Getting to know Elder: properties, benefits, and more!
Late in the night, a child was having trouble sleeping. Was it because of their stuffy nose? Or Something else? Staring at the lone Elder branch hanging at their doorway, the child began to slowly drift into a deep slumber…
Elder: Oh! What do we have here? Welcome! You’re just on time for the morning festivities.
Child: Morning? Wasn’t it just night? This must be a dream. You’re a plant. Plants can’t talk!
History of Elder
Elder: Oh child, one must learn to respect their Elders! We have such rich folklore originating from Europe. Folklore of healing and magic. Being able to talk should be the least impressive thing about us Elders.
Child: Magic you say? Then, can you fly?
Elder: Nonsense! We are plants after all. As whimsical as we are, we also provide many benefits for the human body.
Benefits of Elder
Elder: Both our flowers and berries support the immune system. Their compounds promote sweating and urination, which expels waste products from the body. In fact, that power is akin to how we were once used to ward off negative spells and protect the inhabitants of a building. In this case, we’ve been protecting humans for an incredibly long time!
Child: Now that branch of Elder hanging in our doorway makes so much sense… But I don’t think I’ll need those benefits. As you can see, I’m in great shape!
Elder: Young one, are you sure? Your nose sounds a little stuffy and your throat sounds a little hoarse. Elder can aid with relieving common cold and flu symptoms, so maybe I can help. You know what? Let me brew you up a batch of my special Elderflower and Elderberry elixir for you!
A few other properties…
Child: Your elixir smells delicious – just like my grandmother makes! I can almost taste the sweet and sour Elderberries and the “summery” smell of the Elderflowers. I already feel my nose clearing up!
Elder: That’s great to hear! Here, want to have a sip? I put a little extra Elderflower in the mixture to help soothe your muscles and reduce your inflammation. Let me know how it tastes!
The child took one big sip of Elder’s elixir. Suddenly, Elder disappeared from their view and they were transported back onto the softness of their mattress. Their eyes were facing the bedroom ceiling. They weren’t dreaming anymore. However, the sweet scent of Elderberry lingered. It was stronger though–sweeter. Little did the child know, their mother was already busy preparing an Elderberry tonic in the kitchen downstairs…
Elder (Sambucus Nigra) Mini-Monograph
Scientific name: Sambucus Nigra
Common folk names: Elder, Elderberry, Black Elderberry, Sambucus, European Elderberry
Habitat: Native to Europe, Elder has been naturalized to grow in warmer climates of North America, Asia, and Northern Africa
Common contraindications: None known
Parts of the Elder plant
Herbal actions: Flowers: Mild diaphoretic (clears waste of the body through sweat), diuretic (promotes urination), alterative (supports detoxification), antirheumatic, antispasmodic (eases muscle cramps), carminative (aids in digestion and reduces flatulence), anti-inflammatory
Berries: Immune-strengthening, Diaphoretic, diuretic, emunctory stimulant (all excretory organs or ducts), alterative, carminative, may reduce cold and flu symptoms
Harvesting notes: To harvest Elderflowers, snip off the entire cluster of blooms (in late Spring to early Summer).
To harvest Elderberries, pick them when they turn a deep purple-black color typically in August. Do not consume berries or seeds whole. The juice is to be pressed.
Leaves, stems, and roots of the Elder plant should not be consumed as they are poisonous.
Fun fact: The Elder plant has many roots in folklore. Elder branches were typically hung in doorways and by windows as a seal to protect the inhabitants of a building from negative spells
Enjoy Elder (Elderflower) in our RECOVER tea blend and in Elderberry Syrup (Elderberry and Elderflower)!
Ever wanted to know more about how we make our Elderberry Syrup at Town Farm Tonics? We promise the process is just as magical!
 National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2020, Aug), Elderberry, Retrieved from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/elderberry
 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (2021, March 8), Elderberry, Retrieved from https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/elderberry-01
 Richard Whelan (2011), Elder, Retrieved from https://www.rjwhelan.co.nz/herbs%20A-Z/elder.html
 The Naturopathic Herbalist (2015, Sept 10), Sambucus Nigra/Canadensis, Retrieved from https://thenaturopathicherbalist.com/2015/09/10/sambucus-nigracanadensis/
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