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Black elderberry: useful properties and contraindications

Elderberry is a unique berry. The plant is unpretentious with regard to habitat conditions, most often grows in the wild. The fruit is endowed with useful substances that are incredibly beneficial for the human body. From this culture you can make a delicious jam, which also helps people to overcome various diseases. Useful qualities have not only the fruit, but also inflorescences, leaves and bark.

What does elderberry look like and where does it grow

This crop is a small tree or bush, on which there are bunches of black berries. The height of such a plant is usually 2-5 m, sometimes it can grow up to 10 m in height. The leaves are small, with 3 to 5 leaves on each branch, which have a yellow or greenish tint. The crop blooms in late spring or early summer.

The benefits and harms of elderberry

Trees with black and red fruits are common in nature. The flesh is reddish in color. One berry contains 4-5 small pips. Full ripening of the fruit lasts about a month - from the end of August to mid-October. The plant is characterized by a rather unpleasant aroma, thanks to which it is not touched by the inhabitants of the forest.

Most often the culture grows in subtropical regions where temperate climatic conditions prevail. Thus, Elderberry can be found in Russia, the USA, Africa and Ukraine. The shrub grows on edges, along roads, as well as in thickets and in desert areas.


Otherwise, elderberry is called sambucus. It has about four dozen varieties, but only about ten species grow in the conditions of the average strip. In gardens, however, only three species of elderberry can be found most often - red, black and American. All of these plants like fertile and moist terrain. They can also grow in the penumbra, but they live best in sunny areas. Elderberry can be cut, so it is often used in landscaping. In addition, there are now many varieties with original leaves of different colors and beautiful inflorescences.

Black elderberry is a small-sized tree, which height can be 4 m. It has large leaves and its inflorescences are greenish-yellow. Flowering plant from May to June. Fruits of the crop are edible, characterized by their black coloring, appear in late summer and early fall. Some varieties produce greenish berries. The wild variety of black elderberry is frost-resistant. As for ornamental shrubs with red and yellow leaves, they very often freeze if they are not properly taken care of.

Also red elderberry is common in the middle belt. In late spring, paniculate inflorescences appear, which do not have any odor. Closer to the fall, red berries appear instead. The fruits of this variety are poisonous and should not be eaten.

Canadian or American species can grow up to 3 m. Externally, this variety is similar to the black elderberry, but differs in its resistance to various weather phenomena of the middle zone. The plant blooms in summer. At the same time, light flowers appear on the tree, and in the fall, black berries ripen, which are allowed for use in food.

Composition and calories

The useful qualities of black elderberry are explained by its rich composition. For example, in the root part of the shrub are found saponins, which have expectorant effect, that is, they dilute phlegm and ensure its removal from the respiratory organs. These substances are also characterized by diuretic, tonic and sedative properties.

The inflorescences of the shrub contain terpenes, which give the plant a pleasant fragrance. It contains vitamin A, which is involved in the activity of the optic nerve.

Fruits are endowed with anthocyanins, which protect the body from the development of inflammatory processes and stabilize the functioning of the intestines, tyrosine, which provides the synthesis of melanin.

The plant is endowed with a large amount of tannins, which have a beneficial effect on inflamed hemorrhoids.

In addition, the berries have a lot of ascorbic acid. So, in 100 g of such fruits is concentrated almost 30 g of vitamin C, which is more than 50 percent of the required daily norm in this substance.

Elderberry is endowed with fiber, necessary for normal activity of the digestive tract. Also the chemical composition of the product is endowed with phenolic acids, which have antioxidant properties. They can neutralize the effects of free radicals thanks to the various flavonoids present in the fruit of the culture. It should be noted that the inflorescences contain almost ten times more flavonoids than the fruit itself.

The caloric value of the fruit is 75 kcal per 100 g.

Useful properties of black elderberry

General benefits

Not everyone knows about the useful characteristics of black elderberry, since often in nature grows its poisonous counterpart with red berries. Almost all parts of the elderberry tree are characterized by useful qualities. Elderberries are used to produce remedies that have medicinal and preventive properties. Berries of the culture are widely used in both folk and official medicine.

