Traveling by air makes you vulnerable to stress and contracting or spreading communicable diseases, including the common cold. As elderberries have long been used as a remedy for colds and influenza infections, researchers at Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology in Australia examined whether elderberry extract could help prevent or improve respiratory symptoms and the mental health of people traveling by air. (Related: Want to avoid the flu epidemic? Here's how to stay healthy with elderberry.)
For the study, they recruited 312 economy class passengers traveling from Australia to an overseas destination. They randomly divided the participants into two groups: a treatment group and a control group. Participants in the treatment group received elderberry extract, while those in the control group received a placebo. They consumed the elderberry extract or the placebo for a total of 15 days, starting 10 days before their flight until five days after arriving at their destination. The participants also answered surveys containing questions on their cold episodes, symptoms, and duration, quality of life, and stress levels at baseline, two days before travel, and four to five days after travel.
The results of the study revealed that participants who took the elderberry extract had fewer cold episodes than those who took the placebo. The elderberry treatment group also had a significantly shorter duration of cold episode days and experienced fewer cold symptoms prior to travel compared to those who took the placebo.
With these findings, the researchers concluded that supplementing with elderberry extract may reduce the duration of a cold and improve its symptoms.
Elderberry is a plant native to Europe, but is widely grown in many countries. Its berries are black or blue-black in color and need to be cooked to be eaten, while its flowers -- called elderflowers -- are small white- or cream-colored flowers and can be eaten raw or cooked. The various parts of the elderberry tree have been used for culinary purposes. The berries can be cooked and used to make juice, jams, chutneys, pies and elderberry wine. The flowers can be eaten fresh in salads or boiled to make a sweet syrup or infused to tea. Elderberry also has many medicinal uses. Here are some of the potential health benefits of elderberry:
Read more studies on natural treatments for colds like elderberry by visiting NaturalCures.news.