Coronavirus & Elderberry!

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There is so much information about the Coronavirus I wanted to share a bit.  I have also incorporated Rosemary’s thoughts about how to care for ourselves when we have a viral infection, cold or flu.

My thoughts on the Coronavirus

There is so much information about the Coronavirus I wanted to share a bit.  I have also incorporated Rosemary’s thoughts about how to care for ourselves when we have a viral infection, cold or flu.

Helen harvesting Elderberries at Three Springs Farm
Helen harvesting Elderberries at Three Springs Farm

Who am I?  I am Helen Ward, a local herbalist @ Three Springs Farm of Vermont, Waitsfield and the Educational Director of Rosemary Gladstar’s The Science & Art of Herbalism Herbal Online and Herbal Home Study Course for over 10 years.

One of my plant allies is Elderberry!  We grow Elderberry on our family run farm, Three Springs Farm, here in the Mad River Valley in Vermont.  I started making Elderberry syrup and tinctures shortly after we moved here and continue to share this love and passion with my community.

What is the Coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus which was first detected in Wuhan, China with an outbreak of respiratory illness.  At first they linked to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting human to animal exposure, but over time it is clear to be human to human exposure.

Symptoms are similar to the flu ~ fever, cough and shortness of breath to start.

So what can we do to protect ourselves?

  • Stay well hydrated and rested
  • Elderberry – great, effective and gentle immune booster
  • Increase Vitamin C, incorporate Elderberry daily to boost immune system and other great herbs like Medicinal Mushrooms and Astragalus.
  • Decrease stress – uses extra energy and depletes our immune system!
  • Wash our hands often or wear a face mask if the immune system is compromised.
  • Keep our hands away from the face (eyes, nose, mouth)

If you do start to experience some flu-like symptoms here are a few recommendations!

  • Elderberry Syrup at the onset as a powerful antiviral and immune booster.
  • Echinacea Tincture – antiviral, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties and can help fight infection and boost immunity!
  • Fire Cider – Apple Cider Vinegar infused with Garlic, Onion, Horseradish, Ginger and Cayenne peppers. There are many different versions, I love adding Elderberry to mine.  The ACV alkalizes our system to help ward off viruses faster.
  • Eat plenty of foods to help fight the infection – clear broths, soups, simple grains, veggies, and light meals!
  • Avoid foods which will “feed” the virus such as sugar, ice cream, oranges and milk
  • Get plenty of rest!
  • Stay well hydrated!

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

  • Boosts our immune system
  • Reduces the intensity and duration of the cold and flu by ½ to ⅓
  • Contains a large amount of Vitamin C
  • Chemical constituents in Elderberry inhibit the early stages of infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for attaching and penetrating our cells.  They also reduce the replication, therefore, reducing the intensity and duration!

The US National Library of Medicine did a study of Elderberry & chickens who had been infected with this strain of the coronavirus showing Elderberry was able to inhibit the coronavirus in chickens.

How does this translate to humans?  The US National Library of Medicine felt that S.nigra (Elderberry) has proven to inhibit the virus and this warranted that future studies should be done.

Elderberry is safe for everyone in the family!

Where to find Elderberry Syrup ~ The Village Grocery, Kenyons and the Mad Taste Place in the Mad River Valley, your local health food store or you can easily learn to make your own Elderberry Syrup!728c82 041b951aed3b4afbbd4654c42c2fab70~mv2 d 1942 1942 s 2

Contraindications – cook the seeds of all Sambucus species as they contain a resin which is a nauseant and diuretic; this resin is destroyed by cooking.

Latin Name: Sambucus nigra

Common Names: Elderberry, Black Elderberry, North American Elderberry

Properties: antioxidant, diaphoretic, diuretic, laxative, immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory

Uses: Immune system boost, coughs, colds, flu, bacterial infections, viral infections, tonsillitis, lower cholesterol, improved vision and heart health.

Indicated for: Cancer, HIV, asthma and bronchitis, reduce inflammation of the urinary tract and bladder.

Infusions of the fruit are said to be beneficial for nerve disorders, back pain, and have been used to reduce inflammation of the urinary tract and bladder.

Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitamin A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.

Content source:

~ Helen Ward, 
~ Rosemary Gladstar’s Cold & Flu Document
~ US National Library of Medicine Study:
~ CDC Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

Warm Herbal Greetings!

I’m Rosemary Gladstar. All my life I’ve had a deep love and fascination with plants. I have been learning, teaching and writing about herbs for over 50 years. It is my honor and joy to share what I have learned with you, and to introduce you to my fellow herbalists and plant lovers!

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