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By Crystal Baldwin, November 3, 2022
Hippocrates referred to the elder shrub as his "medicine chest" and for a good reason. The Elder Shrub provides two very powerful medicines that are perfect for winter health, cold & flu season!
The first is the beautiful, creamy white elder flowers that appear in the spring. Not only can you make the most amazing elder & lemon champagne when they appear, but you can also dry them for fantastic winter medicine.
These flowers are full of antioxidants and help modulate inflammation in the body, great to add as a daily tonic.
When the flu hits, reach for elderflower first. Elderflowers support the fever process by stimulating a healthy fever and gentle sweat which, allows the body to cool down. They work by allowing excess heat to escape through your capillaries by increasing peripheral circulation.
Although we often take medicines to reduce a fever, your body knows that a fever will help to kill the virus (they can't take the high temperature) and move the toxins from the virus out of your body faster. If you can hang in there with a slight fever and let your body do its job, you will shorten the length and severity of your illness. Elderflowers can help you feel better during that process.
Elderflower's will help in several different ways, besides helping along your fever, they will act as a mild diuretic (moving toxins out), they support the respiratory system and reduce a runny nose (catarrh) reducing sinus swelling.
A warning, elderflower looks similar to some of the very deadly and poisonous plants and flowers that are also growing wild. Be sure to always positively identify your plant and be sure you know what it is before picking or ingesting it. Taking a educated herbalist or wild food forager with you when you go picking is always a good idea.
So, how best to use elderflowers? The easiest way is to make a potent, medicinal tea.
1/4 - 1/2 Cup dried Elder Flowers
1 Tablespoon dried Peppermint (for cooling action and open sinuses)
1 Tablespoon dried Hibiscus or Rosehip flowers (high in vitamin C)
2 cups boiling water
Honey if desired
Directions: Place all of the herbs in a glass canning jar and pour 2 cups of boiling water overtop. Place the lid on the jar and give it a good shake. Let it steep for 20-30 minutes. Strain out the herbs and add honey if you would like, sip slowly. Keep refrigerated and warm gently on the stove as needed (don't microwave as you will kill all the wonderful nutrients in the tea). You can also leave your jar to steep overnight and strain and warm in the morning.
If you don't have all the herbs listed above, use what you have, even it is only the elderflowers they will be a great benefit. When re-heating with honey in the tea, do not let it heat above 104° or you will kill the beneficial bacteria and turn your honey into a toxic gue that sticks to your mucous membrane.
Now, lets talk about the benefits of elderberries...read more
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