Elderberry

Updated on November 15, 2020

Scientific: Sambucus nigra [WikiPedia]

Appearance: Elderberries are the fruit of the Sambucus tree. The most common type is the Sambucus nigra. The tree has clusters of small white or cream elderflowers and bunches of small blue or black elderberries.

Parts Used: The flowers and berries are most commonly used. The dried fruits are less bitter than fresh. The branches and leaves are poisonous. The small stem which is sometimes left on the berry is safe.

Common Uses: European elder is a plant native to Europe, southwest Asia, and North America. Its flowers and berries have a long history of use in traditional European medicine. Elder berries have also been used for making preserves, wines, winter cordials, and for adding flavour and colour to other wines. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.

Nutrients: Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C.

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PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.

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