Elder has more folklore associated with it than most any other European herb. In rural England, it was thought dangerous to cut the branches, as it was believed that the plant was inhabited by the Elder Mother. To avoid her wrath, woodcutters and herbalists would recite a rhyme prior to harvesting to appease the goddess.
The most commonly available species of elder is Sambucus nigra or European Elder. In the PNW, we have two native species, Sambucus cerulea, Blue Elderberry and S. racemosa, Red Elderberry. The Blue Elder species has be used medicinally by native peoples for influenza and arthritis for hundreds of years. The Red Elderberry is considered toxic, especially the fresh berries.
Elderberry and Elder Flower are both used similarly medicinally for respiratory complaints, influenza and fevers. The berries are rich in Vitamins A & C often taken for rheumatism, as a mild laxative, diarrhea and diuretic. The flowers are ideal for colds, coughs, flu, hayfever and sinusitis. Both can be taken as teas, tinctures, and encapsulated formulas. Elder Flower combines well with Peppermint, Hyssop, Yarrow, Boneset and Goldenrod as an infusion. Elderberry combines well with Echinacea, Rose hips, Wild Cherry Bark and Pau d’arco.
There are no known side effects for elder flower. The raw or unripe fruit should be avoided as they can cause severe vomiting or diarrhea.
If you would like a special tea blend, I can make you a custom blend that will work especially for you. Try my newest tea blend for hayfever and allergies made with Elder Flower, Nettles, Hyssop & Lemon Balm don’t forget to use local honey to help your body’s response to pollen.
The following article is for educational purposes and not intended for diagnosis. Always consult your health practitioner when needed.