Tag Archives: Sambucus

Sambucus Ebulus

Botanical Name :Sambucus Ebulus
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Sambucus
Species:S. ebulus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dipsacales
Synonyms: Danewort. Walewort. Blood Hilder.

Common Names: Danewort, dane weed, danesblood, dwarf elder or European dwarf elder, walewort, elderwort and blood hilder
(French) Hièble.
(German) Attichwurzel.

Habitat: Sambucus Ebulus is  native to southern and central Europe and southwest Asia.This species is found less frequently in hedges, but inclines to waste places, not infrequently among rubbish and the ruined foundations of old buildings. Gerard speaks of the ‘dwarf Elder’ growing ‘in untoiled places plentifully in the lane at Kilburne Abbey by London.‘ The celebrated natural historian of Selborne speaks of the Dwarf Elder as growing among the rubbish and ruined foundations of the Priory. Spots of equal interest with that of Selborne might be cited as favourite haunts of the Dwarf Elder. It grows profusely near Carisbrooke Castle, below the timeworn walls of Scarborough Castle, beside the old Roman Watling Street, where it is crossed by the footpath from Norton to Wilton, in Northamptonshire.

Its old names, Danewort and Walewort (wal-slaughter) are supposed to be traceable to an old belief that it sprang from the blood of slain Danes – it grows near Slaughterford in Wilts, that being the site of a great Danish battle. Another notion is that it was brought to England by the Danes and planted on the battlefields and graves of their slain countrymen. In Norfolk it still bears the name of Danewort and Blood Hilder (Blood Elder). In accounting for its English name, Sir J. E. Smith says: ‘Our ancestors evinced a just hatred of their brutal enemies, the Danes, in supposing the nauseous, fetid and noxious plant before us to have sprung from their blood.’


Sambucus Ebulus is  a Perennial plant, it grows to a height of 1–2 m and has erect, usually unbranched stems growing in large groups from an extensive  underground stem rhizome. The leaves are opposite, pinnate, 15–30 cm long, with 5-9 leaflets with a foetid smell. The stems terminate in a corymb 10–15 cm diameter with numerous white (occasionally pink) flat-topped hermaphroditeflowers. The fruit is a small glossy black berry 5–6 mm diameter. The ripe fruit give out a purple juice.


The name danewort comes from the belief that it only grows on the sites of battles that involved the Danes. The term ‘walewort’ or ‘walwort’ meant ‘foreigner plant.’ The plant’s stems and leaves turn red in autumn and this may explain the link with blood. The word Dane may link to an old term for diarrhoea

It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile.

Tolerates most soils, including chalk, but prefers a moist loamy soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates some shade but is best in a sunny position. Tolerates atmospheric pollution and coastal situations. A very invasive plant, sending up new shoots a metre or more away. It can be used for naturalising in the rougher parts of the garden, growing well on rough banks etc. The whole plant, when bruised, emits a most unpleasant fur-like smell. The bark, in particular, smells like stale perspiration.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, when it should germinate in early spring. Stored seed can be sown in the spring in a cold frame but will probably germinate better if it is given 2 months warm followed by 2 months cold stratification first. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If good growth is made, the young plants can be placed in their permanent positions during the early summer. Otherwise, either put them in a sheltered nursery bed, or keep them in their pots in a sheltered position and plant them out in spring of the following year. Division of suckers in spring or autumn. Very easy.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit.

Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit – cooked. It is used as a flavouring in soups etc. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter and is borne in large clusters. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Leaves are used as a tea substitute. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Leaves.

It is Antiphlogistic; Cholagogue; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Homeopathy; Poultice; Purgative.

The leaves are antiphlogistic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant and laxative. The fruit is also sometimes used, but it is less active than the leaves. The herb is commonly used in the treatment of liver and kidney complaints. When bruised and laid on boils and scalds, they have a healing effect. They can be made into a poultice for treating swellings and contusions. The leaves are harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use. The root is diaphoretic, mildly diuretic and a drastic purgative. Dried, then powdered and made into a tea, it is considered to be one of the best remedies for dropsy. It should only be used with expert supervision because it can cause nausea and vertigo. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh berries or the bark. It is used in the treatment of dropsy.

The fruits have been used in the traditional Austrian medicine for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract and fever.

The homoeopaths use a tincture from the fresh, root and a fluid extract is also prepared from it. It has sudorific, diuretic and alterative properties and is regarded as very valuable in dropsy, gravel and in suppression of urine. It is particularly recommended as a diuretic in dropsy, being more acceptable to the stomach than other remedies of the same class

Other Uses:
Dye; Ground cover; Hair; Ink; Repellent.

A blue dye and an ink are obtained from the fruit. The root juice is used to dye hair black. The leaves are said to repel mice and moles. Plants make a dense ground cover when spaced about 1 metre apart each way. They are best used in large areas, roadsides etc. Our experience to date (1995) is that the plants spread vigorously but do not form a dense cover and so do not exclude other plants.

