Elderberry: Medicinal Elixir for the Whole Family

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History of Elderberry

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For millennia, physicians, and herbalists have found medicinal uses for all parts of the elder tree, including its wood, leaves, flowers and berries.

Leaves were used in ointments to heal skin. The flowers and berries were made into infusions as a common treatment for colds and rheumatic conditions.

Elderberry Today

Today, herbalists and holistic physicians commonly recommend elderberry for the wide variety of properties that can support the health of the young and old alike. 

European (Black) Elder (Sambucus nigra) is the species safely and most commonly used for botanical medicines. Note that the berries should not be eaten (or used) raw. They must be dried first or properly cooked at the peak of ripeness.

Healing with Elderberry

Elderberries are rich in Vitamin C and flavonoids, which act as antioxidants to protect cells in the body from damage and help reduce inflammation.

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They have been used in preparations to treat colds, flu, and bacterial sinus infection. In studies, syrup prepared from the juice of elderberry has been shown to help decrease the duration of flu symptoms, including swelling in mucous membranes and congestion.

Other studies have shown that elderberry extracts have antiviral properties and appear to have a role in inhibiting the replication of viruses.


Elderberry can interact with other medications including those used to treat diabetes, asthma, and drugs that suppress the immune system. Before using an elderberry product for an adult or a child, check with your natural medicine practitioner to verify the integrity of the product and appropriate use.

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