Elderberry vs. echinacea: which is more effective at fighting infections?

Elderberry vs. echinacea

In the natural health world, there are two particular herbs that are the most well-known for helping to fight infections. Whether it be to fight the flu or a common cold, it is best to be prepared with your natural health kit. As the back-to-school season nears, some people may reach for their trusty elderberry syrup, while others prefer their echinacea tinctures. The question is, which one is more effective? Let’s take a look.

The benefits of echinacea

Echinacea is a flower that is commonly grown in the US and in Canada. You may have seen it in parks without realizing it. These pink blossom flowers have been shown to lower the risk of developing colds by more than 50%. When taken at the onset of a cold, it can shorten the duration. How? Echinacea contains antioxidants that help the immune system to make more white blood cells. When the body detects an invader or pathogen, it will send white blood cells around to find and engulf the bacteria virus or dead cells. An increased amount of white blood cells during infections can help the body get rid of the infection faster and more effectively.

How to take echinacea

The benefits of elderberry

As the name suggests, elderberry is a type of berry. It is widely grown across Europe and North America, although it is not as common as echinacea. If you do happen to come across it, keep in mind that only the white flower and dark purple berries are edible. The rest of the plant is poisonous.

Despite this, elderberry is traditionally used as a medicine because of its therapeutic properties. It is packed with powerful vitamins and minerals that strengthen immunity –vitamin A, C, E, iron, potassium, and various antioxidants. Similar to echinacea, it helps your body kick off sickness faster by providing you with the nutrients to strengthen your immune system. Elderberry has been shown to reduce severe respiratory symptoms. It takes a more active approach in fighting pathogens and can stop viral replication in cells, to prevent it from spreading. The fewer viruses you have in your body, the faster your immune system can get rid of them!

How to take elderberry

Which herb should I take: elderberry or echinacea?

If you have access to either, they are both effective at building immunity and fighting off infections sooner. They are great options to boost overall health and can be used together.

If you must make the choice between the two, consider your unique symptoms or situation. Echinacea is best taken as a preventative measure, while elderberry works well when you are already sick. Elderberry contains more antioxidants and vitamin C.

If you are able to distinguish between bacterial or viral infection, echinacea can help your body fight off bacteria. On the other hand, elderberry is less effective at fighting bacterial infections but can be effective at fighting viral infections like the common cold or the flu.

Author

Grace Tien is a women’s health holistic nutritionist. She helps her clients optimize their nutrition habits so that they can get rid of afternoon slumps and live each day full of energy. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.

Share: