Traditional uses of elder

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Directory > Medicinal Trees > Traditional uses of elder

traditional uses of elder

Traditional uses of elder

Elder is a useful and commonly found tree that has been traditionally used for treating colds, flu and other infections. They can grow up to 15 meters tall, live for up to 60 years and can be found growing in woodlands and hedgerows.

  • Common name: Elder
  • Latin name: Sambucus nigra
  • Family: Adoxaceae

Parts used

  • Flowers and berries


  • Tannins, flavonoids, mucilage, triterpenes, sugars, cytokinins, vitamin C, bioflavonoids and anthocyanins.


  • Relaxant, anti-oxidant, adaptogen, decongestant, diuretic, immune stimulator, astringent, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and febrifuge.

Medicinal uses of elder

Traditional uses of elder include:

  • Colds and flu – decongestant and antimicrobial effects make elder a useful traditional remedy for coughs, colds, fevers, flu and catarrh
  • Immunity – antiviral and cytokinin effects in the berries help enhance immunity
  • Cholesterol – antiinflammatory and cholesterol-lowering effects are used in managing atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease
  • Heartburn and Gastritis – the antiinflammatory and antispasmodic effect of the flowers has traditionally made it useful in the treatment of heartburn, cholic and gastroenteritis


  • Elder leaves can cause photosensitivity
  • Consumption of the root, leaves or bark can induce vomiting

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