What Does Elderberry Do

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The Elder plant may not rank among your top ten garden herbs, but its lovely flower tops and fruit can make it one of the most useful plants for the average household. So what does elderberry do? Their antioxidants, flavanoids, and vitamins found in berries and blossoms may strengthen the immune system and help prevent and lessen flu symptoms.

Whether you choose them to be an ornament to your landscape, provide nourishment to the birds and the bees or for creating medicinal recipes, you won’t be disappointed when you’re little one has the sniffles and you have a remedy to soothe his symptoms.

This plant is hearty and give back so much! 

Clusters of fresh dark purple colored elderberries with luscious healthy green foliage sits elegantly and overflows the rim of bowl.

What is Elder?

Sambucus nigra (Caprifoliaceae) is a European version of flowering plant and deciduous tree associated for its use in health and medicine.

There are many Elder plants, however, due to the powerful constituents this particular specie has to offer, Sambucus nigra is the most common used for medicinal purposes. Not only is this superfood used in vitamins and  supplements, but it is also used in a variety of recipes and other medicinal uses.

According to Chevallier (1), “ Ripe elderberries contain high levels of vitamin C, and contain strong antioxidants.” Research published in Journal of International Medical Research suggests that taking elderberry extract within the first 48 hours or less of onset of symptoms,  may decrease the duration of influenza and may help to be an effective treatment for cold and flu virus infections.  Elderberry extract is available as an over-the-counter remedy, and can safely be given to children.”

Key Constituents: What are the beneficial properties that makes up the parts used?

Berries (great for syrups, wine, and jams)

A zoomed in image of dehydrated elderberry fruit sitting against white background

Flowers (great for tea)

    • Anthocyanins
    • Mucilage
    • Flavonoids
    • Triterpenes
    • Tannins
Close up view of dried elderberry flower tops sitting inside a white bowl with green colored exterior

Practical Uses: What has the herbs been traditionally used and their current uses?

  1. Upper respiratory infections like common cold, flu, coughs due to their antiviral properties
  2. Reduces Congestion, chronic sinusitis infection
  3. Allergies, ear infections
  4. Mild laxative
Multiple images one of a female blowing her nose due to a congested nose, woman is covering her mouth and holding her chest while coughing, another woman is pressing her ear due to an ear ache, and woman sitting on a toilet hunch over using restroom

Key Actions: What roles does the herb have an effect to the body?

  1. Antiviral
  2. Immune-stimulating
  3. Diuretic (research indicates that elder plant makes you pee more)
  4. Increases Sweat (Diaphoretic)
Multiple images showing a woman sweating excessively, immune cells protecting as anti-vira properties, a human immune cell shooting out a boxing glove and a dog using the bathroom while holding the news paper

Safety Profiles: What cautionary implications should you be aware of?

Leaves, root, bark and unripe fruit can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and not recommended for internal use. The flowers and berries are mainly used for tea, syrups, and external applications such as creams,  cold face wash, baths, soak. The flowers of all true elders are safe for general consumptions and the leaves are quite harmless for external use only. The berries need to be cooked to reduce toxicity of the seeds. Do not eat raw berries as it can cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. (2)

Key Pointers


1.) Chevallier, A. (2016). Enclyclopedia Of Herbal Medicine: 550 Herbs and Remedies for Common Ailments (Third Edition). DK Penguin Random House.

2.) Tilgner, S, M. (2009). Herbal Medicine: From the Heart of the Earth (2nd edition). Malloy.

Interested in how you can turn this power packed with immune boosting herb into a recipe?

Try this fluffy, gluten free, coconut butter-soaked fancy blueberry pancakes with elderberry sauce.

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Stephanie & Henry

Stephanie & Henry

HENRY: Who doesn't love food? Especially, integrating herbal medicinal plants in them. I went to school to be a Naturopathic Doctor and now writing my knowledge about health and creating clean healthy recipes online.

STEPHANIE: I'm a Physical Therapist for 15+ years and have the privilege to help moms and their families thru implementing visceral manipulation, constructing pre & postnatal rehab plans and creating educational exercise tutorials online. We're very pleased to have you here.

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Laura Ensign

Finally a pancake and syrup i can eat without feeling guilty

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Stephanie & Henry Magno

Food & Fitness Blogger

Welcome to the Radiant Bump Way blog! We are a husband and wife team and are extremely passionate about family, health and healing.  We have been in the pits of ill health ourselves, floundering to figure out what was wrong and we don’t want that to happen to you! Read on for everything health and healing for moms and their families. 

Stephanie Magno \ Henry Magno

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