Medicinal properties of black elderberry
Several years ago I bought a seedling from an amateur gardener black elderberry... He called her "heart berry". Bearing in mind the healing properties of the plant, the gardener, without suspecting it, got to the point: the elderberry won my heart. Don't ask why. Love for a particular plant is as difficult to explain as love itself. This feeling is irrational. Over the years, my unaccountable love for the elder did not pass, but only strengthened, enriched with knowledge about this beautiful plant.
Black elderberry, it turns out, has a lot of medicinal properties, is used in cooking and even has magical powers.
The elder grew quickly, but in winter it froze out. Looking at the dry bare stems of a plant in spring, I was distressed, but, like a Phoenix bird, the bush rose from the dead, giving young shoots. Last season, my favorite gave me a particularly lush flowering and generous harvest of berries.
In our zone, several types of elderberry are cultivated, including the black elderberry, which is very similar to the black elderberry, which is distinguished by its frost resistance. In total, the elderberry genus, belonging to the honeysuckle family, has about 40 species!
Black elderberry grows on loose, nutritious, moist soils, in illuminated places. It is a honey plant. On the contrary, harmful insects frightens off, including from neighboring plants. My elderberry grows next to a plum that was planted at the same time as it, and it has never been affected by pests. Apparently, due to the deterrent properties of the neighbor. In the literature it is said that the elderberry itself is attacked by the elder miner fly and leaf mite, but I have never met such.
It was not possible to test elderberry branches in the fight against mice for lack of a cellar, where they could exterminate stocks. Cellar owners should try to protect themselves from gluttonous rodents with elderberry branches. They write that mice are incompatible with elderberry.
My elderberry blooms in July. Creamy white flowers, collected in large flat corymbose-paniculate inflorescences, resemble lace made by a skilled craftswoman. And this beauty, imagine, is also an exquisite delicacy.
You can make a refreshing drink from the flowers: put 20 black elderberry inflorescences and 3 lemons cut into circles in an earthenware dish, add water and let it brew for three days. Then strain and add sugar or honey.
You can sprinkle the flowers of one inflorescence on an open gooseberry pie. Fortunately, by the time the elderberry blossoms, early varieties of this berry shrub ripen. I borrowed the recipe for the next dish from literature.
350 g of flour is mixed with 50 g of oatmeal, 2 eggs, 50 g of butter, a pinch of salt. Add 20 g of yeast dissolved in 100 ml of warm milk. The dough is kneaded and placed in a warm place.
1 kg of washed and sorted gooseberries are mixed with 100 g of powdered sugar. The dough that has come up is rolled out to the thickness of a finger and laid out on a greased mold. Berries are laid out on top, which are sprinkled with flowers from one inflorescence of black elderberry.
Mix 100 g of butter with 50 g of icing sugar and place in the freezer. When it hardens, grate and sprinkle on the cake.
Bake for half an hour at 190 degrees.
Everything in black elderberry is edible and medicinal. Young leaves are used to make salads. The beneficial properties of black elderberry allow it to be used for medical and cosmetic purposes.
Flowers contain diaphoretic glycosoid, flafon glycosoid rutin, essential oil, choline, coffee, malic, valeric acids.
Berries contain glucose and fructose, tannins, vitamin C, large amounts of potassium, carotene, ascorbic acid, amino acids.
Leaves and flowers have a diaphoretic, antipyretic, sedative, diuretic, astringent effect.
Various parts of elderberry are used as a diaphoretic, diuretic, mild laxative, anti-inflammatory, and disinfectant.
• Infusion of flowers is used for chronic inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and colds.
• It is used as an additional remedy in the treatment of rheumatism, tonsillitis, flu, gout, arthritis. Pour one tablespoon of raw materials with a glass of hot water and simmer for 15 minutes, cool and squeeze. Take half a cup warm 2-3 times a day before meals.
• In case of inflammation of the joints and muscles, neuralgia, a mixture of elderberry and chamomile flowers (in equal parts) is scalded with boiling water and poultices are made with them.
• For edema of the kidneys, an infusion of bark and berries is recommended.
• Leaves are used for burns, furunculosis, diaper rash, inflammation of hemorrhoids. To do this, the leaves are steamed and applied to the inflamed areas.
• From the flowers of elderberry, you can prepare a lotion for the face: pour 10 inflorescences with half a liter of boiling water and leave for a day. Filter and refrigerate. The action of the lotion is especially effective on the delicate skin around the eyes.
Since ancient times, black elderberry is considered a sacred plant that prolongs life. According to ancient beliefs, guardian angels of the hearth live in its branches. That is why it is advisable to plant it next to the house. It is believed that the elderberry has magical powers that can protect against witchcraft. Fragrant inflorescences can be dried in the shade, and filled in fabric bags, stored in the house.
Possession of these riches costs practically nothing. Black elderberry is unpretentious. It is enough to plant it in your garden in the right place and enjoy life.
What is the danger of the plant?
