Latin: Sambucus nigra
Part Used: flower
Constituents: flavonoids, sambunigrin, tannins
Medicinal Actions: diaphoretic
Uses & Combinations
Elder Flower is a diaphoretic, which means it induces sweating and is useful for helping to lower fevers. For this purpose it can be combined with peppermint, yarrow, and hyssop. Historically, it has also been used to treat bronchial and pulmonary issues, as well as for treating scarlet fever. For all these reasons, it is often used as a cold and flu remedy, and vinegar infused with Elder Flowers is an old remedy for sore throats.
Elder Flower is found in skincare products, where its valued for its astringent and mildly stimulating quality. It’s also popular in culinary uses, and can be found in preserves, cordials, and liqueurs. Elder Flower has seen a culinary resurgence in recent years as a flavouring for sparkling waters, tonic waters, and cordials. It appears in cocktails, as well, with the increased popularity of St. Germain, a French Elder Flower liqueur.
Features & Cultivation
The Elder tree can reach up to 30 feet tall and prefers rich, moist soil. It thrives best in partial shade to full sun. You can collect the flowers in spring and early summer when it’s frothy white blossoms are in full bloom.