Get our free book on rainwater now - To Catch the Rain.
The Elderberry is one of the most common fruit-bearing shrubs of North America. To the Indians and American settlers, it was considered "the medicine chest of the common people".
The ancient Egyptians discovered that applying elderberry flowers improved the complexion and healed burns. All parts of the elder have long enjoyed a strong medicinal reputation on their own merits, however, ONLY the berries and flowers are recommended for internal use today. Distilled elderflower water softens, tone and restores the skin. Elder flower infusion cleanses the skin, lightens freckles, and soothes sunburn. Its bioflavonoids promote circulation and strengthen the capillaries.
An astringent, immuno-stimulant, emetic, expectorant, diaphoretic, laxative, diuretic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory.
Serve it Hot for: Colds, sore throat, fever and flu. Serve it Cold for: spring tonics, blood purifiers and diuretics.
Elder is an excellent blood cleanser (it helps eliminate waste in the fluid surrounding the blood cells).
Elder flowers contain 3 rich sources of potassium plus viburnic acid (helpful for asthma an bronchitis), volatile oils, vitamin A, vitamin C. and bioflavonoids. Elderberry jam/jelly contains many vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin B17.
In fact, elderberries contain more vitamin C than any other herb except for black currants and rosehips!
Due to their diuretic and detoxifying properties, people eat elderberries to lose weight.
Gather the berries like the flowers. This is quick. The real work occurs at home: Pulling small bunches of berries from their stems, and sorting the fruit from the debris on a tray, takes time
Avoid unripe, green berries—they'll get you sick. Even raw ripe elderberries make some people nauseous Cooking or drying dispels the offending substance, and greatly improves the flavor. Baking this fruit in muffins, cakes and breads embues them with a piquant crunchiness. They become the central ingredient whenever you use them in baked goods. Elderberries aren't sweet and contain no thickeners. Rely on other ingredients for these elements, especially if you're making the European favorite, elderberry jam.
The berries have few calories and lots of nutrition. They provide very large amounts of potassium and beta-carotene, as well as sugar and fruit acids, calcium, phosphorous and vitamin C.
Looking at or even thinking about the elderberry bush evokes a flood of magical associations and images of the past—European ladies dousing their white skin with elder flower water, and crystal goblets filled with elderberry wine. In European folklore, fairies and elves would appear if you sat underneath an elder bush on midsummer night. The lovely elder possessed potent magic, with the ability to drive away witches, and kill serpents. Carrying the twigs in your pocket was a charm against certain diseases. One of these tales bears some truth: Sleeping under the elder supposedly produces a drugged, dream-filled sleep—the fragrance is actually a mildly sedative. Perhaps the visions of fairies and elves resulted from dreaming under an elder bush.
My experience with the elder indicates that much of its charmed reputation among Europeans and Native Americans comes from its ability to heal. The flowers and fruit are medicinal. Hippocrates already recognized this in 400 B.C.
An infusion or tincture is astringent, expectorant and diaphoretic, great mixed with yarrow and peppermint for colds, flu, and asthma. Herbalists also use it to soothe children's upset stomachs and relieve gas. It's even applied externally for swelling, rashes, and chilblains (frostbite-like trauma to wet skin), and as an eyewash for conjunctivitis and eye inflammation. You can even steep the flowers in oil to make a soothing massage lotion that relaxes sore muscles, and also soothes burns and rashes. Like the flowers, elderberry infusion is astringent and diaphoretic—good for colds, excessive mucus, and sore throat.
A tea made from 1/2–1 teaspoon (3–5 grams) of the dried flowers steeped in 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water for ten to fifteen minutes may be drunk three times per day.
You can also boil the Berries in vinegar to make a black hair dye.
Sent in by "Star".