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Elder

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  • Botanical: Sambucus nigra
  • Family: Adoxaceae
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Elder

Botanical

Sambucus nigra

Family

Adoxaceae

Known as

Holler, Hollunder, Schwarzer Holunder, Flieder,

Parts Used

berries, flowers

Aroma

clean, citrus, floral, fresh, fruity

Medicinal

abscess, acne, asthma, arthritis, bronchitis, boils, bone weakness, blood cleansing, bronchitis, burns, cellulite, circulation, colds, constipation, coughs, cramps, dermatitis, diabetes, dropsy, eczema, exhaustion, eye inflammation, fever, flatulence, flu, gout, hay fever, headache, herpes, hemorrhoids, liver weakness, itching, insect bites, insomnia, joint inflammation, kidney weakness, knee pain, migraine, nervousness, pain relief, respiratory, rheumatism, sinusitis, sore throat, sweaty feet, swollen feet, sunburn, toothache, osteoporosis, urination, wrinkles, wounds, hay fever

Properties

antispasmodic, anti inflammatory, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, fungicide, stimulant

Description

It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 6 m (20 ft) tall and wide (rarely 10m tall). The bark, light grey when young, changes to a coarse grey outer bark with lengthwise furrowing. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, 10–30 cm long, pinnate with five to seven (rarely nine) leaflets, the leaflets 5–12 cm long and 3–5 cm broad, with a serrated margin.

The hermaphrodite flowers are borne in large, flat corymbs 10–25 cm diameter in late spring to mid summer, the individual flowers ivory white, 5–6 mm diameter, with five petals; they are pollinated by flies.

The fruit is a glossy dark purple to black berry 3–5 mm diameter, produced in drooping clusters in late autumn

Properties & Uses

Elderberry juice and elderberry, as well as teas made from bark and flower stands are a good means for colds, kidney and bladder trouble and find application today. The factors that effect are contained in fruits and B vitamins C, fruit acids, essential oils, which are also contained in the flowers, flavonoids, and especially the color-producing anthocyanin. This antioxidant protects cell membranes from changes caused by free radicals, thus slowing the aging process of plant cells and the cells of the human consumer.

The essential oils and their complexes have a slightly sweaty aroma and an expectorant. Even with stomach complaints Holundertee in home medicine is successfully applied.

The dried flowers are called "Flores Sambuci" available in drug stores and pharmacies.

Cautions

The leaves and stems are poisonous. The fruit of many species (although no records have been seen for this species) has been known to cause stomach upsets to some people. Any toxin the fruit might contain is liable to be of very low toxicity and is destroyed when the fruit is cooked

Distribution

Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia.