When most people contract a cold or flu, they head to their doctor or the local drug store to pick up some type of drug they believe will alleviate their symptoms. With a cold, flu or any other virus, drugs only have the ability to mask or treat symptoms, but they cannot eliminate the virus itself. Only the immune system can do that. Viruses, which are very small infectious agents that replicate inside the body, only cause illness in the first place if the immune system fails to do its job.
The immune system is constantly keeping threats at bay. Most people don't realize that their body is very frequently hosting viruses, which don't result in illnesses. This is because the immune system is able to neutralize these viruses before they can replicate to the point where they start causing symptoms. Thus, the most effective way to avoid illnesses caused by viruses, or any other infectious agent for that matter, is to maintain a strong immune system.
When the immune system fails, use elderberries
For those times when the immune system has failed to do its job, there is one natural remedy that has proven to be among the most effective for battling viruses. There are many natural remedies, foods and other techniques that can enhance immune function, but in the case of battling common viruses specifically, elderberry has a show to posses an especially high rate of efficacy. Elderberries, which happen to be a very powerful antioxidant, have been used for centuries in folk medicine (as well as today, in other countries around the world) to treat colds, influenza, wounds (when applied topically) and have even shown to be effective against the herpes simplex virus.
A 2001 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine stated that elderberry extracts are "natural remedies with antiviral properties, especially against different strains of influenza virus." Another 2004 study published in the NLM commented on reduced duration of flu symptoms when using elderberry: "Symptoms were relieved on average four days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo." University of Maryland Medial Center writes "Elderberry may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties" and "one study suggested that elderberry could kill the H1N1 virus."
Why exactly are elderberries so effective?
It is hypothesized that black elderberries may include a specific compound, which coats viruses and keeps them from penetrating and infecting healthy cells. The truth is science cannot always pinpoint the exact reason mother nature's cures work as well as they do. There are unknown molecules in nature which work in mysterious ways with the body.
The human body and its mysterious abilities to heal and overcome sicknesses cannot always be identified or quantified by science. The body and mind are amazingly complex and that complexity works especially well with nature in its unaltered form. So, the next time you have a cold or flu, instead of running to the drugstore, create your own black elderberry elixir and you'll be better in no time.
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