Even the ancient Greek doctors used elderberry as a medicinal herb. Diokurides, one of the most famous pharmacologists of antiquity, recommended the root of the elderberry for dropsy and its leaves for inflammation. However, the fact that the inner bark of the plant, scraped from the bottom up, acts as an emetic and, from top to bottom scraped, as a laxative, has clearly proved to be a superstition. Today elderberry is mainly used against colds.
Ingredients of elderberry
Be careful with raw, unripe elderberries, as they contain the poisonous, cyanide-sambunigrin, which can cause nausea and vomiting. Also in leaves and bark Sambunigrin is found in high concentration. This substance loses its effect only by heating.
The fully ripe berries, however, are harmless even in the raw state. The flowers and fruits also contain flavonoids such as rutin or isoquercetrin as main ingredients, the flowers also contain a small amount of tannins.
Healing effect of elderberry
In folk medicine elderflower is used internally as a sweat-inducing remedy for colds. It is recommended to drink larger quantities of hot tea infusion, especially in the evening. However, science has not been able to detect an active ingredient with direct sweat in the elderberry. However, it is believed that the medicinal plant increases the excitability of the sweat glands for heat stimuli - and also the sweating is probably triggered by the hot liquid. In addition, elderflowers promote eruption in cough and diuretic.
Externally, they are used to make gurgling waters and baths; Here, the astringent effect of the tannins probably comes into play.
The tastiest variant of vitamin and mineral rich fruits are probably juices and jams. The juice is also used in folk medicine as a sweat-inducing agent, but also as a laxative or against sciatic pain and neuralgia. The use of leaves and bark is not recommended due to toxicity. Homeopathic preparations are administered according to the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia for inflammation of the respiratory tract.
Preparation of elder tea
Here you will find instructions for the preparation of a tasty elder tea:
- For each cup, pour two teaspoons of elderflower with boiling water.
- Let the tea soak for five minutes.
- Drink one to two cups as hot as possible several times a day, especially in the evening.
The tea is also suitable for the prevention of common cold: For this purpose, a teaspoon of elder flowers per cup is used; The infusion is then drunk moderately warm twice a day for two weeks.
Black elderberry: origin and harvest
The black elder (Sambucus nigra) grows on the edges of forests or clearcuts throughout Europe as well as in parts of Africa and Asia. He comes as a shrub or tree, the yellowish white flowers smell aromatic sweet. They then become black, cherry-green berries.
According to the European Pharmacopoeia, both the flowers (Sambucus flos) and the berries (Sambucus fructus) and the leaves (Sambucus folium) are suitable for use.
They are harvested at different times: flowers are picked at the beginning of flowering in June, while berries are picked only when they are deep black.