For the last  two weeks ,or so, we’ve been dealing with a bit of a nasty cold bug in the Family Trivium household. It seems to have finally worked its way through all members as of yesterday – hence our brief hiatus over the last few days.

In our last couple of posts we talked about both influenza and the common cold, their causes, and how they spread. Today, we turn our attention to remedies. Specifically, we will look at black elderberry extract.

Mr. Family Trivium is not a big fan of medications. He even prides himself on, in middle age, never having been on a prescription for more than 10 days. Perhaps a few times per year, he eventually turns to over-the-counter medications to relieve inflammation, or other symptoms, but not before giving his body a chance to sort things out. He is a little more willing, after thoughtful consideration, to try a “natural remedy,” such as an herbal with low risk of side effects, like black elderberry extract.

According to WebMD, the berries of the elderberry plant, in the form of a syrup, can boosts immunity and be effective for treating symptoms of influenza when taken within 24-48 hours of the onset of symptoms. It has been found to be safe when taken for up to 12 weeks. It is unknown if it remains side effect free after being taken for longer periods of time, but even Mr. Family Trivium would have talked to a doctor by the time he had flu symptoms for 12 weeks.

Being that cold and flu symptoms can be similar, Mr. Family Trivium wasn’t sure what was making it’s way through the household when this illness first arrived, so he immediately started taking elderberry extract. For the first three days, the symptoms seemed to be kept at bay. This bug did eventually make its presence felt to the point where Mr. Family Trivium was kept away from work for a couple of days. On the other hand, he only missed two days where colleagues dealt with the illness for over a week. Perhaps there is something to the immunity boosting effect of elderberry extract?

Mrs. Family Trivium also used elderberry extract to suppress the symptoms when she thought she might be coming down with this virus. She also recovered relatively quickly. While neither of the two can definitively say that the herbal remedy definitely helped them recover more quickly, it certainly doesn’t seem to have hurt given the recovery times compared to others. We will likely keep some on hand for the next time that cold/flu symptoms rear their heads.