7 Benefits of Drinking Elderberry Tea

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Caffeine-free and dark purple, elderberry tea is a delicious and healthy drink. It benefits many parts of the body, including the immune system and brain.

Dried elderberries in a wooden bowl.

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What Is Elderberry Tea?

Elderberries are small dark black-blue berries. There are two main types: the American elderberry and the European black elder. The American elderberry is native to North America and grows on a shrub. The European version, as the name suggests, is from Europe. It grows on a small tree.

In the culinary world, elderberries are used to make syrup, wine, jam, and pie filling. It’s can also be made into tea. To make elderberry tea, dried elderberries are added to hot water. This creates a tea that’s tart, sweet, and dark purple blue.

It’s naturally caffeine-free, because elderberries contain no caffeine.

RELATED: Benefits of Drinking Hibiscus Tea

7 Elderberry Tea Health Benefits

1. Provides Antioxidants

Elderberries are packed with antioxidants, including flavonols, polyphenols, proanthocyanidins, and anthocyanins. The anthocyanins are actually what gives the berries their dark blue-purple color.

Antioxidants benefit the body by protecting cells. They do this by reducing oxidative stress, a process that causes cell damage. Oxidative stress can happen for many reasons, including poor diet, mental stress, environmental pollution, and lack of sleep.

If oxidative stress continues for too long, it can lead to chronic diseases like cancer and type 2 diabetes. So it’s important to reduce oxidative stress, which you can do by drinking elderberry tea.

2. Reduces Inflammation

Not all inflammation is bad. The immune system uses inflammation to fight germs and heal the body. Too much inflammation can increase the risk of chronic disease. It also lead to symptoms like pain and swelling.

Elderberries are great for reducing inflammation. That’s because they fight oxidative stress, a process that also increases inflammation. Elderberries have compounds that lower certain cytokines. These are proteins involved inflammation.

3. Increases Hydration

Thanks to drinks like elderberry tea, you don’t have to rely on plain water to stay hydrated. It’s made with water, so it will contribute to your fluid intake. Hydration is essential for good health. It’s necessary for many basic functions like metabolism, digestion, and temperature control.

Elderberries contain minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium as well. These nutrients also act as electrolytes, meaning they balance fluids in the cells.

To boost the electrolyte content of elderberry tea even further, add a splash of lemon juice. The juice also contains minerals like magnesium and potassium.

4. Aids Immunity

Elderberry tea contains vitamin C, a key nutrient for immune function. Vitamin C benefits white blood cells, or immune cells, destroy bad germs. Since the body can’t produce its own vitamin C, you need to get it through food and drinks.

The anthocyanins in elderberries also improve the gut bacteria. This helps immunity, because the gut is linked to the immune system.

Elderberry tea is a source of water. Staying hydrated is so important for good health because hydration supports immune function.

5. Boosts Heart Health

As a source of anthocyanins, elderberry tea is amazing for the heart. Anthocyanins are known for improving blood lipids, or the levels of fats in the blood. This includes different types of cholesterol. Anthocyanins may decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Elderberries fight oxidative stress and inflammation. Both processes can damage heart tissue, increasing the risk of heart disease.

Elderberry antioxidants have also been shown to increase antioxidant enzymes, or proteins, in the body. This can further benefit the heart and provide protection.

6. Improves Brain Function

Your nerve cells, or neurons, help you think, move, and remember things. So it’s important to keep them healthy, especially as you get older. Anthocyanins, which are found in elderberry tea, are neuroprotective. This means they protect these neurons by reducing stress and inflammation.

If oxidative stress and inflammation builds up in the brain, it can damage neurons. This can lead to brain disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease.

The other antioxidant polyphenols in elderberries help as well. Because of this, elderberry tea is excellent for the brain.

7. Reduces Diabetes Risk

Drinking elderberry tea will naturally control your blood sugar, also known as blood glucose. This may help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The antioxidants increase how much glucose your cells take up. This controls the amount of glucose in your blood.

The compounds in elderberries also slow down the activity of alpha-amylase, a type of protein. If alpha-amylase is overactive, it can spike blood glucose, so controlling it is important.

Elderberry antioxidants also fight oxidative stress and inflammation, which can both lead to diabetes over time.

Side Effects

Like with all teas and plants, it’s possible to be allergic to elderberries. If you have a history of food allergies and you’re new to elderberry tea, talk to your doctor before drinking it.

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