Sambucus nigra

© Willow

Also known as black elder, European elder, boor tree or bountry. Do not confuse with dwarf elderberry (Sambucus ebulus).

The story…

Elderberry is native to Europe and North America. It can be found in sunny areas, often in well-lit woods, hedges, empty lots, littoral dunes or next to housing. Flowers and (cooked) berries are used to make elder lemonade or to flavor wine. In Celtic traditions, it gives the ability to converse with deceased relatives or protects from witchcraft. Its scientific name derives from Greek sambukê, which means flute or harp, because its hollow stems were use as music instruments.


Seasonal viral infections and bronchitis

Elderberry is used against colds, flu, sinusitis, and other viral respiratory infections. It has a diaphoretic effect (facilitating perspiration) and helps to decrease fever. It is also an expectorant, which facilitates bronchial secretions. Finally, it has a general stimulating effect on the immune system.


Infusion: 2 teaspoons dried flowers per cup, up to 3 cups a day.


Contraindicated for people taking an insulin, diuretic or immune-depressing treatment. Parts of the plant other than the flowers and cooked berries are toxic. In case of persistent symptoms or if you have any doubts, consult a doctor.

© Kurt Stüber