Useful properties of black elderberry

  1. For therapeutic purposes, it is recommended to consume only fresh berries, because the composition of the product deteriorates as it is stored, with the useful elements being destroyed. Fresh fruits can be included in the treatment for 5-6 months. If they are dried, in this form they are suitable for several years, but with proper storage.
  2. Decoction of elderberries is used to restore normal metabolism, regulate the activity of the gastrointestinal tract, assimilation of necessary substances and removal of bile. Due to the small caloric value and high level of fiber, the raw material can be included in the list of dishes designed for dietary meals.
  3. Dried berries can be included in the menu of people suffering from diseases such as malaria, dermal oncology or epigastrium. This is because dried berries contain elements that can suspend the development of tumor cells.
  4. The high concentration of fiber promotes the removal of "bad" cholesterol from the body, which ultimately reduces the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.

For women

For the fairer sex, this plant is truly a godsend. Infusion, prepared from elderflowers, is used to conduct douches for various gynecological pathologies. Alcohol infusion helps women to cope with the manifestations of menopause. To prepare such a remedy, pour the collected inflorescences with alcohol with a concentration of 40 percent in a ratio of 1:5. The mixture should insist two weeks in a cool and dark place. The finished infusion should be strained and taken three times a day at 20 drops.

It is also known to use the product in cosmetology. Thus, cooked from berries porridge will help to eliminate acne, decoction of the inflorescences will lighten pigment spots.

For men

As it is known, the strong half of mankind is more often exposed to cardiovascular diseases, so they should introduce this product in their diet to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and atherosclerosis.

In addition, black elderberry is effective for prostatitis. Healing properties in this case have berry juice.

When pregnant

During pregnancy, a woman must constantly monitor her diet. Many products can adversely affect the condition of the baby and the woman herself. Regarding elderberry, we can say that to some extent it refers to poisonous crops, therefore, from its consumption during this period it is necessary to refuse.

Video: How to eat during pregnancy Expand

When breastfeeding

The same rule applies to girls during lactation. It is also important for breastfeeding women to exercise caution when eating certain foods. In order not to harm a child, it is better not to eat such berries.

For children

Most pediatricians believe that elderberries should not be given to a child under 12 years of age. But at the same time, there are a number of medicines used to treat coughs and flu. When using such healing raw materials in small quantities, allergies do not appear.

When losing weight

When it is necessary to get rid of excess weight, it is recommended to include elderberry drinks in the menu, such as decoctions, tinctures. Decoction based on the roots of the culture should be taken very carefully. You should also remember that berry juice promotes the elimination of fluid from the body. To improve the metabolism, you should consume fresh fruit, but only in small quantities.

With regular consumption of elderberries you can lose a couple of kilograms in two weeks.

What is the usefulness of red elderberry

This type of elderberry is popularly taken as a laxative, antipyretic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic.

What is the usefulness of red elderberry?

To avoid hydrocyanic acid poisoning, green leaves, stems and unripe berries should never be used for therapeutic purposes. With proper use of the plant, you can prepare an effective remedy for various conditions.

To obtain a diuretic and antipyretic composition, a tea of flowers is used, as well as a squeeze of the ripe fruit.

As an expectorant and vomiting agent, the bark and fruits of the shrub should be used. Decoction based on the inflorescences is characterized by expectorant properties, and also relieves inflammation.

Note! Care should be taken in the presence of gastrointestinal problems.

The dried leaves and fruits do not contain poisonous components.

Even if there are no contraindications, still need to be carefully treated with such a product and constantly monitor the reaction of the body.

Therapeutic properties of elderberry flowers

The flowers of the plant have a diaphoretic and antimicrobial effect. On their basis, infusions are prepared, which help to cure bronchitis, flu and sore throat.

Often this part of the plant is used in the production of lotions. Such products have toning and rejuvenating properties. Moreover, they can eliminate certain skin diseases.

The benefits of elderberry jam

Jam from elderberry inflorescences can cure sciatica, rheumatism, as well as remove unnecessary cholesterol from blood vessels. With moderate consumption of such a delicacy, diabetic patients have normalized blood glucose levels.

Elderberry jam helps reduce blood pressure, get rid of dermatitis, relieve edema, support the work of the liver, pancreas and thyroid.

Elderberry is also used to harvest honey. Such a product allows you to strengthen the body's defenses, improve sleep, cure diseases of the joints.

Video: Black elderberry jam recipe Expand

Elderberry juice: benefits and uses

The pulp of the fruit contains B vitamins, retinol, a number of minerals and essential oils. Berry squeeze is distinguished by its antiseptic and expectorant action. Very often this product is included in the recipes of folk medicine to create remedies designed to treat wet coughs and colds. Also berry squeeze is used in the treatment of diabetes, skin diseases, etc.

Is elderberry syrup useful

This remedy is able to strengthen a weakened immune system. It contains in its composition iodine. Also elderberry syrup is used to increase hemoglobin in the blood and strengthen the walls of blood vessels. For preventive purposes, this remedy should be taken 1 dessert spoon three times a day for 3 months.

Elderberry syrup is also known to be used in the fight against breast cancer. In addition, it is able to treat inflammation of lymph nodes and stop uterine bleeding. This composition should be taken by people with impaired vision and cerebral circulation.

The syrup is a healing agent for the human circulatory system. Moreover, such a product will help stabilize hormonal activity and purify the blood. Elderberry syrup is used for angina, pneumonia, cystitis and gout.

Elderberry use in folk medicine

Medicinal compositions on the basis of black elderberry are useful for infections of the respiratory system, due to the diaphoretic action of the product has a antipyretic effect. To cope with a cold at home, you need 20 g of extracts from inflorescences pour 200 ml of boiling water and bring the mass to a boil. Boil the remedy for 20-25 minutes over low heat. After that, cool the decoction, separate the liquid part and drink 2 times a day for 10 minutes before a meal. Before using, add a small amount of natural honey.

Elderberry Application in Traditional Medicine

To prepare a choleretic remedy, crush the dried fruits or shoots of the plant, steep them in a glass of water for 20 minutes. After that, filter the liquid and drink 40 ml warm every 4 hours, 15 minutes before a meal.

To get a laxative, it is enough to pour 5 g of dried elderberry 150 ml of chilled boiled water, insist the mixture for a day, and then strain. Prepared infusion take once a day, before it should be warmed.

If there are inflammatory processes on the dermis and subcutaneous tissue, for example, boils, burns or diaper rash, you can use a poultice of elderberry leaves. To do this, steam 40 grams of young leaves in milk. The ready mass is distributed on a gauze napkin and put it to the affected area.

Treat rheumatism and urolithiasis can be cured by a bath with an infusion of elderberry root. In this case, take the crushed leaves and roots in equal proportions (10 g each), steeped in 1 liter of boiled water. In this form the mixture should insist for 2 hours. After that, filter the resulting mixture. Add the liquid part to a bath of water, the temperature of which is about 36 degrees. Such procedures should be carried out every day before going to bed, and they should last no longer than 15 minutes. The course of treatment is 2 weeks.

Decoction of elderberry helps to establish the activity of the urinary system. To prepare the healing remedy, mix 7 grams each of dried elderberry inflorescences, St. John's wort and chamomile. This mixture of medicinal plants pour 200 ml of boiling water and steam steaming for 15 minutes. The prepared decoction should be cooled, filtered and added with boiled cooled water so much that you end up with 1 cup of the useful remedy. Drink the entire amount of the resulting remedy before going to bed.

Elderberry in cosmetology

All parts of the plant are enriched with flavonoids, ascorbic acid, tannins, carotenoids. All these components are actively used in the production of cosmetic compositions. The result are products that improve the condition of the skin, increase skin tone, make it more elastic, relieve swelling and eliminate inflammation.

  1. Externally, the plant is used to remove age spots, freckles and give the skin a lighter tone. To prepare a bleaching agent, you need to pour 20 grams of fresh elderflower inflorescences 200 ml of boiling water, insist the mixture for a couple of hours, then boil for a few minutes. Then strain the mass and mix the liquid part with a glass of vodka. The resulting lotion to treat your face before going to bed. Store this remedy in a dark place. You can also prepare ice cubes from the flowers of the culture to wipe the face.
  2. To cope with hyperpigmentation, you need to soak a gauze napkin in a heated infusion of elderberry flowers black, cooked in a ratio of 1:10, squeeze a little and put on the face with an increased pigmentation. Repeat this procedure five times, making an interval of 5 minutes. Do it every day until you get the desired result. After that you can make such masks 1-2 times a week.
  3. For oily skin will be useful compresses from decoction of elderflowers. To make such an infusion will need 1 tbsp. dried inflorescences pour 250 ml of boiling water.
  4. To soften and tone the dermis will help a mask based on an infusion of elderberry. To get it you need 2 tablespoons. Boil oat flakes in 100 ml of milk, then add 2 tablespoons of decoction of black elderberry.
  5. Young leaves, previously boiled in milk, can be applied to boils and places with diaper rash. In addition, elderberry leaves can be used for baths in the presence of skin itching.
  6. With sensitive and irritated dermis is recommended every evening to make a compress from decoction of the bark of the plant. To make it you will need 4 tbsp of crushed bark pour 200 ml of cold water. This mixture should boil for 10 minutes, after which it must be removed from the stove and insist another 20 minutes.

