Elderberries: Properties and Benefits

The elder, Sambucus Nigra scientific name, is a plant belonging to the Caprifoliaceae family that grows throughout Europe, from the plains to mountain areas; the plant has the appearance of a shrub that does not exceed 4 meters in height. The flowers are very fragrant, are white cream and fruits instead have the appearance of small black berries.

The elder flowers are harvested in the spring, while the fruits are harvested from August to September; its name comes from the Greek word "dhows" that indicates a musical instrument. In fact, in the past, it was just the hollow branches of the elderberry plant that drew a kind of flute.

Attention:do not confuse the elder tree with other poisonous plants such as Sambucus ebulus, common shrub that stands out for its height arriving at the maximum of 1.5 meters.
Elderberries: Properties and benefits
Elderberries contain about 79 % water, 16 % carbohydrate, ash, protein, and fiber; as regards the mineral salts we have potassium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc and magnesium.

Interesting is the presence of vitamins and precisely we have: vitamin A, some B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6), and vitamin C present in discrete amounts.

A long list of amino acids present in the elderberries: glutamic acid, aspartic acid, alanine, arginine, cysteine, glycine, isoleucine, lysine, proline, serine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan and valine those present in greater quantities.

Benefits and Curative Properties of Elderberries

The elder is a plant characterized by many therapeutic properties and its use for that purpose goes back to ancient times; flowers, berries, leaves and bark are used for different purposes.
An infusion made with elder flowers has sweat properties and their use is recommended in the treatment of diseases related to the respiratory system; the tisane made from elderberries flowers is used to treat colds, coughs, asthma, and even rheumatism. Always flowers, thanks to the presence of flavones, produce benefits to the veins and circulatory apparatus in general.

Elderberries have instead mainly laxative and purgative properties while the bark is mainly used for diuretic purpose and in the treatment of neuralgia and cysts.

It seems that the decoction with flowers and elderberries together has curative and preventive properties against atherosclerosis; for the preparation boil 100 gr. of flowers and elderberries in two liters of water for about 20 minutes. Once cooled and filtered to drink a glass three times a day for three weeks.

Even in the case of dental abscess elderberries can be useful with its properties: it is sufficient to crush in a mortar, a handful of fresh leaves in conjunction with a tablespoon of vinegar and a pinch of salt and, through a gauze, apply on abscess for a couple of hours.
Do not use the fresh bark or unripe fruits as they contain hydrocyanic acid and can cause unpleasant ailments such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and, in some cases, breathing difficulty .

All parts of the plant, but especially the berries, if consumed in excessive amounts, can cause vomiting and pain in the abdomen.
Other Uses of Elderberries
The elder can help us in case of other diseases such as gout, hemorrhoids and tachycardia, here's how: for the tachycardia obtain 200 grams of second dried bark (the one that is under the gray exterior of the stem) and place to soak for a couple of days in a liter of red wine (preferably not poor quality); after filtering the whole let stand two days and then drink it two or three glasses a day to regulate the heartbeat.

A decoction of elder, obtained with the second cortex, on the other hand is indicated in the treatment of gout, the rate of two drinks per day.

For hemorrhoids is instead simply chop the fresh leaves and apply on the affected for at least 15 minutes.
Elderberries: Properties and benefits
Elderberries: Properties and benefits
Chemical Composition
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Elderberries and Calories
Every 100 grams of elderberries you have 73 calories.

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Elderberries: properties and benefits
Elderberries Curiosity
The elder flowers are also used to flavor some drinks and sweets in general.

In ancient times, the Germanic peoples used to crush the elderberries to get a dye with which they paint their bodies on special occasions such as hunting or war.

As evidence that the properties and benefits of elderberries on the human body were already known in ancient times we find mention in the works of several famous people such as Pliny the Elder, Hippocrates and Theophrastus.
Elderberry Juice Concentrate
The elderberries juice concentrate, obtained by pressing of selected berries, is rich in bioflavonoids and anthocyanins, substances possess antioxidant properties and therefore very useful for the health of the human body.

The juice contains vitamins, mineral salts, especially potassium, sugars (fructose) and amino acids.
Elderberries: properties and benefits
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