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Elderberry

Elderberry, also known as Sambucus, is a large bush or shrub that belongs to the Adoxaceae family. The most common elderberry is the Sambucus nigra or black elder.

It produces brunches of bluish-black fruit that are commonly used in making wines, jellies, or jams.

Elderberries are native in most parts of Central Europe and North America. They are also considered one of the most versatile garden plants that require minimal to no care.

Most elderberries' general description is having leaves arranged oppositely with five to nine leaflets plus cream-colored flowers.

Types of Elderberries

There are two known types of elderberries: (1) European elderberry, also known as Sambucus nigra, and (2) American elderberry or Sambucus canadensis.

Another species is the red elderberry, which is commonly mistaken for the American type.

Here are the descriptions of each type:

  • European elderberries (Sambucus nigra) are taller than the American type. It usually grows up to 20 feet and blooms earlier than the other variety.
  • American elderberries are common in grasslands with the usual height of 10-12 feet only.
  • Red elderberries or Sambucus racemosa resemble most American species except for one main distinction: poisonous berries.

Medicinal Values

Elderberry is a known medicinal plant in the world.

Pieces of evidence in traditional medicine pinpoint elderberry as one of the most commonly used plants to treat certain infections and other health conditions.

Here are some of its known uses:

  • Can be used as a supplement to treat cold and flu
  • Can be used as a remedy for pain, swelling, and inflammation
  • Can be used as a stimulant to start urine production and to induce sweating
  • A great diuretic and laxative

Health Benefits

High in Nutrients

A cup of elderberries has approximately 106 calories. This serving also has the following vitamins and minerals:

  • 870 mg of vitamin A
  • 406 mg of potassium
  • 52.2 mg of vitamin C
  • 9 mg of folate
  • 55 mg of calcium
  • 2.32 mg of iron

Good Source of Antioxidants

Elderberries are excellent sources of the following antioxidants:

  • Phenolic acids - powerful antioxidant compounds that can help reduce stress
  • Flavonols - another useful antioxidant is flavonols (e.g., quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin)
  • Anthocyanins - a strong antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects

May Improve Cold and Flu Symptoms

Although further studies are still needed, some studies suggest that black elderberry extracts and flower infusions could reduce the severity and length of influenza.

Hence, commercial elderberry medicines are now available and come in many forms, such as syrups, capsules, and lozenges.

Heart Friendly

Some studies also suggest that elderberry may be good for the heart! It can reduce cholesterol, uric acid, and blood sugar levels. However, further studies are still needed to prove this finding.

Other Health Benefits

There are still a lot of reported elderberry benefits but are only backed by limited scientific evidence.

We still recommend that you talk to a doctor before taking any elderberry supplement.

Among the other reported health benefits are the following:

  • May help fight cancer
  • Gets rid of harmful bacteria
  • Strengthens immune system
  • May have antidepressant properties.

Precautions

Not all parts of elderberries are safe to eat. You need to be careful when harvesting elderberries to ensure that none of the poisonous parts are included.

What can you eat? Of course, the berries and pulp provided that they are cooked well.

Hence, never eat uncooked elderberries fruits, including the twigs, leaves, roots, and flowers.

These parts are considered poisonous because they contain lectin and cyanide, causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Where can i buy Elderberry?  Find out which local farmer has Elderberry

Local food near you

Here are the locals near you selling fresh Elderberry: