As the coronavirus pandemic continues to accelerate, the scientific community is looking at more medicines and alternative treatments that potentially help with COVID-19 symptoms. Till now there have been various clinical trials to test different drugs.
In the trials, some of the drugs did indeed help in managing signs of coronavirus infection. For instance, antiviral medicine Remdesivir can help relieve some of the coronavirus-related breathing difficulties.
Similarly, scientists also found that the widely available drug, dexamethasone can also be beneficial. The use of dexamethasone can help especially in the chronic stages of the coronavirus infection.
Now, a number of health experts are also exploring the option of herbal and ancient remedies. For example, elderberry syrup is among the oldest remedies for flu-like illnesses in the world.
In fact, it is a part of medicine for hundreds of years. The benefits of elderberry in the modern world have also been proven scientifically. Not only can it relieve certain flu-like symptoms but also boost the immune system, thereby preventing future infections.
Elderberry syrup is made from berries and dried flowers of the ‘European elder tree’. In scientific terminology, it is called Sambucus nigra. The flowers and berries of the tree are also available in other forms in addition to syrup.
People also use the benefits of elderberry by taking it in the form of pills, extracts, and tea. In some parts of the world, it is also available in the form of gummy bears.
The syrup can directly be bought from the store but some people prefer to make it at home. Making elderberry syrup at home is easy. For many people, it is a way to ensure it is pure and they can also add more ingredients to it.
Generally, the overall composition of elderberry syrup contains dried flowers and berries from the tree, spices, water, a little amount of alcohol, and honey. However, some drugstore variants can also contain added sugars and preservatives.
Therefore, most holistic experts advise people to try to make the elderberry syrup at home whenever possible. When giving the syrup to elderly sick people or very young children, this should be especially important.
Taking elderberry syrup which is free from potentially harmful ingredients can be extremely beneficial. Elderberry, similar to other berries like raspberries and strawberries, can boost immunity.
Elderberry contains some of the most powerful immunity boosters such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
In addition, elderberry has also been found to have neuraminidase inhibiting activity. This means that it can stop the enzyme released by cells after being infected which is otherwise known as viral neuraminidase.
This can help in relieving a number of symptoms of flu-related illnesses. Studies show that elderberry can specifically help with influenza and decrease the time and severity of symptoms.
Now, a big question by many people is whether taking elderberry syrup can help in relieving COVID-19 symptoms. Previous studies have shown that elderberry can help with other coronaviruses.
For example, one study showed that elderberry can stop the replication of the ‘HCoV-NL63’ coronavirus. This is mainly due to the presence of a compound called caffeine acid.
However, in the case of COVID-19 symptoms, elderberry syrup may not be as beneficial. Elderberry has the ability to increase the production of inflammatory cytokines while boosting immunity.
For people with diseases like HIV or a poor immune system, this can be helpful. However, for those with COVID-19 symptoms, it can cause an overproduction of cytokines which can have the opposite effect and destroy essential tissues in the body.
This is why health experts are only suggesting treatment prescribed by a doctor for COVID-19 symptoms for now.
Some research centers including the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, have even asked people to avoid elderberry syrup or other herbal remedies for COVID-19 symptoms.