Lesley Kennedy

Elderberries May Cure What Ails Ya, And They Taste Great on Toast

Food NewsLadies and gentlemen, step right up! The fruit of the future is here right now, ready to cure your cold, gussy up your tea, spruce up your juice. And it even tastes great on toast. Yes! It will amaze, bewilder, stupefy and astound. Come one, come all — get your elderberry elixirs.


Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly the stuff snake oil salesmen dream of, but elderberries may soon get their moment in the sun. The Associated Press reports that the dark berries, which have been used in herbal remedies, teas and cough syrups for a long time, are getting some new-found attention. According to the news service, the National Institutes of Health has handed $37.5 million over to five universities to study the medicinal use of elderberries, which are rich in antioxidants, along with a few other foods and supplements. Some of the research is looking at how the berries could help fight prostate cancer, among other diseases.


And that’s good news to Terry Durham, who’s in charge of one of America’s biggest elderberry farms in Missouri. “We had all this history, and knew that it worked,” he tells the AP. “But we didn’t have the science.”


Elderberries, for the most part, come from Europe, and they have to be hand-picked, as stems and leaves can prove toxic to humans. “You’ve got 5,000 years of human lore that says this plant is good for human disease,” Dennis Lubahn, a biochemist, tells the news service. “This is an extraordinarily rich area for research.”


Chefs seem keen on the berry, too, so make way for elderberry barbecue sauce, butter and tea.


Hey, we’re not berry-biased. So what if you often find elderberries in ditches by the side of the road? If it can soothe our throats, possibly fight cancer and tastes good spread on toast, we’ll jump on the bandwagon. Slick sales pitch or not.





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