Elderberries and their medicinal properties
Elderberries have been used since ancient times for their pleasant taste and beneficial properties. The berries we use are blue and ripe, the European ones, (Sambucus Nigra). They are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids like rutin and various anthocyanins which makes them a powerful antioxidant. Depending on the species, some will have tannins as well as traces of sambunigrin. Elderberries may be consumed only when ripe and cooked. The berries contain vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and sodium.
Elderberries have many benefits: they promote the immune system, have a cleansing effect by removing toxins and being a diuretic. When cooked as a jam, they also have a laxative effect thanks to their mucillage content. They have a proven anti-inflammatory effect and anticathartal property useful in the treatment of sinusitis, colds and catarrhs. Their anti-viral properties have been demonstrated many times in double-blind scientific studies on the relief of influenza symptoms when ingested as a syrup. They are also very tasty once cooked: so much so that they are used as a food flavouring.
Infusions are ideal with flowers as well as cordials ad jellies. The elderflowers as a tea are an effective blood purifier, excellent for liver cleansing. They have a diuretic effect. They also have anti-viral properties making them useful for the treatment of the common cold and flu. A tincture made with the flowers or a strong tea infusion can be applied with cotton to the eye lid to treat conjunctivitis, and the flowers can be applied as a cataplasm to reduce ear infections as well as localised infections (or spots!).
The leaves are not usually edible as they contain strong concentration of Hydrocyanic acid. They are useful for repelling mosquitoes, and sprayed onto garden plants they get rid of aphids and help avoid caterpillars. The bark has a similar effect.
In the U.S. , the University of Missouri in Columbia, is studying with farmers American Elder (Sambucus Canadensis) plantations for use in pharmacology. The university has also organised this year the first international symposium on elderberries.http://muconf.missouri.edu/ElderberrySymposium/DetailedProgram.pdf
Habitat of Elderberry
The elderberry grow on usually fertile, wet land, such as beside streams and in ditches. You will find them in gardens with an abundance of wild shrubs and water. The elderberry bushes are almost always divided into small well spaced groups and are almost always accompanied by nettles and brambles on the ground nearby. Berry picking depends on your latitude and the influence of microclimates. For example, in our area , the High Empurdan, the berries are ready in mid-July and I can pick them up to mid-August.
With elderberries we can also produce spirits, wine and jams. Only use blue and ripe berries. For almost 20 years, we have elaborated our jam recipe. As up to 80 % of our customers have never seen this jam before I decided to make this website to give all the necessary information about their virtues and their properties .
We respect these trees as they are a natural wonder .
This jam is slightly difficult to prepare as as the seed must be separated from the rest of the pulp. It also requires 2 cooking times . The first to blanch the fruit, enabling us to separate the seeds manually and then it is re-cooked with sugar and made into jam. This is why its price is higher than the other jams, but the end result is a delicious dish .Very good with toast bread for breakfast, yogourts, fresh chesse like mato and to acompany or decorate cakes.
We hope this page will have contained useful information.
Maria Sanchís Pagès
El Molí de Siurana