Common Name: European elder, black elder, elder, elderberry, elder flower, sambucus
Latin Name: Sambucus nigra
What Is European Elder Used For?
- Parts of the elder tree -- such as the berries and flowers -- have long been used for pain, swelling, infections, coughs, and skin conditions.
- Today, elderberry and elder flower are used for flu, colds, fevers, constipation, and sinus infections.
European elder is a tree native to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa, and it also grows in the United States.
There are several different types of elder, such as American elder, but European elder is the type most often used as a supplement.
How European Elder Is Used
The dried flowers (elder flower) and the cooked blue/black berries (elderberry) of the European elder tree are used in teas, liquid extracts, and capsules.
What Science Says
- Although some studies show that elderberry helps to relieve flu symptoms, the evidence is not strong enough for scientists to strongly support this use of the berry.
- A few studies suggest that a product containing elder flower and other herbs can help treat sinus infections when used with antibiotics, but further research is needed.
- No reliable information is available on elderberry and elder flower for other uses.
Elderberries are dark purple fruits with a sweet-tart, fruity flavor. You can purchase Whole Organic Elder Berries for creating tasty, warming winter cordials, teas, syrups and wines. Elderberries contain bioflavonoids and vitamin C.
The best documented aspect of elderberry is its anti-viral effects. Elderberry has long been used to support a healthy immune system. Two separate studies using an elderberry extract found it helped inhibit influenza when taken during the first 48 hours of symptoms. Participants experienced a significant reduction in the length of symptoms.
Elderberry capsules are convenient, powerful and are standardized to guarantee 5 percent total flavonoids. Use daily to help build strong defense. Continue use as needed. Loaded with bioflavinoids and other key phytochemicals, Elderberry has become one of the most popular therapeutic herbs.
Side Effects and Cautions
- Uncooked or unripe elderberries are toxic and can cause nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea. Only the blue/black berries of elder are edible.
- Because of elder flower's possible diuretic effects, use caution if taking it with drugs that increase urination.
- Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
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