In ancient European herbal medicine, the Elder tree was referred to as the “Medicine Chest of the People” due to the incredible range of health promoting and disease preventing benefits it affords.
In this article, we will be focusing specifically on the health benefits of Elderberries but it is important to note that Elderflowers are also a powerful health tonic which will we address in a later article.
One of the reasons that Elderberry has shot to fame in the last few years in that it is one of the few herbal medicines which have been shown to out-perform synthetic pharmaceutical drugs. More specifically, Elderberries have been shown in clinical trials to be more effective at alleviating the symptoms of the flu that Tamiflu, one of the most used anti-viral flu prescriptions in existence.
As we discuss in our Online Diploma in Herbal Medicine, one of the main benefits of the Elderberry is its immune stimulating and infection fighting properties. But it also affords powerful benefits in other capacities which are important to be aware of. So lets look at the wide ranging benefits of this remarkable herbal medicine:
Immune System: The immune stimulating properties of Elder are profound. The berries are proven to stimulate immune activity and possess strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. As such it is strongly indicated in the management of weakened immunity, cyclical colds and infections, to prevent infections at the first sign of symptoms and whenever there is a sense of being generally run down; it’s a fantastic tonic to ward off winter infections.
Respiratory System: One of the most powerful tonic herbs for the respiratory tract, it has been shown to be as effective as synthetic drugs in the treatment of influenza. Its anti-microbial actions treat both bacterial and viral respiratory infections, indicating its use in all respiratory tract infection such as colds, sinusitis, bronchitis, flu, head colds, tonsillitis, laryngitis and fevers. Its decongestant properties help alleviate mucous, catarrh, congestion, bronchitis and general congestive states.
Emotional and Psychological: The berries have calming, adaptogenic properties which help buffer against stress, depression, tension and anxiety. It is also incredibly helpful in the management of sleep disturbances.
Cardiovascular System: The very high levels of antioxidants found in the berries help protect against free radical damage and inflammation in the arteries, thereby preventing vascular disease, the build-up of plague, hardening of the arteries and cholesterol.
How To Use Elderberries
Absolutely without exception, the very best way of using elderberries is to make your own home made elderberry syrup. It tastes amazing, is full of goodness, is super easy to make and is our turn too tonic to ward off winter infections.
There are loads of different elderberry syrup recipes, the following is our favourite:
1 cup dried elderberries
6 cups water
1/4 ounce ginger
Handful of cloves
1.5 cups raw honey
Bring berries and water to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain berries and return liquid to the heat.
Add 1/4 ounce grated ginger and a handful of cloves.
Simmer gently for another 45-60 minutes, or until 2-3 cups of liquid remains.
Remove liquid from the heat, allow to cool to room temp.
Stir in 1.5 cups of raw honey.
Bottle, label, and refrigerate.
Suggested Use: Take 2 teaspoons every 3 hours at the first sign of an infection.
Learn even more about caring for your immune system, balancing health, and preparing remedies for cold and flu season in our Online Diploma in Herbal Medicine. You’ll get detailed guidance on how to prepare and use herbal medicines to treat a huge variety of common ailments, diseases and disorders.