Elder leaves and elderberries ( Sambucus nigra and other species) have a long history of medicinal use. They were viewed as so potent that during the 1600s, many people hung elderberry branches and leaves by their doors to keep away the evil spirits that were believed to cause illness.
Among Native Americans, various species of elder leaves were used to treat rheumatism and fever. Laboratory experiments have confirmed the anti-inflammatory properties of elder leaves. Leaf extracts reduce levels of several pro-inflammation cytokines.
Meanwhile, a syrup made from elderberries was reported, in a double-blind study, to significantly reduce flu symptoms. In the study 90 percent of people taking the elderberry syrup (Sambucol) reported a ‘complete cure of their flu symptoms in two to three days, compared with six days for most of the people taking a placebo.
Sambucus is a genus of flowering plants in the Adoxaceae family. It contains between 5 and 30 species of deciduous shrubs, small trees and perennial herbaceous plants.
The fruit of the elder is a globular berry, black when ripe, smooth, shiny, containing three seeds. When squeezed, it gives a reddish juice.
Natural remedies with Elder
The oily maceration of flowers, is popularly used for the treatment of wounds and burns.
An infusion of elder flowers or leaves is also effective, and also serves as a soporific and soothing cough remedy.
For washing the eyes, prepared with half a flower (or a pinch of leaves) for each cup. You can take two or three a day, for the eyes, apply with a cloth or direct drops.
The fresh fruits are used to prepare a purifying drink (50 grams of fruits are boiled in liter of water for a quarter of an hour).
Elder bark has purgative effects if you drink a cup, and another more after a quarter of an hour.
For the common cold or flu:
- 1 spoonful of leaves of plantain
- 1 spoonful of leaves of eucalyptus
- 1 spoonful of stems and leaves of thyme
- 1 spoonful of avocado leaves
- 1 spoonful of echinacea root
- 1 tablespoon of elder flowers
- 1 pinch or two fingers of ginger rhizome
- 2 tablespoons of propolis tincture
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- 1 liter of water