Elderberry is a relatively well-known herb, used by many herbalists, and one which you can find in various concoctions being sold in stores, farmers markets, herb shops, and at Mushroom Revival! Elderberry is added to honey, syrups, tinctures, teas, and even used in recipes. Benefits of elderberry not only include its versatility and abundance in nature, but it also tastes good (while many mushrooms and herbs are beneficial, some aren't always known for their delicious flavor). Elderberry is particularly excellent because it is one of those great tasting herbs.*
Elderberry is a North American native plant, growing east of the Rocky Mountains as well as in Mexico and Central America. Elderberry grows as a tall but shrubby tree, with gray to brown bark that is smooth when the plant is young, and becomes rough as it ages; the leaves are pinnate with five to nine dark green, serrated leaflets. Some more identifiable characteristics of this plant are its flowers and berries. The flowers have five stamens and five small white petals. The flowers produce the dark berries in late summer. The berries are blue-black and grow in clusters that are droopy, held on by reddish stems. (1) While both the flowers and berries are safe to consume, the rest of the plant is inedible. (4)
The Ecological Benefits of Elderberry
The benefits of Elderberry extend not just to humans*, but also to its surroundings and ecosystem. For instance, Elderberry is greatly valuable to wildlife: rodents, bears, birds, deer and moose all feed in the berries and/or leaves. Another benefit is that it provides shelter for animals and also protects banks from erosion. All of these ecological benefits are important to understand to get a full appreciation for this plant, but there are also some potential benefits of Elderberry for us directly!(2)*
The benefits of Elderberry for humans come from the entire plant, the wood has traditionally been used for pegs, spindles, or arrow shafts, whistles, and flutes. An additional benefit of elderberry is the beautiful color the berries produce, which can be used as a natural dye! (2) Some more benefits of Elderberry include the support it may offer our bodies.*
The Benefits of Elderberry for Humans*
First of all, Elderberries contain flavonoids, specifically anthocyanins, which are the pigments that give the berries their specific color. These compounds may support the body's response to oxidation.(3)* Furthermore, Elderberries contain essential fatty acids which promote healthy skin and support the cardiovascular system.(6) * In addition to the support the pigments and the fatty acids promote, the energetic properties of Elderberry also influence its benefits.*
Another benefit of Elderberry is that it may also support the immune system.(3) * Supporting your body in this way is excellent year round, as well as during specific times where your body might benefit from more encouragement.* When you are in a situation where you are busy and do not want to be inconvenienced (during travel, for example) Elderberry could be a great companion because it may promote your immune system just in time, allowing you to keep feeling great for any opportunity that may come your way.(4)*
After reading this you can see for yourself that there are many benefits of Elderberry, and it is no wonder this herb has been used throughout history and continues to be important to people, animals, and the environment today. After you spend some more time looking at field guides or other plant identification resources, you may be able to gather Elderberries yourself and make delicious concoctions to try (consult with an experienced botanist before harvesting). Doing this yourself can be a great way to connect with the plant and learn in the process. In addition to working with Elderberry in this way, purchasing a tincture is a great way to get to know elderberry for yourself. Elderberry only fruits for a short period of time, and if you are wanting to make sure you have some handy whenever it appeals to you then you can get a tincture containing elderberry right here from Mushroom Revival. The Mushroom Mix Daily 10 contains a variety of functional mushrooms as well as Elderberry to provide extra support.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
4.) Rosalee de La Forêt, and Emily Han. Wild Remedies: How to Forage Healing Foods and Craft Your Own Herbal Medicine. Hay House, Inc., 2020.
6.) Rosemary Gladstar: Rosemary Gladstar's family herbal: a guide to living life with energy, health, and vitality. Storey Books, 2001.