Flu Season

The holidays are almost upon us, and with them come aches, pains, headaches, and upset stomachs. And, in addition to that, you might get the flu.

Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays, but in the Scrimpalicious household this year, they are kicking off with something that I'm watching anxiously in case it becomes the flu. My husband is pathetically sick in bed with a fever and all the above mentioned aches and pains, although so far he's only got a mild cough and moderate congestion.

But it struck me that now would be an apropos moment for mentioning my favorite health discovery of this year: Elderberry extract!

For those of you who don't know, there was a study done in the 90's that showed that elderberry flavonoids compare favorably (yes, that means they're better) to Tamiflu in the treatment of Influenza. Now, I would never say not to take Tamiflu if you're diagnosed with the flu, especially H1N1, but you can take them together with no ill effect, and there's evidence that regular doses of elderberry every four hours will actually shorten the duration of your illness more than Tamiflu will.

Because my beloved is sick, I stopped by Whole Foods to inspect their selection and I was fairly shocked, to be honest, even though I'm aware that there are certain areas in which Whole Foods is prone to price gouging. (I checked CVS too, but they had nothing.)

The actual extract, as in a liquid with a dropper, came in at about a dollar a dose, and there were only 11 doses in the bottle. I kid you not. Being that we are into the saving of money, I kept combing the shelves until I found (and this is worth digging for) a bottle of elderberry extract supplements. These were $8-ish for a bottle of 100, and it's a standardized dosage of elderberry, which I feel like is preferable anyway because it means no messing around with droppers.

Recommendation is that once you start to show symptoms of being ill, take a dose every four hours. If you're not ill but have been exposed, take it three times a day. I have family members who have done this with good results.

What you're looking for is black elderberry extract, or sambucol.  It may be labeled differently depending on where you buy it.

And here, because you should never take the Internet's word for things, and I want to give you some more statistically significant evidence than "it worked for my family", is a link to the PubMed abstract of the study I mentioned.

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