Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra)

Other names: Aptian, Bazaga, elderberry, black elder, elderberry.

Description of the plant: An elderberry plant grows as high as 3 to 10 m. Its flowers are white to yellowish-white and assembled in flat bundle. The flowers develop at first green, then brown-red, and finally shiny black color.

Flowering time: June, the time of flowering fruit ripening - September.

Habitat: elderberries grow readily in sunny open land, at the edges of forests or in very thin forests. It can be encountered in the vicinity of the villages and at abandoned places.

The medicinal part of the plant: the remedy is collected within ripe seeds. Young leaves (Folia Sambuca), gather the flowers (Flores Sambuca), the inner part of the root bark and bark from branches and tree (Cortex Sambuca). In September, they grow into well ripened berries (Fructus Sambuca).

Pharmaceutical action: elder flowers are rich in glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, carotenes, routine and vitamin C. Elderberry fruit contains alkaloids, carotene, tannins, organic acids and vitamins A, B and C. It is assumed that the flavonoids contained within elder are responsible for most of its healing properties. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from damage. Therefore elder is used in the treatment of degenerative diseases (e.g. as cancer prevention). It is a great ally in preventing colds and flu because it strengthens the immune system. In addition, the elder has antiviral and antimicrobial activities. If you start feeling under the weather, it’s recommended that you eat four tablespoons of elderberry. To treat a common flu or cold you can also use elderberry extract which can be bought in health food stores and herbal pharmacies. It is useful with asthma and illnesses which cause inflammation of the airways, because it facilitates breathing and helps with expectoration. In the spring, elder flowers can be used as an anti-pollen allergy remedy. Elderberry has a detoxifying effect because it increases the secretion of toxins from the lymph glands. This herb can help with acne, ulcers, conjunctivitis and skin rashes. Apart from serving as laxative, it also acts as a diuretic and contributes to the health of the kidneys. It is used in situations where you need to sweat out a sickness and it cures the dropsy. Because of its laxative, diuretic and detoxifying properties it is excellent as an aid in weight loss.