FWD 2 HerbClip: News

Elder Flower Berry

While herbs such as echinacea (See HC 100591-388 regarding a study where extracts of echinacea and sage were successful in easing sore throats) are touted for having on hand during the winter cold and flu season, other herbs that often do not have the public's attention can also provide remedies for the symptoms associated with wintertime ailments. Elderberry (See HC 100691-388) is one such herb and has been employed for centuries as a tonic for colds, flu, and sinus infections. The seventeenth century herbalist, John Evelyn, even referred to it as a remedy "against all infirmities what-so-ever."


Used for generations as a medicinal tea, only recently has it been determined that elderberry contains viburnic acid which induces perspiration and aids in detoxifying the body tissues. As such, it can help reduce fever, purify the blood, and cleanse cells.


Historically, most parts of the elder flower have been used medicinally: stems, leaves, berries, and flowers. The bark can be used as a purgative. Elder leaves are made into ointments to ease bruising and heal wounds. Elder flower water was used by women as a skin tonic and to keep the skin free of freckles, blemishes, and sunburn. A hot infusion of elder flowers and peppermint taken at night during the first sign of flu symptoms was used to produce sweating and a peaceful night's sleep. A lotion was also made from the flowers and was said to aid in healing boils and other skin afflictions, ease headaches when placed on the temples, and keep insects at bay. The berries can be made into wine, cordials, and jams. Cordials were used for colds and cough as well as bronchitis. The wine, used warm, eased chills and, used with cinnamon, helped with asthma.


The elder flower can also be used as a sedative, for nervous conditions, and eye and ear infections. Historically, it was also used for rheumatism and swollen joints as well as other inflammatory conditions. As a blood and cell purifier, it can be used as a spring tonic.

Lori Glenn, Managing Editor