Elder Berry – Sambucus canadensis
Elderberry is a small shrub, native to the Eastern Woodlands of Ontario, Canada. It grows prolifically in marsh lands, open fields and light forests. You will often see it along road sides growing as a common weed. This spectacular shrub is not a weed at all! The pioneers in this area of Ontario would plant an elder beside their door because the entire plant is so beneficial medicinally. This was also the practice in European countries where elder has been used for centuries and is still one of the most common herbs used medicinally.
“In the good old times the elder bush stood nearest to the house, but now it is in many ways displaced and rooted up. It ought to stand near every house as part of the household, as it were; or if cast aside it should be brought back to its post of honour, for every part of the elder tree, leaves, blossoms, bark, and roots are all efficacious remedies.” Father Kniepp
Grown in my medicinal garden and sustainably harvested.
I grow elderberries on my property in Lakefield, Ontario. I use the flowers and leaves to make several skin applications. I use the berries to make traditional elderberry syrup, elixir and tinctures.
I used to wild gather most of my berries and flowers, but with the trendiness of wild food and medicine growing, I feel it is important to use more sustainable practices. I now supplement my use of berries by buying dry, organic berries which are sustainably grown and gathered. It is my hope to one day have enough elders growing in my garden to sustain my small business.
How to use Elderberry Syrup
As soon as you feel a symptom coming on, take a tsp of elderberry syrup and continue taking a tsp every 15 minutes or so until the symptom disappears. This may seem extravagant, but the timing is based on the fact that elderberry stops the cold and flu virus from penetrating our cells and replicating, which happens generally around every 20 minutes. So, at the onset of symptoms it is a good strategy to take small amounts often.
I also recommend for cold and flu to put on a warm hat and scarf, (the cold and flu virus’ love 98 degrees, they thrive at our body temperature. Raise the heat to slow it down (hence the bodies immune response of a fever) Drink lots of water and get yourself to bed and rest as much as possible. Take 5,000 – 10,000 IU of vitamin d daily and take small amounts of elderberry syrup throughout the day.
Elderberry is clinically proven to shorten the duration of colds and flu.
Elderberry has been studied scientifically since the 1990’s with placebo controlled, double blind trials. The patients receiving the elderberry medicine recovered much faster than the patients taking the placebo. Often recovering in two days compared to the six days the placebo patients took to recover. (Foret)
How to store Elderberry Syrup
Sweet Song Elderberry Syrup must be kept in the refrigerator even before opening and will last for one year or more.
You can find my Elderberry Syrup at :
The Lakefield Pantry on Queen St in Lakefield, ON
Watson and Lou on Water St in Peterborough, ON
The Peterborough Farmers Market on Landsdowne St on Saturdays all year round.
- Hutchens, Alma R. Indian Herbology of North America. Merco, Windsor, Ontario.1973. Library Catalog Number: 615.321.RS 164
- MacKinnon, Andrew, Kershaw, Linda, Arnason, John, Owen, Patrick, Karst, Amanda, Hamersly Chambers, Fiona. Edible and Medicinal Plants of Canada. Partners Publishing and Lone Pine Media Productions (B.C.) Ltd. 2014. ISBN: 978-1-77213-002-7
- Weiner, Michael A. Earth Medicine- Earth Foods, Plant Remedies, Drugs and Natural Foods of the North American Indians. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc, New York, New York. 1972. Library of Congress Number: 73-167802
- Wood, Matthew. The Earthwise Herbal A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California. 2009. ISBN: 978-1-55643-779-3
- botanical.com – A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve
- Zakay-Rones, Zichria, Noemi Varsano, Moshe Zlotnik, Orly Manor, Liora Regev, Miriam Schlesinger, and Madeleine Mumcuoglu. “Inhibition of Several Strains of Influenza Virus in Vitro and Reduction of Symptoms by an Elderberry Extract (Sambucus Nigra L.) during an Outbreak of Influenza B Panama.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 1, no. 4 (1995): 361–69. doi:10.1089/acm.1995.1.361