The Elder Berry – Sambucus

by admin on February 25, 2014

Elderberry FruitPhoto courtesy of Roger Butterfield

Elderberry Description:
The elder berry (Sambucus) is a shrub of the larger variety, reaching between 5-8 meters in height. Sometimes they are trees that are 15 meters in height, usually the trunk of which is 30-60 cm in diameter.

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • (unranked): Angiosperms
  • (unranked): Eudicots
  • (unranked): Asterids
  • Order: Dipsacales
  • Family: Adoxaceae
  • Genus: Sambucus

There are 5 different types of the elder berry.

  • Common Elder
  • Blackberry Elder
  • Red-berried Elder
  • Australian Elder
  • Dwarf Elder

Elderberry - Cornell University- Horticulture
Photo to left courtesy of Cornell University- Horticulture Elders are found all over the world, like the Southern Elder found in South America, the American Elder in eastern North America, the Blueberry Elder in western North America, the Chinese Elder in southeastern Asia, the Mexican Elder in Mexico and Central America, the Black Elder in Europe and Western Europe, Madeira Elder on Madeira Island, the Canary Islands Elder on the Canary Islands, the Peruvian Elder in northwest South America, the Florida Elder in the southeastern United States, the Andean Elder in north South America, the North China Red Elder in northeast Asia, the Yellow Elder in New Guinea, eastern Australia, the Australian Elder in south eastern Australia, the Asian Dwarf Elder in the Himalayas and eastern Asia, and the European Dwarf Elder in central and southern Europe, northwest Africa and southwest Asia.

The flowers of the Black elder (Sambucus nigra) are used to make a liqueur. The French, Austrians, Croatians and the Swiss use the extract from the elderflower blossom as a substitute for blueberries in pancakes, for example.

Wine and cordials are made from elderberries. The umbels of the elderberry flower are batter coated, deep fried and served with cinnamon as a dessert or a sweet lunch in Italy and Germany.

Elderberry Benefits:

  • treating Influenza A and B
  • antioxidants (flavonoids) – stimulates the immune system
  • anthocyanins (anti-inflammatories) – relief of aches, pains and fever
  • antiviral
  • antibiotic
  • antibacterial
  • sooths upper respiratory problems
  • diuretic – natural intestinal cleanser
  • anti-inflammatory
  • promotes circulation, kidney function and good lymphatic system health

They are high in:

  • antioxidants (flavonoids)
  • anthocyanins (anti-inflammatories)
  • ORAC value

Source Link: USDA for Elderberry Flavonoid Research Page

Elderberries by Raspberrytart
Elderberries in Stewart Falls, Utah by Raspberrytart.

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