After touching on a few overall winter wellness tips last week, I’d like to introduce the benefits of the Elder. The Sambucus tree bears large clusters of small white or cream-colored flowers in late spring; these are followed by clusters of small black, blue-black, or red berries, known as elderberries.
There are many reported benefits of elderberries and elderflowers. Not only are they nutritious, but they aid in fighting cold and flu symptoms, support heart health and fight inflammation and infections, among other benefits.
Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnum acid, vitamin A, and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries.
Most species of Sambucus berries are edible when picked ripe and then cooked. Both the skin and pulp can be eaten. However, it is important to note that most uncooked berries and other parts of plants from this genus are poisonous. Sambucus nigra is the variety of Elderberry that is most often used for health benefits as it is the only variety considered to be non-toxic even when not cooked, but it is still recommended to cook the berries at least a little to enhance their taste and digestibility.
What I found most intriguing about the Elder Tree is it's history, and folklore. Below is both an informational and beautifully written article that I highly recommend checking out!