Thursday, October 1, 2009

Use of Florida Elderberry in the Treatment of a Confirmed Case of H1N1

Many thanks to Paul Bergner for his promotion of Elderberry as well as other herbs in this video as a suggested treatment for Swine Flu/ H1N1 Virus. As mentioned by Paul, Elder Flower and Elderberry have been in use in Europe and North America traditionally for use with colds and flu. An Isreali scientific study also found that influenza patients taking Elderberry syrup fared better than those in the control group. There are various types of Elder. The more well known is Sambucus nigra. Another commonly used Elder is Sambucus canadensis. In Florida we have Florida Elder or Sambucus simpsonii, which is what I gather and use in my medicinal preparations. Florida elder blooms most heavily during May, followed by berry production at the end of June. You can find most often near damp wooded areas. On occasion you will find Florida elder blooming or fruiting outside of this time period. For example I found a small flowering patch near the Halifax river two weeks ago. I have also found the odd shrub flowering mid-winter in sunny residential areas. Since the primary harvest time for the berry is during the most humid part of the year and I do not yet have a solar herb dryer nor humidity control, I generally tincture the fresh berry in high proof alcohol. This extract has given me good results especially with babies and children who have fever or fever with rashes.

Last week I was approached by a friend whose teen aged child received an official diagnosis of H1N1/Swine Flu infection. I was happy to be able to send her home with some Florida elderberry extract made with a 1:1 glycerin: Everclear (151) solution. Most recipes for Elderberry extract or syrup call for dried berries, which allow for a more concentrated solution. Typical dosage for such a tincture (made with dried berries) for an adult is 2 droppers full 3-5 times a day. We started with this dosage on day one with not much change in the high fever. In then doubling
this dosage we saw good results in reduction of the fever, (which made a lot of sense considering fresh berries were used). Also note worthy, the two other teens from this household who also became sick recovered well using this herb. It was rather encouraging to me also that my friend who is quite healthy and strong did not get sick. Despite the impression from the popular media regarding the epidemic nature of the illness, it seems that proper self care is a strong defense against infection.

Elderberry is a very popular herb. Consider having some on hand in case you need it during this
cold and flu season. Check with your local herbalist or health food shop for preparations.

This blog post is a part of the October Herbal Blog party celebrating Bioregional Herbs for Cold and Flu Season and hosted by Rosalee de la Foret.

Elderberry on Foodista

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