Elderberry, a teeny-tiny berry that packs a powerful punch, comes from a popular plant known for its immune-boosting properties. You may have also heard it referred to as “sambucus.”
According to the journal , elderberry promotes seasonal support and the stimulation of immune responses. How so? It contains flavonoids, which boast antioxidant properties (antioxidants aid in protecting cells from damage from free radicals).
From syrup to supplements, here are seven different ways you can reap the benefits of this lush little berry.
Elderberry supplements are the most common way to take elderberry. You can buy them in all sorts of forms, ranging from tinctures to capsules to lozenges. It’s a good idea to have your favorite form of elderberry on hand in your medicine cabinet during cold and flu season.
Add elderberry to your breakfast routine in the form of jelly! This versatile way to enjoy the food lasts for a long time in the fridge and can be added to everything from breakfast foods (French toast, anyone?) to desserts ( perhaps?). Jello is an option, too, as is a fancier compote.
Elderberry syrup is another popular form, easily found in any health food or supplements section. It can be mixed with other drinks or quickly downed by the spoonful.
Most elderberry syrups are sweetened with sugar or honey, so it’s a tasty way to keep your body well (a.k.a. it’s not your gross “grape”-flavored childhood medicine).
Try drinking your elderberry as a punch. To do so, combine the syrup with a healthy juice or sparkling beverage. “At our house, we add elderberry syrup (two teaspoons) to plain seltzer water and make elderberry spritzer in the winter months,” says Rebecca Snow, a nutritionist and herbalist based in Catonsville, Maryland.
Elderberry gummies are another great, tasty way to reap all the benefits of elderberry. They’re especially popular with kids.
6. Baked goods
Elderberries aren’t very sweet on their own, but they can add a unique flavor to baked goods like muffins, quick breads, or cookies. Snow says she even adds a few dried berries as she cooks oatmeal, to boost the nutritional content.
Tea made with elderberry and other supportive herbs, like can really help keep your immune system in check and hydrate your sore throat and stuffy nose.
If you’re interested in DIY–ing your own elderberry products, make sure you buy quality dried elderberries from a reputable source. It’s also key to ensure that elderberries are cooked before you consume them.