Elderberry To The Rescue For Cold, Flu and Other Viral Infections!

             Have you ever been sick and gone to the doctor to hear you have a virus and have to just ride it out? When the body becomes infected by a virus, the immune system starts making appropriate antibodies which eventually will neutralize the virus. Viral infections, like the flu, or the common cold, cannot be treated by an antibiotics or other drugs, making them a useless (and often disadvantageous) option. Instead of feeling hopeless, let’s better understand our immune system, and our options.

If your immune system is strong enough, your body would not be susceptible to viruses. Susceptibility factors include immune competence, fatigue, vitality, genetics, nutrient levels, and other factors. In this busy world it may not seem always possible to get enough sleep, or eat a perfect diet, and even if you haven’t been dealt a perfect genetic makeup, there is still hope. In times when the immune system has failed to do its job, there is one natural aid that has proven to be among the most effective for battling viruses: Elderberry. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) is from a large shrub native to Europe, Africa, and Asia, and has been used, in it’s cooked form, for treating influenza and colds for centuries. Elderberries, which contain very powerful antioxidants, have been used in folk medicine treat colds, influenza, wounds (topically) and have even shown to be effective against the herpes simplex virus. Some evidence suggests that chemicals in elder flower and berries may help reduce swelling in mucous membranes, such as the sinuses, and help relieve nasal congestion as well.

Although the exact mechanism of action has not been identified, data does show elderberry is high in the anti-viral flavonoids cyanidin 3-glucoside and cyanidin 3-sambubioside, and has been shown to be effective as an antiviral against herpes Simplex 1, the common cold, sinusitis, and influenza. Not only do dozens of clinical studies demonstrate elderberry’s beneficial effect by the stimulating immune response and preventing viral infection, but I can honestly say this winter has been one of my families healthiest on record as we try to remember to take elderberry at the first sign on a sniffle, or after being in contact with anyone sick with a cold or flu! Lucky for you, you don’t need to travel to Africa to benefit; we sell organic elderberry syrup, elderberry shots, and homemade elderberry starter kits (with recipe) right at the Juice Barn!!


 Kinoshita, E., Hayashi, K., Katayama, H., Hayashi, T., & Obata, A. (2012). Anti-influenza virus effects of elderberry juice and its fractions. Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry, 76(9), 1633-1638.

 Krawitz, C., Mraheil, M., Stein, M., Imirzalioglu, C., Domann, E., Pleschka, S., & Hain, T. (2011). Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses. 11, 16-16. 16  doi:10.1186/1472-6882

Pizzorno J. E. & Murray, M. T. (2013). Textbook of Natural Medicine (4th. ed.). St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone.

Zakay-Rones, Z., Thom, E., Wollan, T., & Wadstein, J. (2004). Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections. JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL RESEARCH, 32(2), 132-140. doi: 10.1177/147323000403200205


Do You Really Know What’s In Your Morning Coffee?!?

Do You Really Know What’s In Your Morning Coffee?!?

This may come to a shock for a lot of people, but conventionally-grown coffee is incredibly unhealthy for people and the planet. Did you know that coffee is one of the most heavily chemically-treated crops of any food of agricultural product?! YUCK!

One of the main reasons that coffee requires such large amounts of pesticides and insecticides is the fact that traditional growers often clear wide areas of land, most often in the rainforest, where the coffee plants receive direct sunlight all day.  This strong sun exposure weakens the coffee plants immune system and makes them vulnerable to pests. As you would guess, many of these chemicals (pesticides and insecticides) sprayed directly on the coffee plants end up in the coffee that people drink on a daily basis and therefore harm our bodies. So for most people, their first ‘food’ of the day has already posed a health threat…and as you may know from my digestion and cleanse classes, the body assimilates foods/liquids taken on an empty stomach much more readily!

If personal toxicity isn’t already a big enough factor to switch to organic coffee, consider this:

·         The chemicals sprayed on coffee also cause damage to the soil and pollute the local water supply.

·      Data shows traditional foods have less nutrients than organically grown foods.

·      Workers who have tremendous exposure to these chemicals suffer greatly, including those who work in coffee plants. 

·      As coffee beans are harvested, they are washed with water that is then released back into streams, rivers or whatever source it came from, even the soil…, which of course, includes all of the many different toxic chemicals, is has washed from the beans.

·      Over my lifetime approximately 2/3rds of the rainforest in Central America and Mexico has disappeared for crops such as coffee. The clearing of rainforests, represents an incredibly serious threat to global warming. 

This may be one of my most depressing blogs for some, BUT don’t worry, organic coffee farmers do not use harmful toxins and chemicals on their coffee crops, and most organic coffee is shade grown. What does this mean to you, you ask?! This means you can still enjoy that warm coffee hug in the morning without putting unnecessary and dangerous pesticides or insecticides into your body each morning! The Juice Barn sells only 100% organic coffee from local vendors. Come grab a freshly brewed cup, a morning rush smoothie, or a fresh ground bag of coffee to bring home to start your day of right!!!