Before starting treatment with elderberry, you should be aware of the dangers. Particular attention should be paid to the quality of raw materials. Not only the effect, but also human health depends on the freshness of the berries. Inappropriate raw materials can even lead to death. This is due to the fact that ripe fruits contain a certain percentage of such a substance as sambunigrin. It is a highly toxic compound that releases cyanide during decomposition. It is he who negatively affects the work of the central nervous system.
If taken incorrectly, it can be observed:
- increased blood sugar
- pressure drop
- change in indicators of biochemical blood test
It is also forbidden to use elderberry and preparations based on it for young mothers who are breastfeeding. Particular attention should be paid to the treatment of children under 12 years of age. In this case, the reception of infusions must be strictly controlled, and it is better to consult a doctor before taking them.
When eaten fresh, vomiting may occur.
You should not eat fruits and drink decoctions for those who have been diagnosed with stomach ulcers. Elderberry is also dangerous for people with diabetes mellitus.
Despite all the medicinal properties of elderberry, it must be used in certain doses. Only in this way can you achieve what you want and not aggravate the condition.
Red and black
The first thing is important: do not confuse elderberry red and black... Although they are relatives, their properties are very different.
Elderberry red (S. racemosa) is slightly poisonous and is not used for medicinal purposes. In the old days, a dye for canvas was made from it and berries were used to clean copper dishes - pots and samovars. Elderberry is also known as a remedy for rodents: its branches have an unpleasant odor that frightens off mice and rats. True, experienced summer residents question this method.
And here black elderberry (S. nigra) Is a recognized medicinal plant. Traditional medicine uses its bark and young shoots, leaves, flowers and fruits to treat various diseases.
Medicinal properties of black elderberry
The therapeutic effect of elderberry preparations on the human body depends on the part of the plant that is used.
- Elderberry flowers have a diuretic, laxative, diaphoretic, expectorant and anti-febrile effect. Medicines made from flowers regulate carbohydrate metabolism, lower blood sugar levels, and have disinfecting and astringent properties. Due to their rutin content, they reduce the permeability of the blood vessel walls.
- The leaves and bark of the plant have a laxative, choleretic effect, improve metabolism and are used in the treatment of obesity. Also, their use is effective for various skin diseases, joint diseases, low hemoglobin.
- The bark is used to treat diabetes mellitus and various renal pathologies.
- Elderberry fruit has a beneficial effect on the work of the digestive system, stimulating bile secretion and bowel movement. Also, the use of fresh berries is recommended for joint diseases and salt deposition.
Elderberry black contraindications
While elderberry has some promising potential benefits, there are also some dangers associated with consuming it.
Elderberry is practically safe when used in the recommended doses.
Elderberry leaves, unripe berries and seeds are highly poisonous and strictly prohibited for use.
The bark contains small amounts of substances known as lectins, which can cause stomach problems if consumed too much.
Fresh leaves and flowers applied to the skin cause severe irritation and rashes.
In addition, the elderberry plant contains substances called cyanogenic glycosides, which in some cases can release cyanide. This toxin is also found in apricot seeds and almonds.
There is 3 mg of cyanide per 100 g of fresh berries and 3–17 mg per 100 g of fresh leaves. This is only 3% of the estimated lethal dose for a person weighing 60 kg.
However, commercial drugs and cooked berries do not contain cyanide, so there are no reports of deaths from their use. Symptoms of eating raw berries, leaves, bark, or elderberry roots include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Fortunately, the toxins in berries can be safely removed by cooking. However, branches, bark, or leaves should not be used in cooking or juicing.
If you are picking flowers or berries yourself, make sure you identify the elderberry plant correctly, as other types of elderberry can be more toxic. Also, be sure to remove any bark or leaves before using.
Elderberry is not recommended for children and adolescents under the age of 18, as well as for pregnant and lactating women. Although no side effects were reported in these groups, there is insufficient data to support its safety.
Ways of using drugs from black elderberry
Decoction of flowers black elderberry (in all cases) or one tablespoon of flowers per glass of boiling water, use 1/4 cup inside (preferably with honey) three to four times a day 15 minutes before meals.
Leaves and roots Black elderberries are also boiled and consumed one tablespoon 3 times a day. When boiling the leaves in honey, add one teaspoon of honey to one glass of the broth.
You should remember about the moderate toxicity of black elderberry and carefully dose medicinal raw materials when preparing preparations from elderberry.
Elderberry is moderately toxic to mammals, so do not overuse drugs. Photo: Vitality Integrative Care
Berries used in the form of tea, jelly, jam or steamed and syrup. Berry syrup is prepared as follows: juice is squeezed out of steamed berries, mixed with ready-made sugar syrup and boiled.
Root (without other parts of the plant) is rarely boiled, and if a decoction is prepared from it, then in the same way as from the leaves.
Bark (from young shoots) for internal use is boiled like this: they take chopped bark (and powder from the bark - 2 cups of boiling water, soar in the oven for hours (and the powder - for and use half a cup once a day) (this is especially useful when starting dropsy).
Hemp milk, used with black elderberry bark for external use, is prepared as follows: well-pounded hemp seed is poured with boiling water (one part of the water is taken into two parts of the seed), squeezed under a press and, while it is still hot, the elderberry bark is scalded with it (for anti-phlegm lotions) ...