Research Elderberry and you’ll find it’s one of the most widely studied and praised herbs in the world, with a history of observed use stretching back to 400BC. Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician — dubbed “the father of medicine” and after whom the Hippocratic oath is named — referred to the Elder tree as his medicine chest.
Dig further into the scientific literature and you’ll read that Elderberry has a balancing effect on the body. It is believed to modulate inflammation and regulate the activity of the immune system. The berries are packed with immune-boosting antioxidants and vitamins, and are commonly used to reduce inflammation and lessen stress. Perhaps the most interesting area of study has been around its impact on upper respiratory infection and cold and flu symptoms.
We spoke with Mab & Stoke’s chief science advisor Dr. Kevin Spelman, Ph.D. about the history, safety, and phytonutrient characteristics of Elderberry. Here are some highlights:
Elderberry is a food. Traditionally it was used for fever and rheumatism. That tells us that controlling inflammation is a core aspect of its plant chemistry. Elderberry is used to calm the immune system down (i.e. lower levels of substances secreted by the immune system, such as cytokines and interferons, which can affect other cells).
Elderberry is an immune modulator. Plants like Elderberry, Echinacea, and Astragalus are quite clever, as they respond differently based on the state of the body. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, which are unidirectional, herbs support healthy immune response.
The Human immune system has two parts: innate and adaptive (or acquired). Both work closely together and take on different tasks. Immune modulators act to support this healthy interaction.
So, how does Elderberry fit into the story of Mab & Stoke?
Each Mab Tab leverages Elderberry for immune support
Elderberry is the cornerstone of every Mab Tab we craft and press. Every personal blend of Custom Mab Tabs and both Readymade Calm and Readymade Immune leverage its powerful immune-boosting properties. Elderberry is also the source of the purple color that appears in your glass or cup, each time you drop a Mab Tab. Beyond aesthetics, here are more insights into what makes Mab & Stoke Elderberry so special.
To create Mab Tabs, we blend high concentrations of elderberries well within established guidelines, so you get all you need per day in a single super tab. The elderberry extract that we concentrate into Mab Tabs is 64x that of a single serving of dried elderberries.
Traditional extraction methods for elderberry use one part dried elderberry to 4 parts of solvent (water or alcohol or glycerine). We use 64 parts elderberry to one part solvent; that’s how we are able to fit all of that elderberry into one little Mab Tab.
Another way of explaining the 64x factor is that Mab Tabs have the extract equivalent of 1.6 grams of dried elderberries. If you take up to 3 per day (for instance, one custom plus both Readymades or 3 Readymades on their own), you are getting the equivalent of 4.8 grams of dried elderberry. That’s a lot of elderberry for your money, especially considering each Mab Tab contains up to 9 other herbs.
Our elderberries are grown and harvested by a co-op of 450 family farmers in the magnesium rich soil of Austria’s Styrian region. The berries are then extracted in Italy. Learn more about what makes our Haschberg Elderberries so potent and so special.
Curious to learn more about Elderberry? An Herbalist and Author Rosalee de la Forêt is a favorite resource for recipes and insights. Her website is a fount of great information. Here’s a link to her article on the immune supportive benefits of Elderberry.
Kevin Spelman, PhD, MCPP, is an internationally recognized expert on the molecular biology and clinical therapeutics of botanical medicines. A past National Institutes of Health postdoctoral Fellow and Marie Curie research Fellow in the European Union, Dr. Spelman has published 27 scientific papers and six chapters and been involved in clinical work for two decades. Dr. Spelman has been an academic pioneer in professional and competent clinical herbal medicine, co-founding the first master of science degree in clinical phytotherapy and a founding faculty member of the first bachelor degree in herbal medicine. Dr. Spelman is a past advisor to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine.