Elderberry is a superfood with many health benefits, a great reason to include in your baby’s diet. Keep reading to know more about elderberry for babies.
One among the ancient medicinal trees, the elder tree, dates back to the stone-age. The flowers were used as diaphoretics and diuretics and to cure colic in babies. We can find its mention and usage even in the times of Hippocrates. The Elder tree grows in Europe and North America. Its flowers turn into dark purple berries in late summer in Europe. It has several medicinal nutrients and is used primarily in the winter season to ward off and alleviate seasonal ills. The English people view it with particular fondness as an effective medicine to have on hand whilst enduring the harsh winters.
Health Benefits of Elderberry
- The Elderberry contains vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. These help to boost healthy vision, improve metabolism, and nerve health. These vitamins are also responsible for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues respectively. It increases immunity and helps maintain bone, cartilage, and teeth health.
- The mineral profile includes iron, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium; necessary for heart and bone health.
- Among all berries, the elderberries contain the highest amount of a powerful antioxidant named Anthocyanin. These neutralize free radicals in the body and help prevent chronic diseases.
- It has flavonoids which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In a study, the flavonoids were found to bind to the virus and block its ability to cause infection.
- The elderberries also have a chemo-preventive property that may inhibit, delay, or reverse cancer.
- It functions as an anti-depressant.
- It’s antiviral and antimicrobial properties boost immunity and prevent common infections.
- It shortens the duration of upper respiratory infections, sore throat, cough, sinusitis, mouth ulcers, tonsillitis, flu, and the common cold.
How To Use Elderberry for Babies?
Due to its benefits and uses, Elderberry is commonly used for babies. Keep reading to know a complete guide on how to use elderberry for babies.
You can add dried or dehydrated berries soaked in water in muffins, pancakes, pies, hot cereals. You can alternatively cook it in water, strain, and make a juice or make them into jellies. Elderberries are also available commercially in syrup form under the name ‘Sambucol‘. Alternatively, you can make this syrup at home too, and store for a few months in the refrigerator.
For babies ‘over’ one year of age
Boil a cup of dried Elderberries in 4 cups of water for 45 minutes. Mash the berries and then strain, and let it cool until its lukewarm and mix 3/4 cup raw honey. You can store this in a sealed bottle for many months in the fridge. You know it’s going bad when it changes color or gives a strange smell.
- Dosage- 1 tsp two times a day
For Babies ‘under’ one year of age
What You Need
- 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup whole organic Elderberries
- 2 cups of water
- Heat the sugar in water in a saucepan till it dissolves and store the syrup in a glass jar.
- Boil elderberries in 2 cups of water for an hour and mash the berries with a spoon.
- Remove from heat and strain the juice. Store in a sterilized glass jar after cooling.
- Combine these syrups in the ratio of 3:1, i.e., for every 3 tbsp of elderberry juice, add a tablespoon of the sugar syrup. Store this in the refrigerator.
- Dosage- 1/4 tsp daily for disease prevention or 1/4 tsp 2-3 times a day to treat cold and flu.
Side effects and Precautions
Seek a professional medical practitioner advise before including elderberry in your baby’s diet, especially if the baby is on medications. Also, though traditional medicinal practices support giving elderberry syrup to babies over six months of age and to lactating mothers, more research is needed on this. Therefore, it is advisable to start the syrup only after the baby is a year old.
Few other points to keep in mind:
- Only Short-term use of this syrup is advisable.
- Use only processed elderberries to prevent toxicity as the stems, leaves, seeds, and unripe berries can potentially cause cyanide poisoning.
- Side effects of the Elderberry include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, numbness, and stupor. It is advisable to stop use and seek medical opinion in case of any such effects.
Interactions with Prescribed Medications
Elderberry reportedly has shown some negative interactions with prescribed allopathic medicines and therefore, you need to exercise caution while on medication.
- The diuretic property of the berry enhances the impact of diuretic medicines, and it also increases the effect of laxatives.
- For those on diabetic medication, it may increase the risk of hypoglycemia.
- It reduces the effect of asthma medicines that contain theophylline.
- Do not use it if you are on immunosuppressants.
From this article, it is evident that the benefits of using the Elderberry are vast. However, as applicable to any other home remedy, you should be vigilant of the precautions and use it the correct way.