We're all looking for the magic bullet to cure or prevent a cold or the flu. Herbs and medicine like echinacea and elderberries are often hyped as ways to keep from getting sick, especially in the winter. But do they work? While they certainly don't replace a flu shot, studies have shown that they can be beneficial at protecting against the common flu and cold. While elderberries have been used in traditional medicine for years, modern science gives us some clues as to why.
"They are rich in flavonoids quercetin and anthocyanidins, which are rich in antioxidants that protect your cells from damaging free radicals," explains Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, chef, nutritionist, Reiki master, and founder of the Culinary Alchemy program. "Quercetin have properties that can protect against viruses, inflammation, and carcinogens. Anthocyanidins, a kind of plant pigment, are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits."