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Herbal Ally :: Elderberry

Elderberry :: "Just a spoon full o’ Elderberry”

Let’s start with a growing favorite. You can now find bottles of Elderberry syrups and teas lining the shelves of your local pharmacy. But with any herb remedy its potency cannot be preserved long term.

My motto :FRESH is always BEST!


Many lean into transforming Elderberries into syrup. I’m certain there are some wonderful recipes online and we may share some down the road. I tend to lean into a fresh brewed cup of Elderberry tea with compatible ally’s when I have the inkling that my body has been disturbed by the seasonal sniffles.


Get to know Elderberry, why it’s become a staple, and Pin our tea recipe to your Herbal Pinterest board.


Elderberry

Latin: Sambucus spp. (spp means there are multiple medicinal varieties)

Common Name: Sweet Elder, Black Elder, Pipe Tree, Common Elder

Origins: America elder is typically found in moist environments. It’s general appearance is shrub like but wild cultivations can also become very tree like.


Good to Know:

The word Elder was adapted from the word “aeld” which means Fire. This ‘Pipe Tree’ got its name because the hollowed out branches were often used to make instrumental pipes back in the day or blow air into fires.(1)

We most often see the berries commercially, but in the spring and early summer Elder flowers are also harvested. The flowers can be used medicinally and culinary in a similar fashion to the berries.

Ethics + Safety:

Elderberries grow Wild in the hills and trailsides of Ojai. Wild crafting is a beautiful often lost tradition. It’s important if you plan to wild craft that you know the laws as well as property lines when you do so. It’s also imperative that whenever you wildcraft that you’re away of pest and weed abatement. Never use foraged goods in areas that are sprayed!

My favorite place to Elderberries: mostly I’ve been gifted my Elderberries, but you can also source them locally at The Healing Tree in Thousand Oaks. Elderberries grow Wild in the hills and trailsides of Ojai.


Herbal Actions: Alterative, Aperiant, Astringent (flower), Demulcent, Diaphoretic (flower), Diuretic, Emollient, Expectorant, + Laxative.


Uses:

  • Flu Remedy :: Elerberry directly inhibits influenza’s virus actions (1)

  • Immune Booster :: increases antibody production

  • Upper Respiratory :: as an expectorant/astringent it helps to draw and flush excess moisture out of the lungs and airways

  • Digestive Support :: works as a laxative to sooth and to move

  • Considered relevant for support with eczema, gout, arthritis, sore throats, etc. (1)

**Contraindications/Safety:

  • Branches + seeds may contain trace amounts of cyanide. If ingested in large doses it can cause cyanide poising. Always process your pickings thoroughly. In similar form raw elderberries can also cause upset digestive tracks. Always thoroughly extract and processes.



Stock your shelves with these simple ingredients to prepare for the winter season ahead.


Jessy’s Elderberry Tea:

2 tbsp Elderberries (dried)

2 Star Anise

10 Cloves

1/2 Ceylon Cinnamon Stick

16oz Boiling Water

**optional herbal ally - fresh ginger slices or 1tbsp licorice root


Bring water to boil either on the stove top or tea kettle. This tea requires a minimum of 10min steep and suggested up to 20mins to fully extract. You can place loose herbs or herbs in a muslin back on your stove top pot. I personally love to use my backpacking insulated French press to keep the tea warm while it extracts.


Pour in your favorite cheerful mug and add optional honey to taste.


**Please use caution when introducing new herbs. Never blindly take herbal remedies without learning more about their constitutions and contraindications. It’s important to consult with your medical professionals to ensure that herbal allys you’re curious about will best support your overall well-being.



Sources:

  1. Thompson, Krystal “Elder (Sambucus spp)” herbrally.com, https://www.herbrally.com/monographs/elder

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