Elder Anyone?

Sambucus nigra 
Commonly known as European Elder, Black Elder, Common Elder, Bore Tree.  It grows up to 9 metres tall, spreads like a weed throughout New Zealand, its origins from England & Europe.  It has clusters of small creamy white flowers in the summer which turn into large drooping bunches of purplish-black juicy berries. Both of these i.e. flower & berry are used medicinally.  

The use of elder dates back to the father of medicine himself, Hippocrates (470-410 BC).  the word elder is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “aeld” meaning “fire”, as you could create a fire by blowing through the young hollow branches of the elder tree.  Danish legend connected it with magic, believing that in the branches dwelt a dryad, Hylde-Moer, the Elder Tree Mother, and that if one stood under the tree on Midsummer Eve one would see the King of Fairyland and all his train ride by.  Russian peasants said that the compassionate spirit of the Sambucus nigra would drive away all evil and also give long life & in some countries they refuse to burn or destroy the trees because of this.  The Sicilians thought that sticks made of its wood killed serpents and drove away robbers, and the English believed that it was never struck by lightening. 

Its active constituents consist of:  

Flavonoids – rutin, isoquercetin, quercetin, kaempferol & astragalin
Phenolic acids – chlorogenic, p-coumaric & caffeic acids
Triterpenes – ursolic acid, beta & alpha amyrin
Volatile Oils – palmitic, linoleic & linolenic
Rich in Vitamin C

Elderberry tincture, wine, spirits, syrup, honey (flowers), jams, oxymels (vinegar & honey), champagne (flowers), oil, lozenges are the many mediums that are made to utilise it’s health giving properties.  Traditionally Elder has been used to treat headaches, toothache, facial blemishes, cough, asthma, fever, smallpox, measles, arthritis, menstrual complaints, oedema, burns, melancholy, epilepsy, protection from the plague, wound healing & diarrhoea to name a few.  Nowadays Elderberries are used to treat colds, influenza, fever, sinusitis, nasal catarrh/rhinitis, dry cough, joint pain, nerve pain i.e. sciatica, high cholesterol.  Elderflowers are used as a diuretic, treating fevers, reducing mucus, laxative, scarlet fever, measles, fevers, joint pain.  Elderflower water has been used in soothing inflamed eyes, as well as in skin moisturisers and perfumes.

To get started on using your Elderberry as in infusion (tea), making syrup or oxymel click on or copy & paste the following link: https://www.naturalus.co.nz/Products/Tea/HerbsA-F/HerbsA-F.html#120ELDE  

We do have the Elderflower as well, it isn’t listed at present but we have onboard so order Elderberry and in the notes tell us you want Elderflower.  

Carry on reading for more studies on Elderberry and how they can possibly help you and your family:

During the 2009 flu season, a short-term, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study was conducted on 64 volunteers suffering from three or more flu-like symptoms (coughing, fever, headache, muscle aches, and/or nasal congestion and mucosal discharge) for less than 24 hours.  The patients were randomized into two groups of 32 and administered four doses of 175 mg proprietary elderberry extract (HerbalScience Singapore Pte. Ltd.; standardized and enriched in phenolic acids, polyphenolics, and a broad diversity of other flavonoids) or placebo daily for two days. After 48 hours, the elderberry group reported a significant reduction in symptoms with 28% of volunteers being symptom free. The symptoms of the patients in the placebo group were either unchanged or worse.

In 2004, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (n=60) demonstrated the safety and efficacy of Sambucol in the treatment of influenza.  Patients with influenza type A or B received 15 ml Sambucol or placebo four times per day. Flu symptoms decreased significantly in the elder group by the third or fourth day versus seven-to-eight days in the placebo group. Treatment was initiated within 48 hours of symptom onset and the authors suggested that the elder preparation might have been even more effective with earlier intervention.

In a previous placebo-controlled, double-blind study conducted in 1995 on 27 patients with influenza symptoms for 24 hours or less, patients received either Sambucol or placebo daily for three days (two tablespoons per day for children five-to-11 years of age and four tablespoons per day for adults 12 years and older).  Within two days, 93.3% of the elderberry group experienced a significant improvement in symptoms, and complete resolution was achieved by 90% of the group within two to three days. The placebo group did not experience similar improvement or resolution until day six.

Links to further studies on Elderberries click on or copy & paste:

1.  Inhibitory activity of elderberry liquid extract against respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A & B viruses:  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21352

2.  Bone Mineral Density in Experimental Diabetes:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23024697

3.  Anti-influenza virus effects of elderberry juice:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22972323

4.  Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19682714