Chopping elder branches was considered dangerous in rural England because woodcutters believed that the tree was inhabited by the Elder Mother. They would recite a rhyme to avoid her wrath.
Common Names: Elder, common elder, elderberry
Latin Name: Sambucus nigra
Plant Family: Adoxaceae
Parts Used: Flower, berries
Habitat: Native to Europe; thrives in woods, hedges, and along creek beds
Actions & Constituents: Flavonoids and phenolic acids have antioxidant properties, triterpenes are anti-inflammatory, acts as a diuretic to remove waste products
Uses: Flowers are ideal for colds and the flu and help reduce fever; they also increase resistance to infection and help with chronic congestion; have been found to be helpful in arthritic conditions; the berries increase body temperature, causing a virus-fighting effect
How to Prepare: Can be used as a tea or tincture. Traditionally, the berries were made into elderberry wine.