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What is Elderberry and why should you take it?

A brief introduction to elderberry, it's uses, what it does and how to take it.

If you've never heard of elderberry or have and want to know more then you've come to the right place. In my apothecary storefront, I carry elderberry in a liquid form, capsule form and as an ingredient in many of my immune boosting tea blends and it always surprises me when I am asked, "What is this Elderberry and how do you take it?" Elderberry has become quite the holistic health craze as of late but did you know elderberry has long been used in folk medicine in Europe, and was even a medicinal favorite of the great Hippocratese, referencing the elder tree as his "medicine chest"? So it makes sense that some still have not heard of its many uses and benefits and have yet to try it.


Elderberry is a small, dark purple berry found on the elder tree and is also known by its botanical name,

Sambucus nigra.

This tree belongs to the elder family which consists of about 30 or so species, not all of which are edible and safe for medicinal use so be sure you have the right tree when foraging. Elderberry is considered one of the most healing plants in modern holistic medicine and was revered as a Holy tree during the renaissance era.

The entire tree has many uses and purposes beginning with the flowers, that are commonly used in beauty products due to their skin toning and softening properties. The juice from the berries is best known for making tonics and syrups that are ingested for their immune boosting benefits but did you know the berries can also be used to infuse oils to make salves that are used for burns and scalds? Now that's pretty awesome. The flowers contain tannins which are power antioxidant compounds often found in red wines. Not only does the tree have these healing properties, but its a beautiful addition to any garden and a natural deterrent for critters.

One of the reasons elderberry has become so popular lately is due to its immune boosting properties. Elderberries contain 2 times the amount of Vitamin C as oranges and 3 times the antioxidants of blueberries. In fact, studies have found that ingesting elderberry on a regular basis not only helps to prevent the common cold & flu but also aids in shortening sick times when these illnesses occur.


More symptoms elderberry treats:

  • Constipation

  • Joint & muscle pain

  • Heart disease

  • Headache & fever

  • Kidney issues

  • Epilepsy

  • Minor skin irritations

  • HIV & AIDS

  • Stress

Of course elderberry is not an end all to these serious conditions but most doctors will agree that elderberry is a natural immune booster and probably will not interfere with your prescribed medicines. Of course, it's always best to play it safe and consult your medical professional before adding or changing your current medicine regimen.


What's the best way to take elderberry to enhance your immune system?

Glad you asked. There are many ways that elderberry can be used to boost and improve your immune system. The most popular way today in popular folk medicine is to ingest it or take it by mouth as a drink or supplement.

Elderberry is frequently taken by ways of syrups and tinctures and even by capsule.

A syrup is prepared by steeping the elderberry along with other herbs and spices in distilled water and then adding honey or maple syrup depending on your preference. This is then distilled similar to canning jams and jellies and can be kept on the shelf for up to 6 months unopened. Once opened, be sure to refrigerate and use within 3 months. Adding a spirit can lengthen the shelf life if you prefer. Tinctures are similar to syrups in the way that they are steeped in water, however, a greater herb/berry to water ratio is used and then mixed with a spirit to preserve it. Tinctures are a potent way to ingest herbs and berries and have a longer shelf life, however, if you do not want to or cannot use alcohol, then making a syrup is a better option.


I started making elderberry capsules when I began getting questions on the ingredients and realized that persons with diabetes or on diets that limit sugar and carbohydrate intake, my syrup wasn't an option. I began with the same dried elderberries I used for my syrup and tinctures and ground them up in a coffee grinder, one that I use specifically for herbs. After grinding them into a soft powder, I began filling capsules with them and my customers were so grateful there was an option for them. Taking elderberry by capsule works great for those that prefer taking supplements in capsule form and can carry them in their purse or bag or add them to their pill planner, which is easy to remember if you're already taking pills or capsules.


As you can see Elderberry has a been around for a long time and it's a plant that has many medicinal purposes. If you're not already on the elderberry train, at least you have a little more information about it. and if you're curious and want to add it to your apothecary then we highly recommend trying our Elderberry Syrup and if you prefer, our Elderberry capsules are an alternative if you're on a sugar restricted diet or prefer capsule form.

If you're anything like me and are a DIY kind of person, here is our super easy recipe. All you need are some herbs you probably already have in your pantry, water and a few more simple ingredients. You can purchase our Elderberry Syrup kit here if you aren't sure where to get all the herbs needed. Cheers to a better immune system and cheers to elderberry!

have you tried our elderberry?

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