Sambucus nigra


Hubpages. (2014). Gathering and Using Elderflowers to Make Lotions for Beautiful Skin and Healing Salves. Retrieved from:


Landscape Architect’s Pages. Sambucus nigra. (2011). Retrieved from:

Botanical Name: Sambucus nigra
Common name: Elder, Black Elder, Common Elder (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 400)
Family: Caprifoliaceae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580)
Parts used: Flower, berry, leaf (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580)



  • Triterpenes: ursolic acid, oleanolic acid,a- and b-amyrin, sterols
  • Fixed oils: linolenic and palmitic acids
  • Phenolic acids
  • Pectin


  • Triterpenes
  • Cyanogenetic glycosides: incl. sambunigrin
  • Flavonoids: kaempferol, quercetin and quercetin glycosides
  • Fatty acids
  • Alkanes
  • Tannins

(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580)




  • Purgative
  • Expectorant
  • Diuretic
  • Diaphoretic
  • Emollient
  • Vulnerary


  • Diaphoretic
  • Anticatarrhal
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiviral

Increases cytokin production, strengthens cells membranes, thus preventing virus penetration.


  • Diaphoretic
  • Diuretic
  • Laxative
  • Antirheumatic

(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580)




Used topically for bruises, sprains and wounds


Colds and influenza

Catarrhal inflammation of upper respiratory tract

Hay fever and sinusitis


Similar properties to the flower with added effectiveness in rheumatism (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580)


Preparation & Dosage

Elderflower tincture: (1:5 in 40%) 2-4mL/tds

Infusion: 1 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoons of fresh blossoms. Infuse for 10 mins and drink hot/tds.

Juice: Boil fresh berries in water for 2-3mins. Express juice. Add 1 part honey to 10parts juice. Bring to boil. One glass diluted with hot water/ bds

Ointment: Heat 3 parts fresh elder leaves with 6 parts melted vasoline until leaves are crisp. Strain and store.

(Hoffmann, 2003, pp. 580-581)


Cautions & Contradictions:

No side effects reported (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580). Tolerated in pregnancy in dietary amounts (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 402).



Combined in an infusion with St John’s wort and Soap wort root has been seen to exhibit antiviral activity against influenza in in vitro and in vivo. It has also shown to exhibit antiviral activity against herpres simplex type-I in vitro (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580).



Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs & Natural Supplements: An Evidence based Guide (3rd ed.). Chatswood NSW: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

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