Elder (Sambucus nigra)

Elder Overview:

Elder is an invasive tree or shrub spread throughout most of the world. it can be found in cold climates like Canada and Scandanavian countries, as well as tropical areas of Central and South America as well as throughout Southeast Asia and Australia. It's even frequently found in remote areas like the Pacific Islands.

Elder has many uses, especially for upper respiratory infections for its antitussive and antiviral activity. As an antiviral, it has a fairly narrow range of efficacy, which is specific to enveloped viruses like influenza, and will only have a potent effect in the early stages of viral infection. For this it is highly effective however, and is one of the best herbs to keep around in in the event of an acute infection.

Full monograph still under construction

Elder leaves and berries

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Antiviral
  • Emetic (high doses)
  • Antitussive
  • Nervine (leaves)

Main Uses:

Used in the acute stage of respiratory infection, as a diaphoretic or emetic, coughs, and arthritis.


Part Used

Flowers and berries

In some cases the leaves, bark, and roots can also be used with caution.

Family Name

Caprifoliaceae

Distribution

Invasive the world over. Common in North America, Western Asia, Europe, The Pacific Islands, and Austalia.

Sambucus australasica and Sambucus gaudichaudiana (Australian white elder) are found primarily in Australia and South America.

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Constituents of Interest

  • Cyanidin-3-O-glucoside
  • Ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs)

Common Names

  • Elder
  • Black Elder
  • Elderberry
  • European Elder

Botanical Info:

There are about 30 different species of elder, 3 of which are most commonly used as medicine. The common names for these species includes blue elder (Sambucus nigra), red elder (Sambucus racemosa), and white elder (Sambucus australasica).

 

Research Overview:

Still compiling research

Research Quality

 

Clinical Applications Of Elder:

Elder is a great antiviral herb, especially for Influenza and some of the other enveloped viral species if used at the early stages of infection.

 

Cautions:

Elder is an emetic, especially in preparations that contain fresh plant material (unheated). If nausea occurs, dial back the dose. Contrary to popular belief elder is NOT posionous. Emetics are frequently misinterpreted to be dangerously poisonous.

Elder is thought to decrease the effectiveness of morphine.

 

Recommended Products Containing Elder:

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Elder Extract

Herb Pharm

Made from the berries of Sambucus nigra

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Elder Berries

Starwest Botanicals

Dried berries of Sambucus nigra

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Sambucol® Syrup

PharmaCare

Made from Sambucus nigra

Shop Now
 

Full monograph still under construction

 

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