Elderberry: Ancient Elixir For Modern Times

As we meet flu season head on, consider the ancient apothecary remedy of Elderberry. Writes Ashleigh Sharman.

Coughs, sneezes and sniffles roam the streets and are coming right for your treatment room so it’s important to assist client health and wellbeing wherever possible.

Used since ancient Greece to help people recover from colds and influenza, the fruit of the European black elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) has held its place in folk medicine thanks to range of health benefits including alleviating symptoms of cold and flu and easing inflammation.

A foundation text of modern medical knowledge and wisdom surrounding the elderberry tree is The Anatomy of the Elder.

Written by German physician Martin Blochwich in 1629, the book was recently republished in English by BerryPharma, who produce elderberry extract.

“The Elderberry tree was an important part of everyday life ‘ one of the most valuable sources for medicine cabinets,” writes Anthony Jacobs and Fedrik Stipps in the book’s introduction.

“Doctors, apothecaries and village herbalists used the flowers, berries, leaves, bark, twigs, stems and roots for all sorts of applications and treatments. They were made into ointments, tinctures, wines, vinegar, conserves, extracts, syrups, salts, spirits and oils.

“Preparations from the elder were used for the treatment of many diseases including smallpox, plague, herpes, poisoning, fever, coughs, colds and flu. Even ‘melancholy’ could be lifted with an early morning glass of elderberry wine.”

We now know that elderberry contains powerful antioxidants called flavonoids, plus anthocyanin, tannins, amino acids, carotenoids, natural sugars, rutin, viburic acid, and vitamins A, B, and C – all ingredients thought to boost the immune system.

You’re not likely to find elderberries sitting on a supermarket shelf, however it’s an ingredient more common that you may realise.

elderberries“Eminence favours the use of elderberry in its collection of products designed for damaged or fragile skins – offering regeneration and moisturising benefits to ensure a strengthened, more comfortable, hydrated skin,” explains Tamara Eacott, director of Green Living Cosmetic,s the exclusive distributor of Eminence Organic Skin Care, whose Seven Herb Treatment makes the most of this humble berry.

Similarly, it’s an ingredient often found in herbal teas and could be the perfect means to keeping clients, and staff, at ease over flu season.

“Elderberries are a delicious immune tonic and cell protector famed for their anti-viral properties. With their colourful purple pigments, they’re also packed with antioxidants,” says Sebastian Pole, co-founder and master herbalist at Pukka, whose Elderberry & Echinacea tea contains a unique blend of 13 organic, cold-fighting fruit and herbs including elderberry, echinacea, acerola, rosehip and blackcurrant.

“Combined with echinacea, a renowned blood cleanser and also an immune tonic, it’s a stimulating tea that helps keep you warm and well in the cooler months.”

It was once believed that a goddess lived in the elder tree and decided your luck, prosperity, happiness and health, so who knows where dabbling in its fruit may take you this year.

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