Elderberry Herb – Uses And Side Effects


People once used elderberry as an insect repellent, placing sprays of the flower In horses’ bridles or adding powdered flowers to water and dabbing it on the skin. Some people mix elderberry with sage, lemon juice, vinegar, and honey to use as a gargle. Elderberry juice has been used In hair dye and scented ointments. Children sometimes make pipes or pea-shooters from the hollowed stems of the elder sometimes suffering cyanide poisoning as a result.

Elderberry, is small tree that grows to 12 feet and is native to North America. The European elder (nigra) grows to 30 feet, is found throughout Europe, Asia, North Africa, and has been naturalized in the United States. The tree has been called “the medicine chest of the common people. Several trees and shrubs of the Sambucus species, such as S. nigra and S. canadensis, produce elderberries. Herbalists typically use the flowers and berries, probably because the inner bark and leaves contain most of the potentially poisonous substances.

Common doses of elderberry

Elderberry comes as:

  • ointments and aqueous solutions of the bark and leaves
  • oils
  • solutions
  • Wine

Experts disagree on what dose to take.

Therapeutic actions of the elder plant include:

An astringent, immuno-stimulant, emetic, expectorant, diaphoretic, laxative, diuretic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory.

Serve it Hot for: Colds, sore throat, fever and flu.
Serve it Cold for: spring tonics, blood purifiers and diuretics.

Uses elderberry herb in following disorders:-

Side effects of elderberry

Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of elderberry:

  • diarrhea (from S. ebulus berries or leaves of any Sambucus species)
  • vomiting (from eating a lot of S. racemosa berries.

Ingesting the bark, roots, leaves, or unripe berries of the elderberry plant can cause cyanide poisoning.


Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Tell your health care practitioner about any prescription or nonprescription drugs you’re taking.

Important points to remember

  • Use elderberry products with caution because of the risk of cyanide poisoning.
  • Never eat the plant’s leaves, stems, or green parts. They’re poisonous.
  • Don’t use this herb if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Avoid anything made with berries of the dwarf elder (S. ebulus), thought to be especially poisonous. Large doses can cause vertigo, vomiting, and diarrhea (symptoms of cyanide poisoning).
  • Never eat uncooked elderberries because of the risk of cyanide poisoning.
  • Know that eating 60 milligrams of cyanide has caused death. Keep the elderberry plant away from children and pets, and have the telephone number for the nearest poison control center handy.

What the research shows

Medical experts don’t recommend using elderberry products as laxatives because of the risk of cyanide poisoning. Besides, many safe, effective laxatives and cathartics are available. The same is true for the other conditions for which elderberries have been used. For instance, many proven anti-inflammatory products are available to treat rheumatism symptoms.

Other names for elderberry : –

Other names for elderberry include antelope brush (Sambucus tridentata), black elder (S. nigra),blue elderberry (S.caerulea), boretree, common elder (8. canadensis), danewort (S. ebulus), dwarf elder, elder, European elder, pipe tree, red elderberry, redfruited elder (S. pubens,S. racemosa), Sambucus, and sweet elder.

Products containing elderberry are sold under such names as Elderberry Power and Elder Flowers.

Useful References

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