Latin Name: Sambucus nigra
Common Names: Elderberry, Black Elderberry, North American Elderberry, European Elder
Properties: antioxidant, diaphoretic, diuretic, laxative, immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory
Uses: immune system boost, coughs, colds, flu, bacterial infections, viral infections, tonsillitis, lower cholesterol, improved vision and heart health.
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. I do not claim to be a doctor or nutritionist. I have obtained this information from my own research and thought you might find it interesting as well. Use at your own risk and always watch for allergies when trying any new herb or medicinal remedy.
My Honey rides past a nice patch of elderberry on his way home from work every day. Recently he stopped and gathered up a pretty good sized bag of ripe berries, which we immediately placed in the freezer. This helps separating the berries from the stems a lot easier. Although, I was not able to just shake the berries off he stems as I read I’d be able to. Instead I had to kind of gently roll them between my fingers.
I ended up with just under four cups of cleaned berries. I needed 2 cups for the immune boosting Elderberry Syrup recipe that Health Home and Happiness posted to their Facebook page, as well as a pint for some tincture I’ll be making later on (still need to get some liquor). This turned out to be just the right amount for both. While the pint of berries is waiting patiently in my freezer for the liquor, I was able to jump right into making the medicinal syrup…
Making Elderberry Syrup
The ingredients for this medicinal syrup are simmering on the stove as I’m typing this post. The house smells delicious!
Again, I’m using the recipe as listed on the Health Home and Happiness Facebook page, so I won’t relist the entire recipe here. I’m just showing the process here and letting you know about some ideas for using freshly picked elderberries. More recipes will follow in other posts as my main focus right now is using up all these wonderful berries in as many recipes as I can. Plus since it’s late in the summer this is a good time to get your medicinal “potions” ready before winter cold season hits.
The other ingredients obviously have various medicinal properties and uses as well. For example; raw honey has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal aspects. But the focus of this post is on Elderberries. We will discuss each of the other ingredients in their own full posts later. I’m getting started late in August on the Herb of the Month series, so I’m getting in as much about elderberry as I can this week. September will bring on a brand new herb to focus on.
To make: Simmer all ingredients, except for the honey, for 30 to 45 minutes. This will be blended with the honey, once it’s cooled a little, but still warm enough to melt the honey. Do not cook honey if you are using it for medicinal purposes or you kill all the good stuff.
As soon as you have reduced the simmering mixture to about half you’ll need to strain out the liquid through a cheesecloth. Apparently if you wait to do this once the mixture has cooled then the elderberries will absorb the syrup.
Let it sit for a while until it’s cool enough to handle then squeeze out any remaining juice by hand.
Now it’s ready to mix in the honey. Store in a jar in the fridge.
The recommended dosage is 1 – 2 teaspoons a day to help prevent illness.
This recipe contains raw local honey. DO NOT give honey to children under the age of one year, there is a risk of botulism.
Elderberry really is a wonderfully nutritious food. Here are just a few health benefits it’s said to provide:
- lowers cholesterol
- improves vision
- pain reliever
- relieves inflammation, water retention and congestion
- boosts the immune system
- improves heart health
- prevents and treats upper respiratory infections
- relieves coughs
- kills flu and cold infections
- is an antioxidant
Elderberry contains organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitamins A, B and a large amount of vitamin C.
According to The Best of Raw Foods:
“The Dutch believe that the tea of the leaves purifies the blood. Tea of the flowers boosts the immune system. The cooked berries improves metabolism and are used to relieve arthritis. Syrup from the elderberries is said to heal a sore throat and reduce fever when you have the flu.”
A couple of interesting and random fun bits of folklore about the Elderberry Tree:
A popular belief in some cultures is that the Elder Tree was supposed to ward off evil influence and give protection from witches.
The most powerful wand in the wizarding world of Harry Potter is the wand made of sambucus known as the “Elder Wand”. <——- Just fun bit of info for any Harry Potter fans out there. 😉
Do you have any favorite uses for Elderberry?
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