The Immune System
The immune system is a complex orchestra involving systems, organs and cells. Aside from the brain, it’s thought to be the most complex part of human physiology. It’s made up of two main branches: the innate immune system, which is a rapid response to infection but is very general in its ability to target pathogens, and the adaptive immune system, which takes longer to come online and get going but involves immune cells that are highly specific to the invader and works with a kind of memory that enables a more potent response.
Elderberries – honoured throughout history, backed by science
Elderberry has a long history of use, especially in Europe, as a powerful ally in supporting immune health. Elderberry has diaphoretic, diuretic, laxative, antioxidant and antiviral effects. Research has shown that it is effective against influenza A, B and H1N1 variants. Elderberry contains a variety of compounds that support immune health. These include a variety of polyphenols, like anthocyanins, that bind with viruses to prevent them from attacking healthy cells, while also strengthening and protecting cell membranes to prevent viral penetration. This results in reduced symptom duration and severity.
Flora’s Immune-enhancing Elderberry products
Flora offers elderberry in our Elderberry Crystals and also as a key ingredient in our Elderberry+ Liquid Formula. Elderberry + Liquid Formula is intended as a first line of defense against respiratory infections before they invade the home. A must-have for every medicine cabinet, Elderberry + Liquid Formula is a powerful combination of three potent immune system enhancing ingredients in a delicious, liquid, herbal base. These include elderberry juice, Echinacea purpurea and licorice root. The formula is organic, vegan, gluten-free and has no added sugar. It’s also safe and recommended for use in children for ages 5 and up.
It is most effective when taken at the first sign of cold or flu infection to prevent symptoms from becoming full-blown. Elderberry + Liquid Formula will ease initial symptoms like sore throat, cough, congestion and fatigue, while acting on a deeper level to interfere with viral replication and neutralize the invading infection. Elderberry+ Liquid Formula supports the immune system response to viral infection to stop it from spreading and reduce the overall severity and duration of the infection.
Having Flora’s Elderberry Crystals stocked and on hand is the kind of planning ahead that will save the day if cold and flu symptoms strike with their usual bad timing. Made from organic, fresh, European elderberry juice, the crystals are vacuum dried (no heat or freeze-drying used) and standardized to 2.5% anthocyanins. These are the specific flavonoids in elderberries that incorporate themselves into cells and tissue to provide protective, antioxidant, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects. Taken at the first sign of cold and flu symptoms, they are able to interfere with the virus’ ability to infect cells and support the body in fighting off the infection.
Flora’s Elderberry Crystals are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan and kosher. Only ripe berries are selected and they are double-cooked in order to ensure safety. The juice is then vacuum-dehydrated to remove the water without the use of heat in order to maximize their retained nutrient and antioxidant content.
Each 1 gram of the Elderberry Crystals is made from 16 grams of fresh elderberry fruit. Just dissolve 1 heaping scoop into water, smoothie or beverage of choice. In the summer they make a great, healthy addition to popsicles as well!
Vitamin C and Immune Health
Vitamin C plays a number of key roles in the body. It’s essential for enzyme reactions throughout body, for making collagen/connective tissue, as an antioxidant, and to support a healthy immune system. In the immune system, it supports both innate and adaptive immunity. It helps immune cells like neutrophils function properly and enhances the spread of B and T cells during infection.
Acerola Cherry – a powerhouse of natural vitamin C
Flora’s Acerola powder is made from certified organic acerola cherries sourced from Brazil. Acerola powder is a fantastic source of vitamin C (900 mg per 3 g scoop for our powder) and also contains small amounts of manganese, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), carotenoids, and polyphenols like hesperidin, rutin, quercetin, chlorogenic and caffeic acid and other naturally occurring essential co-factors.
Naturally occurring vitamin C in acerola juice has been shown to absorb slightly better and faster than regular ascorbic acid. It’s also been shown to be excreted much less—one study found that after six hours, twice as much regular ascorbic acid was lost in urine as compared with the vitamin C in acerola juice.
Good immune health hygiene includes plenty of restful sleep each night, regular washing of hands with soap, eating well (watch the sugar intake, include food sources of vitamin C and zinc), physical activity to support good blood and lymph flow and judicious use of time-honoured herbal remedies like elderberries when needed.
Hawkins J, Baker C, Cherry L, Dunne E. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Feb;42:361-365.
Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1211.
Uchida E, et al. Absorption and excretion of ascorbic acid alone and in acerola (Malpighia emarginata) juice: comparison in healthy Japanese subjects. Biol Pharm Bull. 2011;34(11):1744-7.