Sambucus nigra L.
PROPERTIES OF ELDER
Common noun: Elder, European black elder (tree); Eldelberry, Common elderberry, Black elderberry, European elderberry (fruit)
Scientific noun: Sambucus nigra L.
Family. Elder family -Caprifoliaceae
Habitat: In woods, by the side of the rivers and streams and humid hedges.
Characteristics of elder tree
Shrub - tree up to 10 m. Ligneous stems, gray brown like cork.
Composite leaves, pinnate till 12 cm long. 5- 7 leaflets, toothed and ovate.
Flowers in inflorescences, similar to umbels, very flat, till 20 cm wide. Cream corolla, about 5 mm.
Fruits in drupe, black.
Picking and storing elder
Spring and Autumn are the best season to pick the flowers. We should collect the leaves from the fresh shoots, also in spring. Bark in Autumn and fruits at the end of Summer or in Autumn.
Flowers must be dried in the shade and kept in a dry and dark place. Bark in the sun and must be put into a dry, airtight container. Fruits can be eaten raw or they can be dried in the sun and stored under the same conditions of the bark.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF ELDER
INTERNAL USE REMEDIES WITH ELDER
Elder for respiratory diseases
- Respiratory: It is very helpful against respiratory diseases. Flowers in infusion become a good sudorific, which contributes to heal this kind of processes.
- Depurative: It has got a depurative effect for the body, being suitable to get rid toxins from our body. It can be used for psoriasis, urticaria, eczema, etc. (Infusion of flowers. A flower tablespoon per cup.) (Fruit in jam)
- Laxative and purgative: Against constipation. ( Ripe fruits, raw or in marmalade) Fruits which are not very well ripe are toxic!!!
EXTERNAL USE PREPARATIONS WITH ELDER
- Antiseptic and bactericide: The same decoction seen above can be used for buccal rinsing against pyorrhea.
- Astringent: To treat hemorrhoids apply the lotion with the juice extracted squashing fresh leaves.
- For otitis, earache, tinnitus, hearing loss, Meniere's disease or swimmer's ear: By introducing the steam in our ear resulting from the decoction of a handful of dry leaves, we will feel a big relief. (The process is done by the vaporization method, which consist on the application of a vapor for therapeutic use.
This can be done in practice in the following way: Boil a handful of leaves in a liter of water for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and, while being hot, place a cone made of paper or cardboard over the steam. Introduce the narrowest end in the ear and the widest end over the steam so that the steam can go into the ear.)
- As a natural collyrium: It has been a traditional remedy for what has been called "evil eye". Very useful in case of conjunctivitis, cataracts or retinal detachment (Make eye washes with the infusion of a handful of flowers per liter of water. Apply a gauze over the eyes). (Do not use in case of allergic conjunctivitis or hay fever)
- For pyorrhea: (Decoction of the bark)
- Nose bleeding: (Crush some dry leaves into a powder. Insert a bit in the nostril that is bleeding.)
Culinary uses of elderberries
- Elder marmalade: Pick ripe fruits to make a marmalade, adding a fourth part more of fruit than sugar (750 gr. of sugar each kg. of fruit) It should be cooked on a low flame, stirring constantly.
Cosmetic uses of elder
A flower infusion poured in the water of the bath makes it very refreshing, besides contributing to cure skin faults. - pimples, blisters, inflammations, etc.
- To eliminate face spots, apply on it the infusion of a handful of flowers in 1 and a half litters of water.
Elder wood is very hard. This is the reason why it has been considered very valuable for making farming tools or for cabinetwork.
More information about natural medicine in the listing above.
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.