Respect Your Elders

Respect Your Elders

Respect Your Elders

The Elder tree has a lengthy documented history for both physical and spiritual purposes.  Many cultures considered it to be the gateway to the mirror dimension. This opposite universe is considered the spirit realm, and the tree is a barrier or gateway between life and death.  Some of the spiritual beliefs surrounding the Elder may have come from the trial and error of learning how to properly use the parts of these trees and all they have to give.  Prepared correctly, harvested parts could help to “cast out evil spirits.”  Immune compromise was often considered “possession of the body.”  Prepared or used incorrectly may have resulted in being taken by the spirits to the mirror dimension, never to return.

Never fear however!  The entire Elder tree has been used safely for thousands of years to support immune and inflammatory response, but in modern day only the flowers and berries are commercially available.  The most readily available species today are the Sambucus Canadensis(Common American Elder) and Sambucus Nigra(Common European Elder).  Both varieties produce yellow to white flowers in the late spring to early summer, and dark, bluish-purple berries in the late summer to early fall.  There is a slight variation in matured size, but otherwise they are the same.

The entire tree, no matter the species, contains hydrocyanic acid which can metabolize into cyanide in the body.  The roots, bark, and leaves are particularly concentrated in this compound, and thus, are considered toxic by today’s standards.  The berries and flowers contain minimal levels of this compound, and it can be easily eliminated by steeping the flowers or simmering the berries.  There is a slight difference in use between the flowers and berries, but overall they can be used to assist immune and inflammatory response.  Both are especially beneficial to the respiratory and circulatory systems.  


Elderberries Known Nutrients, Active Components, and Functions

  •  Naturally rich in beta-carotene, folate, vitamin C and complimentary flavonoids, polyphenols, and resveratrol (red, blue, purple pigment)
  • Contains L-Tyrosine, Sambucine, Viburnic acid, and hydrocyanic acid (Cyanide)
  • Promotes the breakdown and elimination of mucus in the body
  • Supports a healthy response to heat in the body by stimulating blood flow and encouraging perspiration
  • Promotes the breakdown of enzymes secreted by viral immune compromises which weaken cell membranes for cell penetration
  • Promotes healthy inflammation response throughout the body, but especially within the respiratory tract and cardiovascular system
  • Safe through pregnancy; could be excellent in combination with Echinacea


Incorporating Elderberries Daily

On a sweeter note, elder flowers and berries really are quite easy to integrate for daily immune support for the entire family and in any season of life.  They could be called the “gateway” immune herb since they are tastier than most immune supporting herbs.  There are encapsulated extracts, pre-made tinctures and syrups, pre-made tea blends, and sometimes even jams!  If you feel like making your own syrup or tea blends, elderberries and flowers can be easily obtained in bulk along with many other complimentary herbs.  If you are not sure how to begin there are tons of great beginner syrup recipes out there in books and online.