You can use elderberry to fight off the flu, cold and sinus problems. It is for treatment, not prevention. You can also use elderberry to make wines that will treat arthritis, use the flowers of the bush or tree to make an antiseptic wash, or a salve to treat wounds. You can steep the flowers in a carrier oil that will treat sore muscles, and soothe burns (including sunburn) and rashes.
Learn about carrier oils HERE
It can be used to soothe upset stomachs or relieve gas, and is good for children in this respect as well.
Elderberries are high in Vitamin C which helps fight infections. The strong antiviral properties of the elderberry have been found to inhibit the H1N1 flu strain in vitro. (before it started) The extract has been compared to the prescription medication Tami-flu.
the flowers can also be used in skincare.
Learn about elderflower skin care and get some recipes HERE and HERE and HERE
The elderberry bush. You can find these growing wild sometimes.
The berry and leaves
Make elderberry syrup
Using the flowers-
HOW TO GATHER AND PREPARE THE FLOWERS
To gather the flowers, simply break off the clusters and toss them in a paper grocery sack. The single stem that supports the cluster will usually break off easily.
Once you are back home, you will need to remove the flowers from the stems. While this seems like a daunting task, there is an easy way to do this quickly.
Most clusters have a single stem from which five other stems branch. Take hold of the single stem and, holding the cluster upside-down, fold the flower clusters on the branching stems together and roll them between your hands over a large bowl. The flowers will rub off quickly and fall into the bowl. Individual flowers consist of five tiny petals joined together in a circle with an empty center.
Elderflower SalveIn this recipe I used a mixture of avocado and olive oil. You could use almond, sunflower, coconut, jojoba or a mixture of sunflower and cocoa butter (this will thicken automatically on cooling so don't add extra beeswax).
4 oz fresh elderflowers
1 small bottle of avocado oil plus enough olive oil to make up to around 8 fl ozs.
Place half the elderflowers in the inner pan of a double boiler and cover with the oil. Replace the lid firmly and place inside the other saucepan which is about half filled with water. Heat the external saucepan so that the water gently boils. Do not let the pan boil dry! Boil for about 2 hours, then remove the inner pan and strain off the oil, squeezing the elderflowers to remove as much oil as possible. Place the remainder of the elderflowers inside the inner pan and pour over the oil from the first infusion. Replace the lid firmly and heat for a further two hours. The infused oil will smell strongly of elderflowers.
Strain the oil into a heated glass bottle or jar and cap with a screw top lid. If using fresh herb, let the infused oil sit for about three days to make sure any water content separates out. Decant oil. If water drops are left in the infused oil it will go off more quickly. Label the oil with the name and date that you made it.
To turn the oil into a salve, grate 1oz beeswax into 8 fl. ozs. of the infused oil and heat gently until it melts. The easiest way to test the constituency of the salve is to drop a small amount of oil plus melted wax into a cup of cold water. It will cool and thicken immediately. Rub it between your fingers. If it's not thick enough, add more grated wax. Pour into small jars and seal. The salve should thicken on cooling and the colour often becomes lighter. Label and date.
To make a salve for bruises, you could use the same method of making a double infused oil and salve but substitute elder leaves or bark for the elder flowers and use either olive or sunflower oil as the infusion medium