Elder flowers
Sambucus spp.

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. Elder contains the compound aribino A and a mixture of alpha- and beta-amyrin palmitate that have been found to exhibit strong antihepatotoxic activity against liver damage induced by carbon tetrachloride. It is suitable for children.

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 flower is the part usually used.

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