ELDER, respected and well loved ~ and was International Herb Association’s 2013 HERB of the YEAR! So much can be said about this fabulous plant ~ it’s a member of my ‘green team’ of healers, and always in my apothecary. I use the flowers and the berries. I make herbal tinctures, syrups, liqueurs, tonics, and more with this all star. Elderberry Medicine, as a flower tea or berry syrup is easily findable at your local health food store if you don’t have access to a practising herbalist. I make litres of syrup, tinctures and tea every fall for my own family, friends and clients.
At your local health food store, look for the latin name “Sambucus nigra/canadensis” and you’ll find it. Whether it’s created by a good plant medicine person or purchased from a good source, it’s a great addition to the winter medicine chest. Here’s my post about Elderberry syrup
The berries of ELDER are high in anti-oxidants and contain more vitamin C than tomatoes.
- good source of Vitamin A, B (niacin + thiamine)
- good source Calcium + Iron
- contain 3x protein + 5 x antioxidants of blueberries.
Elderberries are highly nutritious and known as a safe, gentle yet effective immune tonic.
It is thought that elderberry medicine influences the immune system to encourage more appropriate immune responses. These days, when many seem to find that they are reacting to or sensitized to new allergens, I find this very timely. It seems like every week I hear of another case of sudden allergic reaction to a food or pollen that had not previously been of concern.
More and more often we hear of children and adults with sudden ‘allergies’. We are OUT of balance. We have so many more irritants these days; chemical, air and noise pollution, Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from cellular towers and the ever-present WiFi, not to mention our food! Genetically modified (GMO), processed or ‘fast foods’ too often replace highly nutritious, locally grown and/or organic choices.
Our immune systems are compromised. Any herbs that will help us to get back ‘on track’ are important and beneficial.
Some of Elderberry’s healing constituents include:
- immune stimulant
Probably the most common use of elderberry medicine comes to mind for the treatment of the flu virus (aka influenza, e.g. H1N1). When Elder medicine is used, colds and flu seem to be able to move more quickly through the body. Elder supports the body’s natural fever responses, strengthens and tones mucous membranes and provides supportive energy ~ at the same time!
Israeli researcher and world renowned Viralogist, Madeleine Mumcuoglu, PHD of Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center found that elderberry extract disarms the enzyme which viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and the throat. She found that if taken before infection, it prevents infection. If taken after infection, it prevents the spread of the virus throughout the rest of the respiratory tract and into the rest of the body. Her clinical trials found that there was:
20% significant improvement within 24 hours
70% improvement within 48 hours
90% symptom free within 3 days
In this study, those taking the placebo needed 6 days to recover
This study and many more like it, prove that there are compounds in elderberry which bind to viruses before they can penetrate the walls of cells, effectively stopping the viruses before then can spread!
Research indicates that after a virus enters a cell in our body, it replicates quickly and within a 5 hour time period, that initial virus now numbers in the thousands. Replication takes place every 20 minutes or so. This is the reason that herbalists recommend that we take our herbal remedies every 10 – 15 minutes in the acute phase of an infection.
NOTE: Always take herbal remedies frequently, especially at the beginning of an attack, whether it’s a sore throat, body aches, earaches etc. Also, for the best results, always take the remedies for 2-3 days after all symptoms have cleared.
ELDER – HERB OF THE YEAR 2013 is available here
courtesy of the International Herb Association.