May 1, 2019 by News Staff / Source
The elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is a small, antioxidant-rich fruit common to Europe and North America that is still commonly consumed as a jam or wine. According to a new study, published in the Journal of Functional Foods, compounds from elderberries exhibit multiple modes of therapeutic action against influenza infection.
Compounds from elderberries can directly inhibit the influenza virus’ entry and replication in human cells, and can help strengthen a person’s immune response to the virus. Image credit: Anemone123.
“Elderberry extract is effective in treatment of flu. We aimed to determine the mechanism of action of elderberry and its active compounds against influenza virus,” said University of Sydney’s Professor Fariba Deghani and colleagues.
The researchers performed a comprehensive examination of the mechanism by which phytochemicals, compounds that positively effect health, from elderberries combat influenza infections.
They used commercially farmed elderberries which were turned into a juice serum and were applied to cells before, during and after they had been infected with the influenza virus.
The phytochemicals from the elderberry juice were shown to be effective at stopping the virus infecting the cells, however to the surprise of the researchers they were even more effective at inhibiting viral propagation at later stages of the influenza cycle when the cells had already been infected with the virus.
“Elderberries have a potent direct antiviral effect against the flu virus. They inhibit the early stages of an infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for both the viral attachment and entry into the host cells,” said study first author Dr. Golnoosh Torabian, also from the University of Sydney.
“This observation was quite surprising and rather significant because blocking the viral cycle at several stages has a higher chance of inhibiting the viral infection,” said University of Sydney’s Dr. Peter Valtchev, co-author of the study.
“In addition to that, we identified that the elderberry solution also stimulated the cells to release certain cytokines, which are chemical messengers that the immune system uses for communication between different cell types to coordinate a more efficient response against the invading pathogen,” Professor Deghani said.
The scientists also found that the elderberry’s antiviral activity can be attributed to its anthocyanidin compounds — phytonutrients responsible for giving the fruit its vivid purple coloring.
Golnoosh Torabian et al. 2019. Anti-influenza activity of elderberry (Sambucus nigra). Journal of Functional Foods 54: 353-360; doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2019.01.031
Thanks to: http://www.sci-news.com