ELDER (Sambucus nigra)

I think Elder may be becoming my favourite tree herb. I have had the absolute pleasure these past couple of weekends of spending time with Elder, picking her beautiful little black berries and a few flowers for a couple of projects.

Both the berry and the flower are used medicinally. Elder berry is indicated for common colds and other acute viral infections and is suitable for children. It is interesting to note that the anthocyanins present in Elder berry are unstable in liquid preparations.1

The Elder flower is used for common colds, acute and chronic sinusitis, acute infections with fever, pleurisy, measles, hay fever, otitis media, catarrh and sinus headache.

According to Mrs M. Grieve, the leaves can be used as an insect repellent, something I am happy to explore, now that the mosquitoes are so prolific! And I did note the distinct lack of bugs on the tree. In fact Elder has so many uses (jams, jellies, wine, cough syrup etc) that Mrs Grieve has dedicated 11 pages to its history and usage in her ‘A Modern Herbal’!

I like to mix Elder flowers with Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) to make a lovely infusion commonly known as YEP Tea, great for common colds.

If you suffer from any of these conditions, please call Shona on 0405 385 925 to make an appointment to discuss how herbal medicine can help your body heal itself.

1. Bone, K. (2007). The ultimate herbal compendium. Warwick, Qld.: Phytotherapy Press.