Remember the days when you could pop on the tube to relax and the only danger you were in from watching the commercials were a few extra pounds (Bundt cake) or some unwanted nagging from the kids over the latest toy? Ahh, the good ole days when the media kept the programming quotient set to simmer. Those days are long gone. Now we are inundated with ads selling all the latest drugs and vaccines because surely we are all going to die. They run so many drug ads you barely remember what you turned on the TV to actually watch.
So much fear crammed into every ad block, it’s no wonder our immune systems get fried, especially this time of year in the northern hemisphere.
The decrease in beneficial sun rays depletes our already low vitamin D stores, the holiday sweets and general debauchery add to our stress and weaken our gut health…then we are on the go constantly…events, parties, work…it’s the perfect cocktail upon which mr/mrs virus/bacteria can capitalize.
But, I got my flu shot! I’m covered! Unfortunately, the flu shot only covers 3 or 4 of the hundreds of viruses that are out there waiting for a host to become available. Not to mention the debilitating effects vaccines in general have on the immune system. According to a study published in the Journal of Virology, the annual flu vaccine can weaken children’s resistance to other types of influenza virus, including those that could cause a pandemic.  While a study in the New England Journal of Medicine of May 1996 revealed that tetanus vaccine disables the immune system in HIV patients. Tetanus vaccination produced a drop in T cells in 10 of 13 patients, a classic sign of immune deficiency. 
So what can we do? A lot. The human body is an extraordinary organism, expertly orchestrated with the innate ability to maintain health and in the event it becomes necessary, heal itself. Keeping our bodies healthy is really much easier than we have been led to believe. Here is a basic rundown of what your body needs:
- Rest. No, scrolling through facebook for hours does not count.
- Healthy Food. If you can recognize it as something that grows in the earth and you can pronounce it…you’re good
- Clean water. Avoid chemicals and fluoride
- Stoke that vitamin D factory!
- Studies have shown that moderate exercise boosts your immune system! 
- Last but certainly not least. Self-love being the most important but never underestimated the power of friendship, both human and animal.
So, we are all human and this world is rife with temptations…we strive to achieve the list above but there are times when we don’t. Then what?
This is when it is important to have allies. Beings who are here to guide us through the rough patches and support the body back to the road of glittering health.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra, S. cerulea, S. Canadensis) can be one of those allies. In the plant world she is a powerhouse. The berries are anti-viral, immunomodulating, and antioxidant rich while the flowers are anti-viral, relaxing nervine, relaxing diaphoretic, and diuretic.
Herbalist Kristine Brown writes that the Native Americans believed that elder would heal all the illnesses anyone could ever have. They believed it would promote a long life, giving reason to the name “elder.”
According to herbalist and educator Rosalee de la Foret, elderberries have long been used as an ally against upper respiratory infections. They’ve been scientifically proven to be effective against at least 8 different influenza viruses including H1N1. Loaded with flavanoids, which are potent antioxidants that have been known to prevent viral replication, halting a virus in its tracks.
Elderberry can be used daily as a preventative, at the onset of symptoms as well as during an illness to shorten its duration.
” In clinical trials, patients who took the elderberry juice syrup reported fast termination of symptoms. Twenty percent reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed a complete cure after three days. Patients receiving the placebo required six days for recovery. As proof that elder has more to it than the enzyme neutralizing constituents, researchers found that the patients who took it also had higher levels of antibodies against the flu virus. ”
Paul Bergner, Herbalist
In our busy lives, it’s important to have an ally such as elderberry. Supporting our immune system has never been so easy and so delicious! Why weaken your system with a vaccine when you can strengthen it with Elderberry!