Benefits of Elder Flower! An Herb to Add to Your Home Apothecary

 In All, Herbs 101

Lets Talk Elder!

Sambucus Nigra is elder’s latin name and the bodily influences are a great long list so let’s have a look at them.

  • Elder is an Alterative which refers to an herb that gradually converts the unhealthy conditions of an organ to a healthy one. An alterative is cleansing and stimulates the efficient removal of waste.
  • Elder is an Anti­-Inflammatory. An Anti ­Inflammatory diminishes the effects of inflammation.
  • Elder is Cathartic, meaning it can provide a strong laxative like effect causing rapid evacuation through the bowels. A mild laxative or vigorous purgative, elder is cathartic.
  • Elder is a Diuretic, promoting the production and secretion of urine.
  • Elder is a Diaphoretic, creating perspiration and increases elimination of toxicity through the skin.
  • Elder is an Emollient which is a substance that is used externally to soften and soothe the skin.
  • Elder is a Discutient. This is a an agent that dissolves or causes something such as a tumor, to disappear or the dispersal of any pathological accumulation.
  • Elder is a Stimulant, meaning an herb that increases the activity or efficiency of a system or organ, acts more rapidly than a tonic.

The medicinal components of elder are found in the bark, flowers, berries, whole plant. Some common names that refer to elder are; American elder, sweet elder, black elder, elder flowers.

It has been said that the elder flower tree was used to construct the wooden cross that Christ lie upon. The tree in its entirety offers a plethora of marvelous medicine.

Elder has long been recognized as a sacred plant of protection and was used to adorn and bless entry ways and windows of homes to ward off any negativity or to keep the troublesome witches at bay. Elder also accompanied many coffins to ensure that malevolent spirits stay away and has become a deeply spiritual plant ally for anyone seeking protection of any kind.

Medicinally, the Romans turned to elder to treat almost anything especially as a means to purge or remove ailments or viruses from the body. The roots of elder were used to reduce swelling while the leaves were used to make salves, ointments to treat wounds, sprains and applied to muscle soreness. More frequently, elder became more widely utilized and embraced as a treatment for coughs, colds and the flu as elder is an excellent fever reducer and has a natural way of cooling the body.

Elder preparations can be applied to relieve nasal and sinus congestion, ease allergies, soothes irritated tissue and can reduce itchiness and sneezing. The English herbalist J. Gerard writes about elder and its great medicinal and magical qualities while John Evelyn, the 17th century herbalist claimed elder flower as a remedy “against all infirmities whatsoever.”

Elder can be made into useful teas, infusions, salves, poultices, oils, syrups, lozenges, tinctures and more. Elder tea is excellent for reducing inflammation, purifying the blood and an overall supportive body tonic. The biggest use of elder flower are in the first stages of a cold or the onset of flu symptoms. This blood cleansing herb can be applied internally and externally. Elder flower increases the body’s circulation and promotes cell cleansing and sweating.

On a precautionary note, eating elder berries are to be avoided when they are unripe and raw. It is instead regarded harmless and recommended to cook up the berries and make jams, syrups or infused honeys, all of which remedy’s are frequently used.

Our wonderful herbal formula Medicine Kid consists of 1/3 Elder Flower. In our home we additionally use elder in custom teas and in home made salves as well. Mostly, I was first drawn to working with elder through my intuitive guidance. I was particularly drawn to the name. This is the beauty of working closely with plant medicines to learn and heal. Discovering our plant ally’s is the first key to co­ creating a sound success.

If you haven’t tried our delicious herbal blend we call Medicine Kid yet, head over here to pick up a 4oz. bottle of our tasty immune support formula. Add sweet droplets under your tongue or to herbal teas when feeling run down or less than 100%.

Healing & Stoking the Creative Flame,






Resources and References:

  • The ABC Herbal by Steven H. Horne
  • The Little Herb Encyclopedia by Jack Ritchason N.D Back To Eden by Jethro Kloss
  • National Geographic, Guide to Medicinal Herbs by Rebecca L. Johnston, Steve Foster, Tierona Low Dog M.D, & David Keifer, M.D
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