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Back at Wellness Wednesday with the series about “What is in my medicine cabinet?“.

I am not too sure why smelling of elderberries is an insult because this herb is tasty, smells like berries, and has many medicinal wonders.

There are two types of Elder trees: the American Elder (canadensis) , also known as Elderberry, and the European variety also called European Elder. The berries, flowers and bark from this tree have been used as traditional medicine for thousands of years.

Elderberry has very high antioxidant activity, is high in vitamins A, B and C. In fact, it has more vitamin C than any other herb other than rose hip. It is commonly used to treat cough, cold, flu, sinus infections, bacterial and viral infections, tonsillitis and kidney infections. It is known to reduce the symptoms of the flu within 2-3 days of use. It has also been used to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, and improve heart health.

When drunk in a tea the flowers act as a febrifuge (fever reducer), and diaphoretic (makes you sweat), to improve feverish conditions. Especially when combined with yarrow and peppermint. They are also a decongestant and helpful with any upper respiratory conditions.

Elder juice is a wonderful cleanser and tonic for the reproductive and glandular systems. The juice needs to be brought to a boil and cooled or it might act as a purgative (diarrhea).

For you gardeners out there, the plant also repels aphids and caterpillars!

A herb oil infusion of the flowers can be used in body oils, salves, and body butters. It is softening, anti-inflammatory, healing and good for all skin types.

For more information on the research done on Elderberry take a look at this site.

This years cold and flu season was not nice to us here in Colorado. My daughter, being an active social toddler, was kind enough to bring home every cold and flu imaginable in the 4 months we were cooped up inside. What would usually happen is she would get sick, then my husband would get sick, then I would get grumpy from having to take care of a sick toddler and hubby all the time without help. Thankfully I personally only got sick a few times.

When the hubby and baby got sick I was sure to make them a nice tea to help them feel better faster. This is a kid and husband friendly tea because the elderberry adds a sweet fruity flavor to what otherwise would have been a bland tea.


Cold and Flu tea

  • 1 part Elderberry
  • 1 part Chamomile
  • 1 part Rose Hip
  • 1 part Yarrow
  • 1 part Peppermint
Add 1 tbsp of the mixture per cup of water you plan to use. Pour boiling water on herbs and let steep 40+ minutes. Remember the longer you steep (up to 8 hours) the more benefit you will see from the tea. 
My daughter would chug this tea straight or with a dab of honey. I think she enjoyed it because of the berry flavor. My husband also did not complain. The elderberry did a good job of hiding the bitter flavor of the Yarrow as well.
You can also make elderberry cough syrup and throat lossanges. I did not make any last year but plan on making some at the beginning of cold and flu season next year. These preparations usually last 3-6 months.
How do you use Elderberry in your medicine chest?


About Amanda

Amanda is a mother of two amazing toddlers. She is an herbalist, natural living guru, and real food, gluten free eating pro. She loves to help educate others on how to take control of their own health through natural living, real food, herbs, essential oils, and most of all - a positive mind set. Her other business Natural Herbal Living Magazine is all about helping people learn about how to use one herb a month on a deep and profound level.
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5 Responses to And your mother smells of Elderberries!

  1. […] root, Elder Berry, Fennel, Lavender, Licorice, Marshmallow root, Nettle, Oat straw, Peppermint, Red […]

  2. […] Cold and Flu Tea Immune System Boost Fever Reducing Tea Elderberry Komucha Alergy Tea […]

  3. Rachel says:

    Do you use dried elderberries in your tea recipe or the elder flowers that you refer to earlier in your post?
    When letting the tea steep do you let it simmer for the 40+ minutes or do you just bring it to a boil and then let it cool while steeping?
    Thanks for the clarifications!

    • Amanda says:

      I use dried elderberries and let it steep in water that has been boiled and let it cool while steeping. You don’t want to simmer herbal leaves. The prolonged heat will damage the herb.

  4. Me says:

    “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elder berries !”
    -Monty Python

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