Made from the tart berries plucked from the family of the Sambucus tree, elderberry tea has been a healing remedy for thousands of years. The humble elderberry is considered to be quite the superfood. It was first used by early indigenous people of the Americas to brew up heady concoctions to boost the immune system, detox and cleanse the body, reduce inflammation, and to treat fevers, cold, and flu too.
Beyond being a simple folk medicine, elderberry is still revered in our modern world. It is harvested and crushed up into jams, chutneys, and even wines and is loved because of its tart flavor and delicate muscat scent. It is also delicious in tea and comes heaped in rich and heavenly nutritional benefits too. Let’s do a deep dive into all the elderberry tea benefits…
What is Elderberry Tea?
Elderberry tea is made from the berries of the elder tree. The berries are picked and then dried before being infused with water to make a warm and soothing tea. The berries come in different colors – from black and red to blue. They have a tart taste and are said to be beneficial at boosting the immune system.
The elderberry tree is part of the Sambucus Tree family (real name Sambucus Nigra) and elderberries also go by the name of elderflower. The tree flowers all over the world but is native to European shores. These trees can grow up to 9 meters tall and burst with frothy white clusters with a delicate apple-like fragrance that is known as the elderflower. These flowers are often picked and made into syrups too. The elderberry plant can be found stashed in bunches too and these need to be cooked to be consumed. When cooked they give off a jammy dark coloring and a tart lip pursing flavor.
History of Elderberry
For many years, the elderberry tree has been revered as a healer. From the Ancient Greeks to the Egyptians and the Native Americans, all have turned to the healing benefits that blush in the dark and juicy colors of the Elderberry fruit. Even Hippocrates (the father of medicine) sang the praises of the elderberry, calling it his medicine chest as he crushed it, pulped it, picked it and prescribed it for a whole range of ailments. Ancient Egyptians were believed to have been buried with an elderberry tincture carried with them – suffice to say this bright and bold berry was considered to be extremely precious.
Even beyond the berry, the elder tree is also celebrated in folklore and magic. In the goddess tradition, those who worship Venus and Holle believe the elder tree to be of sacred space. Pagan traditions also say that the elder tree is the elder mother whose bark and branch brims with magic.
With such a rich history, it comes as no surprise that elderberry extract and elderberry tea is considered to be something of a magic healer too. Tea comes with its own history and a unique array of healing benefits. The blend of both berry and brew is sure to fill you with all things fabulous.
What does Elderberry Tea taste like?
Sweet and tart and bursting with ripeness, the elderberry isn’t as sweet as some of the other more popular berries but instead holds on to its soft earthy hues too. One of the best things about working with elderberry tea is that you can change the taste to suit your own palate by adding in a few other spices. From clove to cardamom and a pinch of cinnamon, you can easily add more layers to bring this berry burst into warming autumnal shades.
Information about Nutrients
Every cup of elderberry tea packs quite a punch when it comes to building up your nutritional intake and feeding your body exactly what it needs. Let’s say for every ounce of elderberries collected (28 grams), you can expect the following:
· 20 calories
· 5.2 grams of carbs
· 0.1 gram of fat
· 17% of your daily vitamin C intake
· 3% of your daily vitamin A intake
· 3% of your daily vitamin B intake
· 2% of your daily potassium intake
· 2% of your daily iron intake
7 Health Benefits of Elderberry Tea
Brimming with flavor and vitality, elderberry tea knows how to freshen your senses and bring a surge of sweet strength to your immune system too. Granted superfood status, drinking elderberry tea is amazing for your health from tip to toe. This magic tea can help everything from cutting down on the discomfort of UTI’s to fighting off flu. Do you know any benefits from the bright elderberry tea? Don’t worry, we are about to explore them all…
Source of Anthocyanins
It may not roll off the tongue with ease but Anthocyanins are one of the compounds that helps elderberry tea keep its reputation of being a top-shelf healer. This compound is also what gives the berries their lush black and purple coloring. But even beyond the pretty coloring, anthocyanins are known to also have health-boosting properties too. They are a rich source of antioxidants and also brim with anti-inflammatory properties. Studies conducted on both humans and animals have come back with positive results showcasing those anthocyanins can reduce cardiovascular risks, help control obesity, lower your likelihood of developing diabetes, and so much more. When you have these anthocyanins onside the odds seem to certainly be in your favor.
