Tag Archives: elderberry

Elderberry Taste Test

I love Elderberry.  If you take some right at the moment that you feel a tickle in your nose or throat, it can usually head off an illness pretty quick!

This is what I had in my house today as far as Elderberry products go. (I TOLD you my stash of homeopathic remedies would make you jealous!)  

My standard go-to elderberry syrup, for me or my boys, is the Sambucus Sugar-Free (orange box). I buy that in bulk 🙂 But there are so many products out there, that I thought a taste test might be in order (and my Coconut Water Taste Test was so darn fun!).

The verdict?

The Natural Elderberry Concentrate by Natural Sources was DELICIOUS. You mix the concentrate with water and it isn’t syrupy or too sweet.  Tastes like a glass of juice you’d willingly drink in the morning.  BUT I didn’t like the packaging. I could pull the seal off with my bare hands, and there was no inner seal under the cap.

I was so suspicious, I actually sent it back thinking something was wrong with the bottle. Nope. The second bottle was exactly the same. I guess I’m just paranoid. This needs to be refrigerated after opening.

The Sambucus Sugar-Free Syrup (orange box) is my kids’ favorite. They ask, “Is this the good elderberry or the yucky one?”  This is the good one. There’s an adult dose and child does both for maintenance and intensive use. AND it comes with this on the label, “Safety sealed with printed outer shrinkwrap and printed inner seal. Do not use if either seal is broken or missing…” And it’s in bold font. Perhaps they could give some advice to the Natural Sources people…

The Original Sambucus Syrup (purple box) has fructose in it, a bit sweeter. I’ll stick with the Sugar-Free.

Both of the Sambucus products have 100mg standardized elderberry (extract from 6.4g of berries).

The Sambucol Original Formula was my least favorite. It tasted more like a cough syrup. This is the “yucky” one my kids referred to in the previous question. It has MORE sugar (3g more than Sambucus) and the elderberry extract is only 3.8g.

The zinc elderberry lozenges are amazing. They are free of artificial sweeteners , colors or flavors, and have no corn syrup, sucrose or cane sugar (they’re sweetened with brown rice syrup). Each lozenge has 3.8g of proprietary blend of elderberry and 5mg of zinc. I eat 1-2 of these every day during cold season.

The last elderberry product in my stash was the Sambucol Cold and Flu Relief.  It’s unopened, so I can’t tell you if it works or not. (Perhaps this is a good endorsement that my proactive approach of elderberry and zinc is working!)  They are quick dissolve tablets and should be taken an the onset of symptoms. It says fast relief of nasal and sinus congestion, runny nose, sore throat, coughing, sneezing and chills and fever. No know drug interactions, no known side effects, non-drowsy, non-habit forming. Can be given to children over age 4.  If I do get something this winter, I will definitely give these a try! But hopefully, like an umbrella, if I have this box with me, I won’t need it!

Here is a great explanation of why elderberry seems to work. Elderberry seems to be most effective against the flu–Influenza A and B

This is something I ALWAYS have around the house.  I truly believe it’s helped to improve my immune function the few times I’ve gotten run down 🙂

Do you have a favorite supplement that you turn to when you start to feel sick?


Are Colds Inevitable?

Remember when I mentioned that I hardly ever get sick anymore?

I should have knocked on some wood.  I got a cold this week.

I didn’t actually get it, I received it. From the kind lady sitting next to me on my flight to Vancouver who liked to share her life story.  And her germs.  A big ol sneeze in my face.  Really?!

Anyway, the cold manifested itself the day after I landed.  Had I been at home, I have quite a few things I try when I feel like I’ve been exposed to cold germs or may be coming down with something:

The  supplements are all sitting in a clear storage box, standing at the ready, waiting to be used (which isn’t all that often).  And they usually dramatically help the situation and the cold doesn’t develop into a full-blown situation.

BUT, I was traveling and didn’t imagine the great need for cold remedies on a 4 day trip.  So they were at home. Useless to me.

When I went to the Canadian pharmacy, the only items I felt comfortable buying were Vitamin C and a small tube of Vaseline for my Rudolph nose.  And a bunch of those pocket-size Kleenix packages.

Had I been visiting for longer, I would have let the cold run its course.  But because my return flight was 48 hours later, I needed to speed up the process. (Have you ever flown with a cold? Wow, your ears feel like they just want to explode!)

So I turned to over-the-counter meds. Not my favorite option usually, but I needed relief.  Fast!

The pharmacist recommended Dristan (Afrin), which I’m not usually a fan of (there’s a rebound effect with this medicine and it isn’t safe to take more than a day or two in a row), but desperate times call for desperate measures. I also loaded up on my vitamin C and oregano (since I never leave home without it!). My colds have a tendency to go deeper into my chest (perhaps because of my history with asthma?) and the oregano helps to prevent that from happening. It’s also an anti-viral, and colds are viruses, so it’ll help clear it out faster too.

I got home on the red-eye this morning. And the good news is that my ears are still attached to my body.  It was rather painful on the quick descent on the first leg, but then I took some Motrin and that seemed to help for the second leg of my journey.

So what’s the takeaway message here?

Prevention.  When you’re traveling, make sure to wash your hands often (especially before eating or rubbing your eyes), and if you’re seated next to someone with an obvious cold, you might even move to a different seat if your flight isn’t full.  (I would have, but the plane was at capacity.)  And get plenty of rest before you go on your trip since a sleep debt is a contributing factor to how well your immune system will react under pressure.  (My sleep before the trip was average at best.  This, I’m sure, contributed to the severity of the cold.)

And next time I’ll bring my cold remedies. If I bring them I won’t need them. Kind of like an umbrella.

Oh.  And I will be practicing my dodge and duck reflexes to avoid this situation in the future!

Do you have any vitamins, supplements, remedies you use when you feel a cold coming on?