Compiled by: Katarina Subotich
Elder is a MUST herb to have in your home medicine chest.
Elder (Sambucus racemosa) has rich folklore and it is extensively used by people of many traditions all over the world. It is native to Europe where it has long history of use. It is said that Celtic druids made flutes from elder to communicate with the souls that crossed over. They also believed that spirits of the forest dwell in the hollow wood of elder tree. White blossoms in the spring are signifying the reincarnation of the dead. In some other countries of the old continent, like England, the cuttings of elder where left on the thumbs and if they flowered in the spring it meant that the soul of the deceased has joined heaven. It is said that the elder should be planted in the middle of your garden, as it is the leader of the plants, an elder that other plants look up to, as it is also the case when it grows in wilderness.
Elder is very powerful herb. It is highly revered for preventing and stopping influenza, as it contains flavonoids that stop virus replication. The medicinal parts of elder are berries and flowers. However, they have different role in the healing process: elderberries are antiviral, antioxidant rich, immunomodulating, while flowers are diaphoretic (promote sweating), diuretic (promote urination), relaxing nervine, anti-viral. In some countries the berries are considered poisonous. Actually, when eaten raw, the seeds in the berry contain certain chemical that can cause nausea and vomiting. When cooked, this effect is completely eradicated.
It can be used as syrup, tea, jam, vine, tincture.