The humble Elderberry grows on bushes that can reach heights of 3 meters in the US. Often considered a weed in WNY, it was often just cut down or plowed over.
It has so many uses both historically and even today.
Elderberry has many uses, the ancient Egyptians used it to improve their complexions and heal burns.
This bitter berry is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world.
Today, elderberry is most often taken as a supplement to treat cold and flu symptoms.
However, the raw berries, bark, and leaves of the plant are also known to be poisonous and cause stomach problems. The berries are quite tart and need to be cooked to be eaten. The flowers have a delicate muscat aroma and can be eaten raw or cooked
Traditionally, Indigenous people used it to treat fever and rheumatism, while the ancient Egyptians used it to improve their complexions and heal burns. It’s still gathered and used in folk medicine across many parts of Europe.
The flowers and leaves have been used for pain relief, swelling, inflammation, stimulating the production of urine, and inducing sweating. The bark was used as a diuretic, a laxative, and to induce vomiting (1Trusted Source).
I use an elderberry Epsom salt mix for my baths it helps siatica.
Additionally, the berries can be cooked and used to make juice, jams, chutneys, pies, and elderberry wine. The flowers are often boiled with sugar to make a sweet syrup or infused into tea, Historically, the flowers and leaves have been used for pain relief, swelling, inflammation, stimulating the production of urine, and inducing sweating. The bark was used as a diuretic, a laxative, and to induce vomiting (1Trusted Source).
The health benefits:
High in nutrients
May improve cold and flu symptoms
High in antioxidants
May be good for heart health
Helps fight cancer.** Both European and American elder have been found to have some cancer-inhibiting properties in test-tube studies (7, 9Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
- Fights harmful bacteria. Elderberry has been found to inhibit the growth of bacteria like Helicobacter pylori and may improve symptoms of sinusitis and bronchitis (9Trusted Source).
- May support the immune system. In rats, elderberry polyphenols were found to support immune defense by increasing the number of white blood cells (30).
- Could protect against UV radiation. A skin product containing elderberry extract was found to have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 9.88 (31Trusted Source).
- May increase urination. Elderberry flowers were found to increase the frequency of urination and amount of salt excretion in rats (32Trusted Source).
May have some antidepressant properties. One study found mice fed 544 mg of elderberry extract per pound (1,200 mg per kg) had improved performance and mood markers.
Last but not least for this tiny berry?
My Mama made the best pies from elderberries(lots of sugar, please) and my sis. in laws Mom made a wine that was out of this world.