Eating fruits during the pregnancy is very beneficial not only for the expecting mother but also the baby present inside. Fruits contain essential nutrients, vitamins that help in the growth of baby, besides giving immunity to both the pregnant lady and baby present inside. Some fruits have the ability to treat minor diseases like cold, flu, constipation, etc. One such fruit that pregnant women can eat during her pregnancy is the elderberry. This fruit, leaves, flower, the bark of the elderberry plant is used in traditional medicine to treat small complications during pregnancy. Elderberry is used as an immunity booster that can prevent minor flu, cold from attacking the pregnant lady.

What is Elderberry? Is it Safe to Eat Elderberry During Pregnancy?

Elderberries are the dark purple or blackberries commonly known in Telugu as ‘ParikiPandlu.’ These are the native of European countries. Elderberries are also referred to as Sambucus berries that grow on the Sambucus tree, a flowering plant that grows on the Adoxaceae family. There are about 30 varieties of elder trees and plants that grow around the world. Of them, Sambucusnigra (the European version) is used to prepare traditional medicines. Though these berries have many medicinal properties, there are no proven pieces of evidence about safety during pregnancy. But, most of them say that eating elderberry during pregnancy is quite safe as long as you consume them in limited quantities. However, unripe elderberries are not safe and cause complications.

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Nutritional Values of Elderberry:

These are low-calorie food rich in antioxidants. Along with this, elderberries are high in Vitamin C. 100gm of elderberries contains the following nutrients

  • 18.4 gms of Carbohydrates
  • 6-35mg of Vitamin C
  • Seven gms of fiber
  • Good source of phenolic acids
  • High in anthocyanins
  • Less than 1gm of fat

These fruits are rich in antioxidant flavonols, isorhamnetin, kaempferol, and quercetin. These flavonoids contain anti-viral, anti-allergic, anti-tumor, and anti-inflammatory properties in them.

Health Benefits Of Elderberry During Pregnancy:

Elderberries have a reasonable amount of Vitamins, flavonoids, amino acids that help in boosting the immunity and stay healthy. Some of the health benefits are

1. Boosts Immunity:

The Vitamin C content, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties present in these berries boost the immune system and fight the viruses that cause cold and flu. !The production of Cytokines, a new class of immune compounds, is improved by the elderberries.

2. Strengthens Joints and Bones:

During pregnancy, the pregnant lady often suffers from joint pains. Consuming elderberry can strengthen the joints and bones in the body. The anthocyanins present in elderberries reduces the soreness and pain in the joints. Moreover, high mineral content in these berries promotes bone strength.

3. Promotes Respiratory Health:

Elderberries are rich in bioflavonoids such as anthocyanins that can soothe inflammation and irritation in the respiratory tract. The expectorant properties present in the bioflavonoids have the ability to clear out the phlegm. Hence, elderberries are used to treat cold, sore throat, cough, and other respiratory ailments.

4. Improves Vision:

During pregnancy, various changes happen to the body of the pregnant woman. Sometimes the vision decreases. Consuming elderberries can improve vision. The anthocyanin pigments present in the elderberries are nutraceuticals that help in maintaining the vision.

5. Improves the Bowel Movements:

Constipation is one of the common complaints from pregnant ladies. This is because, during pregnancy, pregnant women eat nutritious food every 2 hours. This may sometimes cause constipation. Including elderberries in your diet can give relief from constipation.

Risks of Taking Elderberry During Pregnancy:

Any food that is taken in excess harms the body. Besides, numerous health benefits some risks and side effects are associated with it

  • Unripe and raw elderberries contain toxins that may harm the body. These berries contain hydrocyanic acid, alkaloids, and sambucine that may cause vomitings and nausea.
  • Elderberry plants contain a substance called cyanogenic glycosides that release cyanides in some circumstances. The cyanides poison the body and may even kill the pregnant woman and the baby. (A)
  • If you are already experiencing rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or Crohn’s disease consuming elderberry stimulates the nervous system, further intensifying the disease symptoms.
  • Elderberries are considered to be diuretic. During pregnancy, you are already visiting the washroom once in two hours. Eating elderberry can make you visit the bathroom more number of times than usual.

