The Elder shrub has a long history in herbal, traditional, and ancient medicine. The ancient Egyptians who believed that beauty was a sign of holiness utilized elderflowers for washes and ointments that they used to improve skin complexion and treat eczema. They also used this plant to heal burns. In folk medicine, the berries or juice served as a treatment for headaches, influenza, infections, heart pain, nerve pain, and dental pain. The flowers, on the other hand, were used to treat swelling, fight inflammation, stimulate the production of urine, and induce sweating. Elderberries were not only valued for their medicinal use. They have also been used throughout history for culinary purposes. Delicious jams, chutneys, pies, and wine can be made using Elder fruits. Flowers can be boiled with sugar to make sweet syrup. In Germany and Scandinavia, tasty soup made from Elderberry is a traditional meal.
Characteristics of the Elder Plant
Sambucus nigra has many names which include elder, elderberry, European elder, European elderberry, black elder, and European black elderberry. This multi-stemmed shrub is native to Europe, northern Africa, and southwestern Asia. It produces hermaphroditic flowers with five stamens, leaves that are arranged in opposite pairs, and dark purple to black fruits which can be used in making jellies, jams, and pie fillings. Elder plants are known for their pretty blossoms with musky fragrance. These flowers are also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.
Modern Medicinal Value
Elderflower tea tastes so good that it can be enjoyed even without a sweetener. It is refreshing, relaxing, and very nutritious. This herb which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties is a good remedy for colds and flu. As a healing tonic, it can help alleviate allergies, boost the immune system, and aid in respiratory problems. Below are the other benefits of the Elderflower tea:
- It is a natural mouthwash
Because of its flavor, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, Elderflower tea can be used as a mouthwash which can help combat sore throats, toothaches, abscesses, and laryngitis.
- It is a good source of vitamin C
This herbal tea contains vitamin C which helps guard against chronic diseases, strengthen the immune system, protect the eyes, prevent iron deficiency, reduce blood uric acid levels, and help keep the skin, blood vessels, tendons, and ligaments healthy or in good shape.
- It is a natural diuretic
Diuretics can help lower blood pressure by reducing the amount of water and sodium in the body. Elderflower tea is a natural diuretic since it helps increase the production of urine. This drink may also increase the effects of other diuretics.
- It contains flavonoids such as quercetin
Elderflower tea contains flavonoids which help the body function well by protecting it from stressors and toxins. This herb is a source of quercetin, a flavonoid which prevents infection, relieve allergy symptoms, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer, and prevent neurological diseases.
- It helps protect the skin, joints, and blood vessels
As previously mentioned, it contains flavonoids which help protect the skin, joints, and blood vessels by reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress happens when there is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body. Since flavonoids serve as powerful antioxidant agents, they help avoid cell damage by neutralizing free radicals.
- It protects memory and thinking as one ages
Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant which can be found in Elderflower tea has been shown to protect memory and thinking as one ages. In fact, it may help prevent Dementia, improve the mood, and may lower anxiety levels. This water-soluble vitamin encourages the regeneration of other antioxidants, supports neurodevelopment, and improves neurotransmitter function.
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