High in Nutrients
One of the best things about elderberry tea is the fact that a single cup is stuffed full of nutrients and a whole host of good stuff. There is a ton of antioxidants in elderberry tea, which is awesome news as antioxidants are one of the best things you can put in your body as they help to fend off free radicals and reduce your risk of chronic disease. Elderberry tea is also full of vitamin C, stuffed with fiber to keep your diet healthy and rich in flavonoids phenolic acids.
Boosts Immune System
When you combine all those powerful antioxidants and array of nutrients, it’s no surprise that elderberry tea brings an awesome boost to your immune system. Protecting against viruses, keeping the cell walls strong and fit, and increasing the production of inflammatory cytokines all come together to give your system an arsenal of defence to use against disease and illness. Animal studies have also shown that the polyphenols in elderberry also helped to bring up the white blood cell count. With a boosted immune system you can cut down on everything from colds to cancer risks.
Keeping your body fighting fit is always good especially when it comes to extending the quality of life and preventing a wide range of diseases. Elderberry tea can reduce the risk of a whole host of diseases, including when it comes to cancer prevention. Elderberries are said to contain quercetin, which is believed to have therapeutic effects on the immune system, encouraging it to snap into action and help when it comes to cancer treatment.
As elderberry can also keep blood sugar levels in check which can help when it comes to managing diabetes and reduce the risks of complications developing from the disease. While there is some evidence it is limited so always talk with your medical professional or endocrinologist before bringing elderberry tea into your diet for that reason.
Protects Against UV Radiation & Harmful Bacteria
Harmful bacteria can get into the cracks and wreak havoc on your health. One way in which elderberry can help is when it comes to urinary tract infections and the berries ability to reduce inflammation. We all know the discomfort of a UTI and fortunately sipping elderberry tea can reduce the impact and get you cleared up even faster.
When it comes to protecting against sun damage and reducing the physical signs of aging, again elderberry tea can swoop in and come to the rescue. The anthocyanins that are found in the bright burst of elderberry are known to be a natural booster for your skin's health and can protect against UV rays and sun damage. The fact that elderberry is also rich in antioxidants and polyphenols could also mean that the skin will enjoy those benefits too as these compounds are full of anti-inflammatory properties and can even reverse the process of harm done to UV exposed skin.
Best for Cardiovascular Health
If you are interested in keeping your heart beating with all the strength then pour a cup of elderberry tea and let it infuse you with all the finery of cool cardiovascular health. A study conducted on heart health and elderberry juice found that the tart liquid helped to reduce fat in blood and cut down on cholesterol – both of which can be big contributing factors when it comes to heart disease risk.
But the research doesn’t stop there. Further cementing elderberry and its positive relationship to heart health, another study on rats and polyphenols extracted from elderberry came back showing that there was a reduction in high blood pressure levels (which puts a strain on the heart), and that alongside this there was a reduced risk when it came to organ damage. All this adds up to truly good news for your hart, simply by sipping a cup of elderberry tea.
Helps to Reduce Cold
Tis the season to be struggling with sniffles, coughs, colds, and all kinds of antiviral and flu-like symptoms. Now more than ever it feels so important to cut down on your risk of catching flu and colds and keeping your body in tip-top shape should you find yourself floored by influenza season. Studies have shown the black elderberry can help to reduce the severity of those symptoms we tend to associate with colds and flu.
One such study found that those who ingested 15ml of elderberry syrup four times a day cut their healing time down dramatically. They showed a significant improvement and reduction in flu symptoms in 2-4 days whereas those who went without took 7-8 days to start getting better. Next time you feel a series of sniffles and sneezes coming on, be sure to stack up on that elderberry tea.
Side Effects of Elderberry Tea
As you can see, elderberry tea is swimming with sublime health properties and by making it part of your sipping style, you can reap all those beautiful benefits for your body. Like all berries, there can be side effects if you consume a high quality. Uncooked raw elderberries contain a smidge of cyanide (not enough to worry about) and lectin which can cause stomach upsets if consumed in high doses. The best way to avoid any issues is to buy commercial elderberry tea as the berries would have been processed in a safe and certain way to ensure no traces of cyanide remain.
If you are out collecting elderberries yourself, make sure that you perform due diligence and identify the plant correctly as similar looking plants can be toxic. Also, cook the berries before turning them into anything consumable and discard the branches, bark, and leaves as these elements aren’t edible.
Purchased or picked correctly, there should be no dangers or side effects that come from drinking elderberry tea although people who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children may want to skip out on this sweet tea. This is because not enough research has been conducted on the effects of elderberry in these small groups. But don't worry, there are plenty of other teas to explore.
How To Make Elderberry Tea
Get gorgeous support for a healthy immune system and reduce those risks of prolonged flu and colds as you brew up a daily pot of tart and delicious elderberry tea. We recommend grabbing some dried elderberry from your local health food store or selecting premade elderberry tea to avoid having to go through the process of boiling and drying correctly. Here’s a simple home remedy for brewing up the best and most delicious version of elderberry tea.
· 1 ¼ cups of water
· 2-3 teaspoons of dried elderberries
· A little fresh ginger or a cinnamon stick for taste
1. Place your dried berries, cinnamon and ginger into a pot and add the water.
2. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat.
3. Add a lid to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Strain the berries.
5. Add a little honey as a sweetener and enjoy.
You can simplify this process by using elderberry tea bags that are readymade and simply need to be steeped. Add even more delicious flavor to your elderberry tea by blending with one of our delicious tea drops tastes. We love elderberry when blended with the warming spiced and naturally sweet elements of chai tea for an extra health kick that can carry you through both winter and summer. As it can be made with a black tea base too, chai tea can bring that little kick of caffeine when you are craving it. You can also add echinacea to your cup for an added dose of wellness.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do elderberries cause cytokine storms?
Since the pandemic hit there has been plenty of misinformation out there regarding elderberry and cytokine storm and we are here to help shift through the noise. Cytokines have many purposes but one of them is to send messages between cells. A cytokine storm can occur when the body has an uncontrollable inflammatory response that is caused by the immune system going into overdrive. As elderberry is an immune stimulant, it has led to some people speculating that there could be a link. There have been ZERO reported cases or links between elderberries and cytokine storms.
Are the benefits of elderflower the same as elderberries?
They may hail from the same tree and each is drenched in health benefits but elderberries and elderflower bring different traits to the table. Elderflowers are much more delicate in taste and aroma compared to the tart sharpness that the elderberry can bring. Elderflower can also be used when battling cold and flu but can also be used as a gargle for those suffering from laryngitis or a sore throat and used to treat itchy eyes and skin ailments too. You can read more about the health benefits of elderflower right here.
Can you drink elderberry tea every day?
Yes. Elderberry tea is rich in nutrients, can boost a healthy immune system, and is free from caffeine and is considered to be a safe and side-effect free drink to enjoy in moderation. If you want to top up your body with the good stuff, you can sip a beautiful cup of tea every single day without worry. Elderberry tea is especially good to drink during cold and flu season as it can help to reduce the severity of symptoms and get you back on your feet in no time.
Does elderberry tea have caffeine?
Because elderberry tea is a natural herbal tea made from the berries of the elder tree it contains no caffeine at all. For those who are looking for a delicious caffeine-free tea that won’t give them the coffee jitters or keep them up late, then elderberry tea can be a great alternative.
Natural and delicious, we love exploring all the teas that come from mother natures pantry. Elderberry tea is such a great example of a naturally caffeine-free tea that brings a whole heap of goodness to your daily diet. For those who want to keep their immune system soaring, keep disease and illness at bay, and who want to up their intake of awesome antioxidants, nutrients, and a whole lot more, then be sure to add elderberry tea to your collection of natural remedies.
What are your thoughts on elderberry tea? Have you ever tried it or do you prefer other caffeine-based teas instead? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Medical Disclaimer: While we have delved into the research available on the health benefits of these teas, this is for informative purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Those who have any health-related queries should reach out to a medical professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.