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
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