Scented Plants
Plant: Crushed
The whole plant, when bruised, emits a most unpleasant fur-like smell. The bark, in particular, smells like stale perspiration.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the leaves and stems of some, if not all, members of this genus are poisonous. The fruit of this species has been known to cause stomach upsets to some people. Any toxin the fruit might contain is liable to be of very low toxicity and is destroyed when the fruit is cooked.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Sambucus nigra

Botanical Name : Sambucus nigra
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Sambucus
Species: S. nigra
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dipsacales

Common Names: elderberry, black elder, European elder, European elderberry and European black elderberry

Habitat :Sambucus nigra is native to most of Europe.It grows in a variety of conditions including both wet and dry fertile soils, primarily in sunny locations.

Sambucus nigra is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 6 m (20 ft) tall and wide[4] (rarely 10m tall). The bark, light grey when young, changes to a coarse grey outer bark with lengthwise furrowing. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, 10–30 cm long, pinnate with five to seven (rarely nine) leaflets, the leaflets 5–12 cm long and 3–5 cm broad, with a serrated margin.

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The hermaphrodite flowers are borne in large, flat corymbs 10–25 cm diameter in mid summer, the individual flowers ivory white, 5–6 mm diameter, with five petals; they are pollinated by flies.

The fruit is a glossy dark purple to black berry 3–5 mm diameter, produced in drooping clusters in late autumn; they are an important food for many fruit-eating birds, notably blackcaps.

There are several other closely related species, native to Asia and North America, which are similar, and sometimes treated as subspecies of Sambucus nigra. The blue or Mexican elderberry, Sambucus mexicana, is now generally treated as one or two subspecies of S. nigra ssp. canadensis and ssp. caerulea

Some selections and cultivars have variegated or coloured leaves and other distinctive qualities, and are grown as ornamental plants.

The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit:-
S. nigra ‘Aurea’
S. nigra ‘Laciniata’
S. nigra f. porphyrophylla ‘Gerda’ (syn. ‘Black beauty’)

Edible Uses:
The dark blue/purple berries can be eaten when fully ripe but are mildly poisonous in their unripe state.   All green parts of the plant are poisonous, containing cyanogenic glycosides (Vedel & Lange 1960). The berries are edible after cooking and can be used to make jam, jelly, chutney and Pontack sauce.

The flowerheads are commonly used in infusions, giving a very common refreshing drink in Northern Europe and Balkans. Commercially these are sold as elderflower cordial, etc. In Europe, the flowers are made into a syrup or cordial (in Romanian: Socat?, in Swedish: fläder(blom)saft), which is diluted with water before drinking. The popularity of this traditional drink has recently encouraged some commercial soft drink producers to introduce elderflower-flavoured drinks (Fanta Shokata, Freaky Fläder). The flowers can also be dipped into a light batter and then fried to make elderflower fritters. In Scandinavia and Germany, soup made from the elder berry (e.g. the German Fliederbeersuppe) is a traditional meal.

Both flowers and berries can be made into elderberry wine, and in Hungary an elderberry brandy is made that requires 50 kg of fruit to produce 1 litre of brandy. In south-western Sweden, it is traditional to make a snaps liqueur flavoured with elderflower. Elderflowers are also used in liqueurs such as St. Germain and a mildly alcoholic sparkling elderflower ‘champagne’.

In Beerse, Belgium, a variety of Jenever called Beers Vlierke is made from the berries.

Constituents:  flowers: small quantity of essential oil (containing palmitic, linoleic, and linolenic acids), triterpenes, flavonoids (including rutin), also pectin, mucilage, sugar. berries: sugar, fruit acids, vitamin c, bio-flavonoids. leaves: cyanogenic glycosides

Medicinal Uses:
Properties: * AntiCancer * AntiViral * Depurative * emetic
Parts Used: Flowers, berries

Used in the treatment of * Bronchitis * Colds * Congestion * Cough * Eyes/Vision * Flu * Sinus * Sore Throat

This plant is traditionally used as a medicinal plant by many native peoples and herbalists alike. Stembark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and root extracts are used to treat bronchitis, cough, upper respiratory cold infections, fever.

In a placebo-controlled, double-blind study, black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) was shown to be effective for treating Influenza B. People using the elderberry extract recovered much faster than those only on a placebo. The study was published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine.

A small study published in 2004 showed that 93% of flu patients given extract were completely symptom-free within two days; those taking a placebo recovered in about six days. This current study shows that it works for type A flu, reports lead researcher Erling Thom, with the University of Oslo in Norway. However, the study that showed these results was sponsored by an Israeli company that produces various black elderberry extracts.