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How to Eat Elderberry During Pregnancy:

Elderberry during pregnancy can be consumed in various forms. Some are readily available in the market, while some others can be easily made at home. Listed down are some of the varieties of elderberry to consume

1. Elderberry Syrup:

This syrup is known to protect your body by fighting the cold and flu. This is considered as one of the best immunity boosters during pregnancy.

Ingredients:

  1. Handful of elderberries
  2. Maple Syrup or honey

How to Prepare and Dosage:

  • Take a handful of elderberries and squeeze the purple liquid from the berries.
  • Combine this liquid with sufficient water and add honey or maple syrup to it.
  • Store in the refrigerator and consume a spoonful of this syrup every day to boost the immunity.

2. Elderberry Tea

Some pregnant ladies may have the habit of drinking tea before pregnancy. They can choose to drink elderberry tea to satisfy the cravings along with increasing the immunity.

Ingredients:

  1. Elderberry tea bags
  2. One tablespoon of dried berries or flowers
  3. 8 ounces of water.

How to prepare and dosage:

  • To prepare this tea, you can use either tea bags or dried berries or flowers.
  • Dip the tea bags in hot water for 5 minutes and enjoy the tea.
  • Or you can drop dried berries or flowers in the boiling water to prepare this tea.
  • If you liked the taste of this tea, drink it once in the morning and once in the evening.

3. Elderberry Juice:

This juice is similar to the syrup, but the only difference is the thickness of the juice. Syrups are usually very thick in consistency than the juice. The benefits are the same as that of the syrup.

Ingredients:

  1. Handful of elderberries
  2. Some water or ice cubes
  3. Sugar (if required)

How to prepare and dosage:

  • Take a handful of elderberries and squeeze the purple liquid from the berries.
  • If required, add some water or ice cubes to the juice. If the collected berries taste a bit sour, add some sugar to the juice.
  • It is recommended to use fresh berries rather than the stored ones.

4. Elderberry Jam:

Elderberry jam is quite similar to the regular jams we use at our house. This jam will make an excellent addition to oatcakes, muffins, fresh bread and butter, yogurt, or rice pudding.

Ingredients:

  1. 700 gms of elderberries
  2. 700 gms of sugar
  3. ½ cup Lemon juice

How to Prepare and Dosage:

  • Take a pan and mix the elderberries and lemon juice. Cook this over a medium flame.
  • Simmer the heat once the juice starts to boil and keep it for 20 minutes.
  • Now add sugar to the juice and stir well until the sugar gets dissolved.
  • Boil this thick liquid until it reaches a set point, i.e., 105 degrees.
  • Store this jam in a warm and sterilized jar. Close the lid tightly and store it in a cold and dark place. Your yummy jam is ready to eat.

5. Elderberry Gummies:

Gummies are the delicious and best way to intake this immunity booster. Pregnant ladies crave for chocolates and gummies during pregnancy. These gummies can be best served to satisfy the cravings.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup of elderberry syrup
  2. Four tablespoons of unflavored gelatin
  3. Silicone molds

How to Prepare and Dosage:

  • Mix the elderberry syrup and gelatin in a saucepan and put it over a low flame.
  • Whisk it frequently until the gelatin gets dissolved completely.
  • Using an eyedropper, transfer this mixture into the silicone molds.
  • Put the molds in a refrigerator and allow it to solidify.
  • Remove the gummies from the molds and kept them in a sealed container.

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There are no proven studies about the safety of consuming this fantastic berry during pregnancy. Although elderberry is used to treat minor diseases like flu, cold, etc., lack of proper research makes this berry a questionable food during pregnancy. Many say that it is quite safe to eat elderberry during pregnancy as long as you limit the intake. Elderberry can be consumed in different forms, as mentioned above. Try out some of the above recipes and share your experience with us. Don’t forget to consult your doctor before consuming this berry.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are just suggestions, and the website is no way responsible for the side effects it may cause. It is better to consult a doctor before you eat anything, especially when you are pregnant.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

Q1. Is it safe to eat elderberry during breastfeeding?

Ans: There is no proper research on the safety of consuming the elderberry during and after pregnancy. However, it is safe not to consume this berry during and after pregnancy. Look out for some other alternatives to elderberry.

Q2. What are the safe alternatives for elderberry?

Ans: Since there is no proper research on consuming elderberry during pregnancy, the alternatives for this berry can be tart berries. Also, if you feel like having tea, drink green tea during pregnancy.

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