Black Elder~ Sambucus nigra
Hello Elder, hello summer! Some people can’t get rid of this tree, some can’t get enough and I understand why. Black elder is known as the veritable medicine chest, not only that but… Elder champagne…Elder cordial… Elder berry syrup… Elder berry wine… Elder is wonderful! And it is steeped in folklore, this tree is magic. Always ask for permission from Mother Elder before harvesting from her. 🌿All my plants are grown organically.
- Growth Type; Deciduous tree
Growing Black Elder
Please check with your local regional council whether this tree is permitted. In some areas Elder is considered a pest plant.
- Climate; Cool to mild climate
- Exposure; Shade/partial shade when young, can handle full sun when mature.
- Soil; Any, but does love a rich moist soil best.
- Tip; Elder is a tree. Once you have an established tree it is very difficult to remove (if you do need it removed you will have to grind out the stump) make sure everyone (your family/property owners/council) is OK with this. All green parts contain hydrocyanic acid, don’t recommend consuming.
Using Black Elder
- Parts used; Bark, flowers, berries, leaves
- Medicinal actions and uses; Where does one start and where does one end! So many uses, Mrs Grieve dedicates twelve pages to elder. Bark; purgative, emetic, diuretic (only use internally under supervision of a qualified herbalist). Leaves; Externally, emollient and vulnerary (great in a healing balm) Internally, purgative, expectorant, diuretic, diaphoretic (only use internally under supervision of a qualified herbalist). Flowers; Diaphoretic, anti-catarrhal, (fabulous for colds) and culinary (wine, fritters, honey etc). Ripe Berries; Diaphoretic (promotes sweating), diuretic (promotes urination), laxative (promotes 💩!) .
Links for more information
- Elder honey; make sure you check the rest of Nicola Galloways website for other elder recipes
- Richard Whelan; Medical herbalist
- Folklore of Elder
Disclaimer; The content on this website is not intended as a medical reference but as a source of information. I, SandRa Timmins (she), am not a qualified herbalist and recommend you see your GP or holistic practitioner before dabbling in herbal remedies especially for; serious/chronic conditions, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you are already taking pharmaceuticals. Treat herbal remedies with respect, they can be powerful.