Elderberry has served the human body in a healing and restorative way for thousands of years and we have it to thank for its beautiful, maternal, comforting, nourishing, healing, calming, soothing and replenishing effect on the human body. The elderberry tree is a perennial, large, ornamental tree. The berries from this tree/shrub have been known to be medicinal since folklore. The berries have a variety of uses- as medicine, elderberry wine, and in pies. Their roots in herbal traditional and medicinal uses lie in North America and Europe. Elderberry has a historic connection to magic, and has been known for its ethereal maternal essence. The elder tree’s branches were thought to contain the spirit of the “elder mother:’ watching over the tree. Those who cut down her branches were considered to be inevitably haunted by the mother. By the same account, the elder mother would grant people healing from the flu if prayed to.

And recently, with the resurgence of popularity in folklore medicine, elderberry has gained lots of respect in its ability to fight viral pathogens, particularly influenza. Science has confirmed these ancient uses. The respiratory tract is especially susceptible to the benefits of elderberry. Elderberry alleviates lots of dampness and heat within the respiratory tract.

Elderberries contain vitamin c, calcium, potassium, beta carotene, phosphorus, antioxidants and bioflavonoids. Studies have shown that the flowers have anti-inflammatory properties. Elderberry has an all encompassing “soothing” effect on the body and the nervous system. It can relieve gastrointestinal disturbance and calm the psychi.

The flavonoids, including quercetin, within the flower and berries are thought to be the therapeutic aspect of the tree

The juice is used as a tonic for the reproductive system and benefits the kidneys as it increases the production of urine to get rid of too much water stored in the body The tea from the dried flowers have the capacity to help perspiration which helps alleviate toxins from the bod. The juice of the leaves can provide healing to hot injuries on the eye­as an aussage.

Ode to Elderberry

By: Angela Aronson

My dearest mother elder within a berry,
I honor you for the graciousness you bestow upon my body
Your syrup nurtures us
Your wine soothes us
Your maternal nature
Acts as knowledge in us
Saying no to unwelcome guests
You remind them they are not at home in me, in my lunges,
Or in my dreams
Been around since folklore
Before we could analyze your ways
This is where her medicine is- in her round berry, they would say
Within her sweet, elder tree
Your medicine reaches out to our plasma, blood, muscle fat
And extends its healing hands into our respiratory, immune, digestive, circulatory, urinary systems
Thank you for reminding us that wellness is our right
Encouraging to that which nurtures
Discouraging to that which takes
The sweet syrup on my tongue, reminding me that “all will be well”
This is the song you sung to them
This is the song you sing to me
Thank you for the reminder that medicine is our eternity