Plants and People Project

Elderberry - Sambucus candensis L.

American Indians made medicines from the leaves, bark and the dried flowers. They also used the hollow branches to make whistles and flutes.

Cooked elderberries are used to make jam. Elderberry syrup recipe.

A blue-gray dye is obtained from the berries of Sambucus nigra. Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing

"In European folklore, fairies and elves would appear if you sat underneath an elder bush on midsummer night. The lovely elder possessed potent magic, with the ability to drive away witches, and kill serpents. Carrying the twigs in your pocket was a charm against certain diseases. One of these tales bears some truth: Sleeping under the elder supposedly produces a drugged, dream-filled sleep—the fragrance is actually a mildly sedative." Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants

Some authors say the unripe berries, bark, root and leaves are reputed to contain the poison - cyanide.

The leaves and berries are a source of pink, violet, blue-gray
Pale green, gold and olive green dyes. The Herb Companion

The elderberry provides "Flowers for insects and berries for over 40 bird species, as well as the wood and box turtle, rabbit, squirrel, and chipmunks." Three Rivers Habitat Partnership

close up of elderberry flowers

DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past. Be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

Identification and facts / More facts / Further Facts


elferberry bush in bloom

Elderberry fruits

Elderberry fruits

green right facing arrow. Next Plant green right facing arrow. Plants & People Index

green ivy rule

Internet Hunts / Nature / Computers / Puzzles & Projects / Problem based Learning / Site map / Home

All trademarks, copyright and logos belong to their respective owners.
Posted 7/24/05 Cindy O'Hora