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This unexpected berry may be the potent flu fighter you need

Tuesday, April 23rd 2019, 3:23 pm - Flu viruses thrive in the fall and winter, but you can get sick at any time.

Flu virus is on its way out in North America, but if you get hit with a late-season bug, you might want to consider adding elderberries to your health regimen.

In a newly-published report, researchers from the University of Sydney say elderberries are an effective way to fight the flu.

"What our study has shown is that the common elderberry has a potent direct antiviral effect against the flu virus," Dr. Golnoosh Torabian, one of the paper's authors, said in a statement.

"It inhibits the early stages of infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for both the viral attachment and entry into the host cells."

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It was also proven to effectively combat viruses in the later stages of a flu infection.

The elderberry's antibacterial qualities were linked to anthocyanidin compounds -- the phytonutrients responsible for giving the fruit its distinct purple colour.

"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," co-author Professor Fariba Deghani said in a statement.

Elderberries are commonly used in jams, wines, and juices – but researchers used a special berry serum to conduct their experiment.

The full report can be found in the Journal of Functional Foods.

VIDEO: HERE'S HOW THE FLU CAN TURN DEADLY

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