Elderberries | Health Benefits, Uses, and Effectiveness
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TYLER TOLMAN BLOG

Elderberries | Health Benefits, Uses, and Effectiveness

Elderberries | Health Benefits, Uses, and Effectiveness

Elderberries are probably one of the lesser known of the berry family, which is a shame when it is one of nature’s most versatile solutions for preventing and healing health issues. In fact, going as far back as 400 BC, Hippocrates referred to the elder tree as his ‘medicine chest’ since the entire plant, being the berries, flowers, leaves and even the bark, can be used for medicinal purposes. 

What's in a Name?

First, a little on the name… the word ‘EL’ [Elder] refers to God (Elohim) and ‘DER’ means door. Perhaps elderberries are the doorway to the devine. 

There are around 30 different types of elder plants, coming from the Sambucus tree. The most common tree used for health and healing is the Sambucus Nigra. Clusters of small while or cream elder flowers bloom from the tree, then turning into bunches of black or blue berries. 

The Sambucus tree thrives in the shade and damp areas, which the Doctrine of Signatures proposes has a cooling effect, thereby helping with conditions such as rheumatism, fevers, colds, and coughs.

Back in the day, Indigenous people used elderberries to treat fever and rheumatism, while the ancient Egyptians used them to improve their complexions and heal burns. 

Nature's Caution

Before going into the abundance of health benefits this amazing tree, flowers and berries provide, it’s very important to note the side effects of these berries. Unripe or uncooked berries and flowers from the plant contain a chemical similar to cyanide (call glycoside), which can cause nausea and/or vomiting when consumed in large quantities. 

Due to this reason, elderberries (and the flowers) must always be dried or cooked and consumed in small amounts through teas, extracts, syrups, etc. 

Healing Benefits & Uses

So let’s dive into some of the reasons elderberries, and every other part of its plant, have a wealth of medicinal purposes. 

Berries 

– Liquefied – made into syrups, tinctures, extracts, throat sprays, etc.
– Detoxifier – effective for fighting infections, such as acne and skin rashes, helping to heal faster
– Antioxidants – increasing activity in the body, thereby lessening stress
– Pain relief – relieves the pain caused by inflammation
– Anthocyanin Flavonoids – assisting and supporting the cardiovascular system

Flower

– Medicinal tea – made by boiling dried flowers
– Immune booster – with a high content of vitamin C, helping to prevent & ease symptoms of colds and the flu, reduce fevers and fight infections to heal faster
– Expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties – used to treat respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and asthma

Bark

– Medicinal tea – using fresh bark and bark root
– Diuretic – helping with constipation and kidney health

So while elderberry is more commonly used these days to help with colds and the flu, there are certainly some other amazing health benefits on offer from this little berry (and tree).

Thanks for reading!

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