Elder or Elderberry
Black Elder (Sambucus nigra)
Scientific classification

Elder or Elderberry is the name of a several similar types of shrubs that produce fruit that is also called elderberries. The plant can be found in swampy habitats and other areas that provide enough water.

Black Elderberry has been found to be effective against the H5N1 strain of Avian Flu (Zakay-Rones et al. 1995). Black Elderberry contains a unique compound called Antivirin® that can help protect healthy cells and inactivate infectious viruses. When given to patients, scientists have found the Black Elderberry, has the ability to ward off flu infections quickly (Zakay-Rones 2004). Black Elderberries are rich in anthocyanins which are a type of flavonoid – anthocyanins are antioxidants that may protect cells from free radicals and support your body’s immune system. Black Elderberries have almost 5 times as many anthocyanins as Blueberries and twice the overall antioxidant capability of cranberries Black Elderberry has a more potent antiviral effect than Echinacea. At sites in Switzerland and Italy, researchers have uncovered evidence that the black elderberry may have been cultivated by prehistoric man, and there are recipes for elderberry-based medications in the records dating as far back as Ancient Egypt. Historians, however, generally trace the tradition of the elderberry’s healing power back to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known as the “father of medicine,” who described this plant as his “medicine chest” for the wide variety of ailments it seemed to cure.

Over the centuries, elderberry has been used to treat colds, flu, fever, burns, cuts, and more than 70 other maladies, from a toothache to the plague. In the 17th century, John Evelyn, a British researcher, declared, “If the medicinal properties of its leaves, bark, and berries were fully known, I cannot tell what our countryman could ail for which he might not fetch a remedy [from the elderberry], either for sickness or wounds.” If you dye elderberries they make the color violet. Some neat facts are

  • Elderberry can grow in the form of a shrub or small tree and can reach 6 feet in height and width depending on the variety.
  • It blooms during the spring or summer
  • Elderberry flowers contain male and female reproductive systems in case it cannot reproduce through cross-pollination.
  • Seeds spread through the consumption of birds, elk, and deer.