February 7th, 2013Elder Sambucus canadensis: (Caprifoliaceae)
-Jo Francks MH The International Herb Association has named Elder as herb of the year for 2013. There is more romance, folklore, tradition, and superstition recorded in history about this remarkable plant than about any other herb known. The great herbalist, Henry Box of England, stated, “For colds, influenza, fevers, inflammation of the brain, pneumonia, inflammation of stomach, bowels, or any other part, this is a certain cure. I have never known it to fail, even when given up and at the point of death, it will not only save at the eleventh hour, but at the last minute of that hour. It is so harmless that you cannot use it amiss, and so effectual that you cannot give it in vain.” The flowers and berries are the parts of the plant that are most used internally although the bark and leaves have been used externally for skin conditions such as boils, swelling, bruises, and eczema. The bark and root are not used internally so much because they are strong purgatives and emetic. The berries are a wonderful herb to use for colds and flu. I like to combine them with rose hips and calendula flowers to make a tea or an extract. Use equal parts of each dried herb for each preparation. For a tea use a teaspoon of the combined herbs per cup of distilled water. Boil the water and pour over the herb, cover and let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Drink while warm. To make an extract fill a glass jar half way with the herbs and fill the jar the rest of the way with equal parts distilled water and vegetable glycerin. Cap the jar and shake it several times a day for 2 weeks, strain off the liquid through a piece of muslin or cheese cloth. The liquid that you strained off is the extract. Use a half teaspoon of this preparation several times a day. Elder is one of Dr. Christopher’s 100 herbs and a very good choice for herb of the year for 2013. It would be beneficial to learn more about this herb and get some to have on hand in case your family needs something for the seasonal illnesses going around.
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