flu is at its height or is particularly severe.