Elderberry plant (Sambucus nigra) is a good source of protein, free and conjugated forms of amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, fibre fractions, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.
- Elderberry has been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat influenza, colds and sinusitis, and has been reported to have antiviral activity against influenza and herpes simplex.
- It contains high biological activity components, primarily polyphenols, mostly anthocyanins, flavonols, phenolic acids and proanthocyanidins, as well as terpenes and lectins. In folk medicine, elderberry has been used in the treatment of many diseases and ailments.
- Elderberry has medicinal properties associated with the presence of polyphenols, which are compounds with potential antioxidant properties. They can greatly affect the course of disease processes by counteracting oxidative stress, exerting beneficial effects on blood pressure, glycaemia reduction, immune system stimulation, antitumour potential, increase in the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the blood plasma, including also glutathione, and the reduction of uric acid levels.
- The protein of elderberry is a complete one; among sixteen amino acids found in fruits seven belong to the group of exogenous (the human body cannot synthetize, so they must be supplied in the diet) and relative exogenous amino acids (can be synthetized within the body from other amino acids), while in flowers and leaves there are nine. Considering the amino acid composition of elderberry the chemical score of a protein (CS) was established at 0.9 (the nutritional value of a protein, calculated as the ratio of the amount of amino acid in a product to the amount of the corresponding amino acid in a reference egg albumin).
- Most folk tales relate to the activity of elderberry in respiratory diseases, mainly in colds and flu, but also in conditions such as burns, swelling, cuts, sprains, dislocations, skin rashes, haemorrhoids, insect bites and stings, rheumatic symptoms, toothaches, kidney and eye problems, in hepatitis and dyspepsia.