An Excellent Immunity Herb 

The Purple Antioxidant Herb

Sambucus Nigra, common elder

It's has been called “the medicine chest of the people.”

This historic herb is used internally for common chest complaints like the common cold and flu virus to sinusitis, fevers, constipation, rheumatic and arthritic complaints. When combined with other herbs it enhances the medicine for a more powerful effect.

Externally used for minor burns, sore eyes, irritated or inflamed skin, mouth ulcers, and minor injuries.

History of Elderberry

This medicinal herb has been used since Egyptian times using the flowers to improve complexion and heal burns. Romans used this historic herb too.

This herb is rich with much legend and history almost as much as the mandrake.

Folklore has it that Judas Iscariot was hung from the gallows made of elder and Jesus Christ was hung on the cross with the same wood…elder. So, it was never used to make baby cradles.  A symbolic herb to have in a biblical herb garden that is used for meditation and prayer.

This herb has been used to ward off evil spirits when hung outside barns and stables. When planting elder in gardens like a cottage garden it was used to ward off witches.

Another belief was the elder tree would grow robustly when planted near a happy family. It must mean we’re happy because all of mine are growing more each year. As you can see in this photo, it’s over 15 feet tall.

Medicinal and Culinary Uses 


  • Lowers fevers by promoting mild perspiration
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Stimulates immune system
  • Prevents virus from invading respiratory tract cells
  • Coughs, colds, influenza
  • Diuretic and antimucus effects by toning the lining of the nose and throat
  • Soothes irritations…skin lotions, oils and ointments
  • Chronic congestion, allergies and ear infections, and candidiasis
  • Encourages sweating and urine production for arthritic conditions
  • Make white wine
  • “Elderflower champagne”
  • Culinary - crepes
  • Edible flowers for elderberry tea, crepes
  • Tincture, infusion and creams
  • Eyewash and mouthwash/gargle
  • Complexion milk
  • Anti-dandruff hair rinse
  • Foot powder
  • Herbal compost activator – key ingredient “QR”


  • Rheumatism and erysipelas (a skin infection)
  • Mildly laxative and help with diarrhea
  • Coughs, sore throats, colic, asthma and flu
  • Rich in vitamin A & C and anthocyanin
  • Syrup, gargle
  • Tincture infusion (dried berries)
  • Jam, ketchup, sauce, shrubs, vinegar's, cordial, wine, champagne, liqueur, cordial
  • Must be cooked before eating


  • Garden pests
  • Insecticidal spray (boil leaves, strain and bottle)
  • Insect repellent – fresh leaves rubbed on skin, very effective
  • Rodent repellent - Fresh leaves – simple infusion – pour down mouse or mole holes
  • Powdery mildew and leaf rot - simple infusion


  • Minor burns and chilblains (inflammations or blisters)
  • Strip in late winter before new leaves appear or in autumn before leaves change colors
  • Dried for decoctions


  • Trees grown near compost heaps improve break down of organic matter


  • Valued highly by carpenters, makes skewers, mathematical instruments, toys

Elderberry jelly

Elderberries are great way to enhance your immune system by using them medicinally or in your cooking. See elderberry recipes.

There great for garden pests and a natural insect repellent too.

Learn more about biblical herb garden, medicinal herbs, culinary herb garden, herb recipes or garden pests.

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