If you are interested in plant-based cancer treatment and prevention, elderberry may be a useful herbal medicine to consider. Used in traditional medicine as an immune stimulant and tonic, extracts made from elderberries also have cancer-fighting properties. Herbal medicine is not intended to be a replacement for standard medical care, however, so consult your health-care provider before purchasing herbal products.
Source of Elderberries
Elderberry is the fruit of the elder tree, also known as Sambucus nigra, which has uses in traditional herbal medicine for infections, inflammation and digestive problems and as a general tonic. Products made from elderberry are cooked or boiled to get rid of toxins, with the most common products found on the market are syrups, liquors, wines and dried extracts. In recent years elderberry products are increasingly popular for treating viral infections such as influenza and the common cold. Elderberries contain up to four individual anthocyanins, which give the plant its medical properties.
Elderberries are rich in plant antioxidants. In a study published in “Free Radical Biology and Medicine” in 2000, researchers from Tufts University discovered elderberry extract had significant antioxidant properties that protected tissues from free radical damage. The range of antioxidant anthocyanins found in elderberry extract may help to protect cellular tissues from oxidative damage that play a role in establishing chronic illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.http://www.ebiochem.com/
Elderberry may have a direct effect on the spread and growth of cancerous tissues. In a study published in “Free Radical Research” in 2002, researchers from Ohio State University explored the ability of six berries, including elderberry, to inhibit the ability of tumors to grow their own blood vessels — a process known as angiogenesis. All of the six berries tested significantly inhibited angiogenesis, while non-berry antioxidants such as vitamin E had no effect. Elderberry has similar antioxidant actions to raspberry and cranberry, but is not as strong as strawberry, bilberry or blueberry.
When you take elderberry internally, you may be giving your immune system a jump-start. In a study published in the “Israel Medical Association Journal” in 2002, researchers from Hadassah University Hospital looked at different elderberry products on the market. All of the elderberry formulations showed significant immune-stimulating properties, increasing white blood cells and anti-inflammatory and inflammatory chemicals, and stimulating the production of tumor necrosis factor, or TNF. When the body detects toxic or cancerous substances, it releases TNF as a natural anticancer and antibacterial chemical. These results suggest that elderberry may help the body fight cancer by supporting natural defenses.http://www.ebiochem.com/
Safety and Toxicity
Elderberry is safe and well-tolerated by the majority of the population. Make sure you always cook elderberries or purchase cooked elderberry products, as the raw fruit may cause nausea. According to Drugs.com, the leaves, bark and shoots of the elder plant may contain cyanide-related toxins, so use them with caution. Consult a doctor before taking herbal medicines, as they may cause undesired interactions with prescribed and over-the-counter medications.http://www.ebiochem.com/