Page 14 - Forest Row Local June 2022 Edition
P. 14

14 June 2022 • Forest Row Local
The Healing Garden:
ELDERFLOWER
Sambucus nigra (L)
Black elder, common elder, pipe tree, hyldor, ellhorn
Viburnum family (Viburnaceae)
Medicinal/ edible parts
Active Constituents
Elder trees are also good nesting habitats for small birds. Elderflowers and berries provide nectar and food for many different insects and small mammals. Moth caterpillars feed on the leaves, which give off a strong smell and a poisonous to flees and lice, and they are disliked by flies and mosquitos.
The elder a deciduous shrub or small tree, easily recognisable at this time of year with its flat heads of tiny fragrant creamy-white flowers and leaves arranged in opposite pairs with 5-7 leaflets.
The elder is native to most of Europe. It is common in hedgerows, woods, roadsides, waste-ground, and scrubland.
MEDICINAL USE
The flowers are anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, circulatory and immune stimulant.
The combined effect of the active constituents is
to enhance natural resistance to disease, and to promote perspirations – removing heat from the body and cooling fevers – so they are excellent for viral infections, especially respiratory tract problems such as colds and flu, as well as hay fever and other allergic symptoms and catarrh, and the effect of the flowers can be enhanced with nettle, mint and yarrow.
Cold elderflower infusion soaked in clean pads and placed over the eyes can also be used to relieve eye strain and inflammation.
DOSE
Elderflower tea: 1-2 fresh elderflower heads, or 1-2 tsp dried, per cup of boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain and drink 1⁄2-1 cup every 2 hours for acute conditions.
Hay fever relief: 1 fresh elderflower head (or 2 tsp dried) and 1 top of fresh nettle( or 1 tsp dried) per cup of boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain and drink freely as needed.
Natural insecticide: Bruised leaves can be used as an insect repellant. A natural insecticide can be made by boiling 4 handfuls of leaves in a litre of water for 15 minutes, strain, cool and use in a diffuser.
By Kirsten Hartvig - ND, MNIMH, DipPhyt, registered naturopath and medical herbalist, The Healing Garden, Emerson College.
www.thehealinggarden.uk
Latin name
Synonyms
Family
                     Flowers (berries in the autumn)
Choline, bioflavonoids (including rutin, quercetin and kaempferol), mucilage, sterols, pectin, tannin and volatile oils.
        The elder has a long history of use as food, medicine and in thehousehold. The name “elder” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for fire (Æld). This may relate to the use of the young stems were once used as bellows to get a fire going. They contain a soft pith which is easily removed, leaving a hollow tube to blow in. The hollow stems were also used for pipes and whistles, hence the name “pipe tree”. Native Americans call it “the tree of music” for the same reason.
The generic name “Sambucus” may be an adaptation of the ancient Greek word Sambuca and refer to an ancient musical instrument. The elder was also once seen as giving protection from dark forces which were kept away by planting an elder near your house. Mature elder wood is hard and light, excellent for whittling and carving tools and utensils.
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