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Elderberry flowers are sold in Ukrainian and Russian drugstores for relief of congestion, specifically as an expectorant to relieve dry cough and make it productive. The dried flowers are simmered for 15 minutes, the resulting flavorful and aromatic tea is poured through a coffee filter. Some individuals find it better hot, others cold, and some may experience an allergic reaction.

Leaves of the elder tree are used in an ointment that is a folk remedy for bruises, sprains, chilblains and hard-to-cure skin irritations. The flowers are used to make infusions to treat bronchitis and colds, and cooled elder flower tea is a soothing medicine for eye irritations, and of course, the tasty berries are used to make elderberry wine and cordials. Elderberries have had many traditional healing uses throughout the ages, and have been used for constipation, colic, diarrhea, colds and rheumatism.

The dried berries make a tart and tasty, purple elderberry tea that is a family favorite at my house, especially in the winter. Combines well with hot spicy accents like cinnamon and ginger for a good cold remedy.

Key actions: Flowers: expectorant, reduces phlegm, circulatory stimulant, promote sweating, diuretic, topically anti-inflammatory; Berries: promote sweating, diuretic, laxative; Bark: purgative, promotes vomiting, diuretic; topically–emollient. The berries help coughs, colic, sore throats, asthma and flu. A pinch of cinnamon makes the tea more warming. The berries have also been taken for rheumatism and erysipelas. They are mildly laxative and also help diarrhea.

The flowers are infused for fevers, eruptive skin conditions such as measles and severe bronchial and lung problems. The infusion is relaxing and produces a mild perspiration that helps to reduce fever. The flowering tops tone the mucous linings of the nose and throat, increasing their resistance to infection. They are prescribed for chronic congestion, allergies, ear infections and candidiasis. Infusions of the flowering tops and other herbs can reduce the severity of hay fever attacks if taken for some months before the onset of the hay fever season. A classic flu remedy is a mixture of elderflower, yarrow and peppermint teas.

By encouraging sweating and urine production, elder flowering tops promote the removal of waste products from the body and are of value in arthritic conditions.
The specific compounds in elder flowers have not been well established for the diuretic and laxative properties. The compound sambuculin A and a mixture of alpha- and beta-amyrin palmitate have been found to exhibit strong antihepatotoxic activity against liver damage induced experimentally by carbon tetrachloride.

The bark’s energetics are bitter and toxic. Only bark that has been aged for a year or more should be used or cyanide poisoning may result. The Western species are more toxic. This herb has two compounds that are active against flu viruses. It also prevents the virus from invading respiratory tract cells. A patented Israeli drug (Sambucol) that contains elderberry is active against various strains of viruses. It also stimulated the immune system and has shown some activity in preliminary trials against other viruses, such as Epstein-Barr, herpes and even HIV.

Other Uses: The strong-smelling foliage was used in the past, tied to a horse’s mane, to keep flies away while riding

Elder rates as fair to good forage for wild game such as mule deer, elk, sheep, and small non-game birds. It is classified as nesting habitat for many birds, including hummingbirds, warblers, and vireos. Elderberries are a favorite food for migrating Band-Tailed pigeons in Northern California, which may sometimes strip an entire bush in a short amount of time.

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It is also good cover for large and small mammals

Known Hazards: Elder is cited as a poisonous plant to mammals and as a weed in certain habitats. All parts of the plant except for the flowers and ripe berries (but including the ripe seeds) are poisonous, containing the cyanogenic glycoside sambunigrin (C14H17NO6, CAS number 99-19-4). The bark contains calcium oxalate crystals.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider




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Sambucus mexicana

Botanical Name : Sambucus mexicana
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Sambucus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dipsacales
Syn: Sambucus cerulea var. cerulea
Common Names: elder or elderberry,Elder, Mexican,Blue Elderberry

Habitat : The genus is native in temperate-to-subtropical regions of both the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. It is more widespread in the Northern Hemisphere; its Southern Hemisphere occurrence is restricted to parts of Australasia and South America.

Sambucus mexicana is a genus of between 5 and 30 species of shrubs or small trees.The leaves are pinnate with 5–9 leaflets (rarely 3 or 11). Each leaf is 5–30 cm (2.0–12 in) long, and the leaflets have serrated margins. They bear large clusters of small white or cream-colored flowers in late spring; these are followed by clusters of small black, blue-black, or red berries (rarely yellow or white).


Flowers are inflorescence more or less flat-topped, not pyramidal; white to cream petals. Fruits  are dark blue-black and strongly white glaucous, appearing blue and leaves are pinnately compound; leaflets serrate, 3 to 20 cm long

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the blossoms has been used in the treatment of upset stomachs, fevers, sore throats, colds and flu. A decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of constipation.  A widely used treatment for fever, combined with equal parts of Brook Mint or Pennyroyal as a tea.  A tea of the flowers and/or dried berries acts as a simple diuretic to treat water retention.  As a face wash for acne and pimples, use a tea of the flowers. Take as a tea up to 3 times a day.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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