Medicinal Trees: Elder – Good Witches Homestead

Elder {Sambucus nigra}

Also, Known As:

  • Bourtree
  • Elder
  • Elder-berry
  • Elder-flower
  • European Elder
  • Pipe Tree

The plant called the elder is used to describe a bushy shrub like plant that can reach a few feet in height as shrub-like forms normally do or it may be referring to a tree reaching up to fifty feet in height – the elderberries which are borne on both types of plants range and differ markedly in the shape and taste. The flowers are usually formed in aromatic clusters of many star-shaped and white colored flowers, which can vary from bunches with flat-topped to the globular types of arrangement. When ripened, these will mature to produce berrylike and limb sagging fruits which can range in color from stark blue to an amber, and even red to a complete black – the variation in the taste of these elderberries is also markedly different.

The long and hollow stems which tend to be very straight were used by the early Native American tribes for making arrow shafts as such stems become woodier with age, such stems were particularly selected during the springtime, they were typically then left to dry with their leaves still on them to be turned into arrows. The native tribes also used the woody stems for other purposes, and they often took out the soft and poisonous pith within the stem using hot sticks, these were sometimes employed as spouts to collect maple sap and the sap of other resinous trees. Such stems were often also bored with holes and fashioned into flutes for making music. One reason, the elder is often called the “tree of music” lies in its use in this role, even though its main uses was as an herbal medication. The elder stems were also turned into animal bugles to pipe elk like sounds and some traditional native hunters still reliant on the old ways of tracking game have often used the stem to bugle elk-thus the elderberry stem whistle has often been employed to successfully lure a handsome elk buck during a hunt. The areas in which the elderberry plant is likely to grow includes very rich and moist soils, especially those soils found in heavily forested areas, the plant also grows well in the soils in rocky slopes and often prefers soils in cool ravines which are heavy in moisture. The plant is considered a native inhabitant of both hemispheres and grows mostly in the temperate and subtropical regions of the world.

The elderberry is actually a drupe which is berrylike in appearance; the elderberry consists of three to five single-seeded nut – lets or stones in the fruiting body. Traditionally, eating too many berries is believed to cause digestive problems and the traditional wisdom suggests that only a few berries can be eaten raw at any one time so as to avoid disrupting the stomach. The taste of the elderberries is not remarkable and the taste is better when they are taken along with other edible berries, raw berries are not preferred by people and in general, the berries are much better to eat in the dried or cooked form. The elderberries are used as a decongestant and in the treatment of some conditions which can induce the excessive accumulation of mucus within the lungs of the affected person. These include disorders such as common asthma, problems such as bronchitis, the common cold, diseases such as influenza. In addition, phlegm production is also induced by smoking or the inhalation of second-hand smoke. The elimination of such accumulated yellow or green mucus from the body is aided by drinking some fresh elderberry juice, particularly the juice of the red drupes – this herbal remedy is excellent for the removal of excess mucus in the respiratory passages.

Plant Parts Used:

Flowers, berries, bark. […]

Source: Medicinal Trees: Elder – Good Witches Homestead

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s