Elder Tree

A Few Facts About The Elder Tree

The elder tree is often called a sambucus and it is placed in the honeysuckle family.   The elder tree has clusters of white or cream colored flowers that generally bloom in the late spring.  Once these clusters are gone, the elder tree will produce small berries that may vary in color between black, blue-black or red.  The flowers of the tree do have a use as they are used to make elderflower liqueur.  Likewise, the berries can be used to make wine or jelly.

When looking for information on the elder tree, keep in mind that there are numerous different species or groups that may be researched.  The tree can be found in the northern and southern hemispheres of the world.  The species or groups of the elder tree vary depending on what part of the world you are in.  Also, the types of berries that are found on the tree also changes based on where you are at.  For example, the red-berried tree is generally found in the colder parts of the northern hemisphere.  This group of elder tree is small like a shrub.  The European Dwarf Elder is found in parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia and its berries are black.


It has been discovered that the elder tree may have medicinal purposes as well.  Studies have found that it may help cure Influenza B and it is believed that the antioxidants in the tree may help stimulate the human immune system.  If you take the time to explore and look at what constitutes the elder tree, it is easy to see that it may have several positive benefits.   This tree has vitamins A, B, and C within its berries.  They also contain amino acids and carotenoids.  The leaves also contain vitamin C.  Elder flowers can be used to build human blood and repair damage blood vessel walls.   They can also be used to help treat epilepsy.  The berries can be a benefit to individuals who have nerve disorders, are constipated or have irritated intestines.  Individuals who suffer from arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, or a sore throat may find relief from symptoms with the help of the tree and its berries.  This may be why the tree has been called the medicine chest of the common people.  Elder tree leaves have health benefits also.  They can help with kidney or urinary problems as they help eliminate waste water from the body.  Cosmetic purposed have also been found for the elder tree.  For example, Egyptians found that the flowers of the tree could help improve ones complexion and gypsies would use them as eyewash.    

The elder tree is surrounded by folklore as well.  In Ireland, it is thought to be very sacred and it is forbidden for anyone to even break a branch or twig that is on the tree.  Also, in Denmark there was a fear of an Elder-mother who lived in the trunk of the tree.  This was a common belief in Eastern England also and it kept many from cutting down an elder tree.  It was believed that if the tree were cut, you would be cutting the Elder-mother and she would bleed.  It is also believed that Judas hung himself from an elder tree and Shakespeare referred to it as a symbol of grief.  Ironically though, it can be used at weddings to bring the bride and groom good luck.  Those who practice Wicca believe that if you scatter the leaves in the wind it will provide you with protection.