Information on Elder

Latin NameSambucus nigra
Other NamesSweet elder
Part UsedFlowers, berries
Herb FormsTincture, lotion, capsule, homeopathic tablet, extract, bulk herb.
AffectsImmune system
CautionsNone noted.
Botanical InfoA shrub to small tree with masses of cream-colored umbrella-shaped flowers and bright blue, edible berries.
DescriptionExtracts from the bright blue elderberries are popular in formulas to prevent and treat the common cold and influenza. They are also considered beneficial for chronic rheumatism, neuralgia, and sciatica.
Elder flowers are classically used for colds, flu, and fevers, as they contain strong diaphoretic and cooling activity. They are commonly used in Europe as a diuretic and laxative as well as for weight loss. Elder flowers are one of the ingredients in a popular flu remedy combined with peppermint leaves and yarrow flowers. Elder is often included in formulas for hay fever and sinusitis. The herb is an effective detoxifier and helps clear infections such as acne, boils, and skin rashes. They are employed in lotions as a general astringent for the skin.

Elder has a taste of ACRID, BITTER and a temperature of COOL.


Infusion1 cup 2-3 x daily
Tincture1 teaspoon tincture in a little water 3 x daily
Capsules1-2 capsules 2-3 x daily

Ailments Treated by Elder

AilmentTreatment SupportApplication
Colds, acutediaphoretictea, tincture, tablet, capsule
Feverdiaphoretictea, tincture
Fluantiviraltincture, tea, tablet, capsule
Inoculation, side effects fromdetoxifier, immune modulatortincture, tea, tablets


Blumenthal, Mark et al. 1998. The Complete Commission E Monographs. Austin: American Botanical Council.
Newall, C. et al.. 1996. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press.
Leung, A. and S. Foster. 1996. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients. New York: J. Wiley & Sons.
McGuffin, M. et al. 1997. Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Weiss, R. 1988. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, England: Beaconsfield Publishers.
Wren, R.C. 1988. Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs. Essex: C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd.