Botanical name: Sambucus nigra (this is the common blackish-blue variety).
Plant facts: The tree has hollow stems, which were used traditionally used as a straw to make flute like instruments.
Health Benefits of Elderberry
Elderberry has been shown by scientific studies to have many benefits:
It cures the common flu. This is more effective when made into a syrup or wine with other anti-bacterial spices like ginger and turmeric. Antiviral components of elderberry fruit extract were tested and found to effectively inhibit Human Influenza A (H1N1 virus) in vitro, possibly by blocking the ability of the virus to infect host cells.
Manages Infections - Can be used in a range of infections.
Khantya - Good for the voice, sore throats, anti-inflammatory, good for udana vata and avalambaka kapha.
Anti-Oxidant Rich - A group of phytochemicals known as anthocyanins are responsible for the dark blue colour as well as flavonoids is what makes dark purple coloured fruits and berries high anti-oxidant thus prevent cell damage.
Brain Health - The phytochemicals also help prevent deterioration of nerve cells in the brain. Preventintoothe all to common vata disorcers of the head like Alzheimer's and dementia.
Nutritious - Elderberries contain 87 percent of the daily value in vitamin C, and high amounts of vitamin A, potassium, iron, vitamin B6, fiber, and betacarotene.
Elderflowers, which bloom in summer, are great for fever - and can be brewed into a tea. Other traditional uses of elder flowers are as external antiseptic washes to treat wounds and as an eye wash for conjunctivitis and eye inflammation.
Elderbery Jam Recipe
- 500g of fresh elderberries (not dried)
- 400g of jam quality raw sugar
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
Ideally, harvest your own elderberries from a tree that you know is organic and spray free.
Plus it is more fun and rewarding when you input "more completely" in your creation process.
- Remove the berries from their stems with your hands or a fork and wash to remove any bits of leaf and stalk.
- Place the elderberries in a heavy-based pan and gently crush with a potato masher or squeeze with your hand, just enough to release some of the juices.
- Add the sugar and lemon juice to the pan and leave to simmer on low heat. Keep stirring to prevent the jam sticking to the bottom of the pan.
4. Cook down for around 20 minutes, skimming off and discarding any scum which has come to the surface.
5. Put the jam into clean jars. The jam will keep in a cool dark place for 1 year. Once opened keep in the fridge.
feature photo by Great British Chefs.