Have your parents ever warned you not to eat the poisonous red berries of the elderberry bush?
Surprisingly, when these berries reach maturity, they can be used as a valuable medicine.
Best of all, these bushes in the honeysuckle family grow freely in the Northeastern and Northwestern areas of the US and Canada and can sometimes be found in your own backyard.
Like many other berries, these fruits are full of free radical-killing phenolic, anthocyanin, and antioxidant compounds. These also contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, iron and potassium.
It’s important not to confuse elderberry with American Elder, Elderflower, or Dwarf Elder, which my be sold under the same name.
The berry is often transformed into syrup, tincture or wine to be taken medicinally.
It’s commonly used to treat:
Upper respiratory infection
Sinus pain and congestion
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Poor urine flow
The fruit also has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties and is often used externally to treat wounds and promote healing.
Berries and flowers cannot be consumed raw, for they contain a toxic cyanide-like chemical. It’s also important to avoid green or red berries, which are poisonous.
This syrup can interact with immunosupressants, diuretics and diabetes medication as well as chemotherapy treatment. It should also be avoided by pregnant women. As with any other natural medicine, you should consult a doctor or naturopath before use.
3/4 cup dried elderberries (Sambucus nigra )
3 cups water
2 tablespoons fresh sliced ginger
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cup raw honey
Place everything but the honey in a medium saucepan.
Boil over medium heat and let it simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove from heat and let it cool.
Use a cheesecloth to stain mixture into a large jar and stir in honey.
Seal the jar and refrigerate for 2-3 weeks.