Elder Flowers - Sambucus Spp.

Photo of Sharol Tilgner

This Blue Elderberry (Sambucus spp.) monograph is an excerpt from the 1999, first edition of Dr. Sharol's book "Herbal Medicine From The Heart of The Earth." You can purchase the 2020, third edition of this book with an expanded materia medica/monograph section, herbal formulas and directions on making herbal products in Dr. Sharol's Book Store. You receive free shipping in the USA.

Elder flowers - Sambucus spp. in the Caprifoliaceae or Honeysuckle family

Parts used: Flowers.

Taste/smell: Mucilaginous, slightly sweet.

Tendencies: Cooling, drying.

Dosage: Infusion: 1 tablespoon per cup of water; or 1:0.7 fresh + dry liquid extract: 10-60 drops 1-4 times per day.

Use: (a) Expectorant, (b) Relaxing diaphoretic, (c) Diuretic, (d) Alterative, (e) Soothing nervine, (f) Mild laxative.

Elder has a long traditional use in early stages of coughs, colds and flu. It is used for chronic sinusitis, spasmodic croup, night sweats and skin eruptions from metabolic disturbance. The berry juice is used as a remedy for rheumatism, neuralgia, colds and flu.  The flowers are suitable for children as a diaphoretic.

Contraindications: The seeds can be irritating to the gastrointestinal tract. The unripe fruit, leaves, root, and bark can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, tachycardia and convulsions. The flowers and blue or black berries are the parts usually used.

If you are looking for directions on making teas or tinctures, please see our "Making Herbal Products" page.

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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.

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