Latin Name: Sambucus nigra. Parts used: berries & flowers. Energy & taste: cool & dry energy; bitter taste.
Ohhh the amazing elderberry! One of my favorites. The Elder plant produces beautiful white flowers in the spring which then go on to become deep purply, dark blue berries in the autumn. These berries have been used for many thousands of years and, according to many around the world, are one of natures best medicines.
I was able to harvest some native berries this season for the first time! I've never felt a joy like it! There is something new that happens when you wild harvest a plant and create medicinal syrup for the season for your family. You ask permission from the plant, and harvest only what you need from her amazing branches. Give your thanks and promise to give back to the land that has so graciously provided fruit for you. [[ NOTE: If wild harvesting be sure you use the black berries, never use the red elder berries! They're toxic ]]
I've been making elderberry syrup for my kids now for about 6 years, but always from organic dried berries like the ones you'll find in my elderberry syrup kits, as it can provide a boost to the immune system unlike any other herb! Made as a syrup, tincture, tea, jam, or candy, you can soak in the benefits of this wondrous plant. Let's learn about this one a little more and make some fun stuff with these berries(and the flowers, too)!
- cold, flu
- lung congestion
- sinus congestion
- hay fever
- clearing the skin
- cuts, scratches
- chapped hands
- sore throat
- Flavonoids(catechin, quercetin, kaempferol)
- Anthocyanins (immune boosting, antioxidant, anticancer, antimicrobial, & antiviral)
- Vitamins A & C
- Clears mucus
- Increases sweating
"Research: Israeli research from 1995 found 90% of people that were given elderberry extract recovered in 2-3 days, while 90% of those taking the placebo took up to 6 days. Further clinical trails have supported these findings-- a 2014 review concluded there was "good scientific evidence" that elderberry extract was an effective treatment for influenza. Although the safety profile of elderberry has not been established, evidence indicates it is a safe influenza remedy for adults and children" Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH
Other uses: flowers and berries are mildly laxative and appear to help lower blood pressure. The flowers are thought to help control diabetes. The berries appear to enhance immune function. The leaves are made into a decoction and used in steam baths to sweat out colds and headaches. An infusion of the leaves is used as a purgative and to treat skin infections, swellings, burns, and other skin problems. Infusion of the bark is taken for diarrhea and as an external analgesic.
Native history: Not only was this plant used for medicinal purposes, but its branches were used by American Indians for important craftwork and was especially useful in pipe making.
Quick self help remedy:
Infusion of flowers (and berries if you've got them).
Dosage for the little ones: Drink 1/4-1/2 cup of tea every hour until the symptoms lessen. Then drink 1/2-1 cup 2 times a day until the problem has gone away. Or take 1/2 -1 teaspoon syrup every 2-3 hours (get your DIY syrup kit here)
Bigger humans: for colds drink 3/4 cup 3 times a day. Or take 1TBSP syrup 2 times a day.
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