Major Cold and Flu Relief Sinus Infection Aid Lower Blood Sugar Natural Diuretic Natural Laxative Encourage Healthy Skin Ease Allergies May Help Prevent Cancer May Improve Heart Health 14 Ways to Consume Elderberry Tea Wine Juice Jelly and jams Syrup Ointments Astringent Infusions Sprays Lozenges Pills Liquid Powder Capsules Historically, elderberry is known as a cure-all and has been called “the medicine chest of country people.” The Romans created hair dye from the juice. The wood of an elderberry tree is fine-grained so it polishes easily and has been used historically to make combs, toys, skewers for butchers, pegs for shoemakers and needles for weaving musical instruments. Native Americans used the plant for healing through medicines, foods, beverages, charms, ceremonial items, inks, dyes, body paint, jewelry, hunting whistles and musical instruments. During the 1995 Panama flu epidemic, the government employed its use to fight the flu. The berry’s juice greatly reduced the time of the flu as well as the severity, thus helping end the epidemic. Sambucus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Adoxaceae. The different species of Sambucus are commonly called elderberry or elder. The berries and flowers of the elder plant are used as medicine. Elderberry is native to Europe, Africa and parts of Asia, but it’s become common in the U.S. It has deciduous leaves, white flowers (elderflowers) and berries that turn from green to red to black when ripe. Elder is commonly found growing in woodlands and hedgerows. Sambucus nigra is the full scientific name of the most common variety used for medicinal purposes. Sambucus nigra is the species on which the majority of scientific research has been conducted. It’s a deciduous tree growing up to 32 feet tall with cream-white flowers and blue-black berries. Other common names for Sambucus nigra include black elder, European elder, European elderberry and European black elderberry. The elderberry bush or elder tree yields the berries that are commonly used in syrups, jams and wine, among other medicinal and culinary delights. European elder flowers contain approximately 0.3 percent of an essential oil composed of free fatty acids and alkanes. The triterpenes alpha- and beta-amyrin, ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, betulin, betulinic acid and a variety of other minor components have been identified. Elderberry fruit contains quercetin, kaempferol, rutin, phenolic acids and anthocyanins. Elderberry also contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties that can help prevent cellular damages, and anthocyanidins, chemical compounds that are known to have immunostimulant effects. The raw berries are made up of 80 percent water, 18 percent carbohydrates, and less than 1 percent each of protein and fat. Elderberries are naturally high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, iron and potassium, among other essential nutrients.