Can a simple flowery shrub like the wild black elderberry be so naturally powerful and have so many health benefits?
Elderberry is indeed one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world, a traditional well-known natural remedy for colds and the flu.
Its botanical name is Sambucus nigra.
It originates in Europe and later naturalized in areas of North America, especially the Northeast.
It has a long history of use to treat health conditions.
In 400 B.C., Hippocrates, the Greek physician known as “the Father of Medicine,” referred to the elderberry shrub as his “medicine chest.”
The Sambucus nigra variety is the most common type of elderberry, also known as European elderberry or black elderberry.
The berries are usually gathered and made into elderberry wine, jam, syrup, supplements, and pies.
Elderberries are high in vitamin C and are rich in antioxidants, which can help lower inflammation, treat colds and the flu, as well as cholesterol and blood pressure.
Our kitchen counter always has a bottle of elderberry syrup on it in the winter.
We all take a tablespoon of it as soon as we feel under the weather.
It's our secret weapon against colds.
I like to think of elderberry syrup as the same "magic medicine" that Mary Poppins used to give to the kids while singing "A Spoonful of Sugar".
It is quite sweet and delicious, and my kids not only don't mind taking it, but they actually look forward to it!
The only downside to keep in mind:
In certain areas, elderberry shrubs can be invasive, which is a minor thing, while a big FLAG goes up for raw elderberries.
** Elderberries MUST NOT be consumed raw because they are poisonous. **
Elderberry leaves, stems, and seeds contain a cyanogenic glycoside called sambunigrin, which is poisonous when raw.
Fortunately, cooking elderberries destroys the sambunigrin, making them safe to eat.
When cooking elderberries, it is important to heat them to at least 190 degrees Fahrenheit (88 degrees Celsius) for at least 10 minutes.
This will ensure that the sambunigrin is completely destroyed.
Make a good habit to keep a bottle of elderberry syrup in your pantry available for use for the entire family.
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