Elderberries consumption Do’s and Don’ts

Elderberries consumption Do’s and Don’ts

by Sally Walters

Today we’re gonna talk about the Elderberry Paradox. I don’t think it’s officially named like this, but it really should. What is the Elderberry Paradox, in my opinion?

Well, it’s the fact that on one hand, elderberries are extremely good for us and for our bodies, they can strengthen our immune system and bring us many benefits, especially in the cold, winter months.

However, on second hand, elderberries can be highly harmful for us, if taken incorrectly. 

So, how do you make the difference between when elderberries consumption is highly beneficial and when it can be dangerous?

We’ve compiled a little list of Do’s and Don’ts for elderberry consumption, so you can navigate easily between what is ok and what not.


1. Always, always cook the elderberries before consuming them. Cooking these small berries destroys the glycoside that is present in the seeds, rendering them completely harmless. Once cooked, the elderberries can be eaten without problems, and you can benefit from all the marvellous benefits they offer. Also, cooking improves their taste.

2. Once cooked, the elderberries can be used to make several delicious recipes like jams, chutneys, pies, and even wine. They can be used for syrups, for tea infusions or even mixed with alcohol in yummy recipes like Elderberry Gin & Tonic.

3. Any commercial preparations with elderberries are safe as they use cooked berries. Elderberries are used in many supplements, as they can be very beneficial for us, boosting our immunity system and protecting us against common colds and the flu. You can take elderberry supplements in the form of syrups, capsules or gummies.

Elderberries are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, dietary fibre, they’re a great source of phenolic acid and flavonols.

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1. Don’t eat raw elderberries. I know what you think. But fruits usually can be eaten raw without a problem! The same can’t be said about elderberries. Raw elderberries are toxic because the seeds contain a cyanide inducing glycoside. Yes, cyanide, that means poison! Eating the raw elderberries can cause a cyanide build-up in the body that will make you sick.

2. Dried elderberries are considered raw elderberries, uncooked. So, beware of the dried fruits also! Between the nasty effects of eating uncooked elderberries are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.

3. Don’t eat the seeds, leaves or bark of the tree. Just as the raw fruits, they contain the same toxic substance that can wreak havoc. Make sure not to crush the leaves or the stems when making juice.

4. Just to be on the safe side, don’t mix raw elderberries with other berries in the fridge, so that you don’t eat them by mistake. If you have uncooked elderberries, keep them separate in the fridge, in a container.

Now you’re all set to enjoy these amazing small berries, either if you’re thinking of taking a healthy supplement like Elderberry Hill Syrup, or if you just want to try your hand at grandma’s famous recipe of elderberry jam. You have all the knowledge you need to reap the benefits of this powerful antioxidant!

Source: Unsplash