Harm and contraindications

Like any other plant component, black elderberry has a number of limitations. So, this crop is contraindicated for use in enterocolitis, chronic pathologies of the digestive system, pregnant and lactating women. Also, you should not give the product to children under 12 years of age.

Very often people confuse the black elderberry variety with the red elderberry, which is considered poisonous. It is very important to be careful not to harm your health by mistaking the red berries for black elderberries.

The red variety of the plant is toxic. It is distinguished only by the color of the fruit, but you can see the difference only when the berries are ripe. And if the leaves and stems of the young tree are needed for medicinal purposes, you need to be able to distinguish between the two species, otherwise you can get intoxicated.

When to collect and how to store

The plant is collected during the flowering period. It is best to collect the raw material at a time when the flowers have not yet opened. Warm and dry weather is suitable for collecting the medicinal plant. The fruits are harvested only when they are fully ripe. This usually occurs in late summer. It is important not to miss the moment when the berries ripen. Mature elderberries are characterized by a firm and dense surface. If the fruits are overripe, they become half-dry and shriveled. They should no longer be used for therapeutic purposes, as most of the useful substances are lost.

When to collect and how to store elderberry

In addition to inflorescences and fruits, the bark of the tree also has useful qualities. It is recommended to collect such raw materials in mid-spring, during the ripening of the buds. The plant should be at least two years old. Cut off only the top darkened layer of bark. Dry such a product should be in a well-ventilated place.

Flowers are collected at the moment of blossoming, and they are separated from the peduncles. Then they should be dried and then passed through a sieve.

Gather the ripe berries are carried out together with the clusters. Before drying, they should be placed in one layer and dried in the air. After that, you can send them to a special dryer or oven. The dried berries should be separated from the twigs.

The root part of the culture is harvested in late autumn. These raw materials should also be dried and then crushed to a powdery mass.

The flowers can be stored for up to 2 years at a temperature not exceeding 25 degrees. The dried fruits are only stored for 6 months, for the bark the shelf life is 3 years, and the roots can be used for 5 years.

Is it possible to dry

Drying is a way of preserving the raw material for a long time. In order to dry the healing raw material, it is necessary to prepare a vegetable dryer, a colander, as well as the elderberries themselves. Pick the berries, remove the petioles, get rid of crumpled and spoiled fruits. Next, rinse the raw material under running water and dry. Now elderberries lay out on a device tray in a thin layer. Dry at a temperature of 50 degrees.

Store the fruit in a tightly sealed container, in a dark and cool place.

What can be made of elderberry: Recipes

The flowers of this plant are used to make liquor in some countries. In France, for example, elderflowers are used to make syrup, which is then added to pancakes. In Romania, the syrup made from the plant is diluted with water and used as a drink. Elderberries are used to make wine, jam, and syrup. In Italy, the fruit is fried in dough and served as a dessert.


To prepare a tasty and useful elderberry jam, you will need 3 kg each of sugar and the berries themselves. First you need to collect the raw material, sort it, remove the stalks and spoiled fruits. After that, put the elderberries in a colander and rinse with plenty of water. Then dry the berries, spreading them on a gauze napkin.

Next, place the berries in a bowl with a thick bottom, alternating elderberries with sugar in layers. In this form, the preparation should stand for several hours. This is necessary so that the product will secrete juice.

After 2-3 hours, the container with the future jam can be put on low heat. When boiling, it is important to stir the contents constantly. From the moment of boiling, boil the jam for about 35 minutes. The readiness of the jam can be judged by the softening of the berries. After that, wrap the dessert in sterilized jars and seal it. Store the jam in a place protected from light.


To obtain healing juice, you will need 1 kg each of elderberries with sugar. First it is necessary to prepare the fruit. To do this, rip off the berries from the twigs, put them in a colander and also rinse under running water. Now, using a juicer, collect the squeeze from the fruit. If there is no special device, you can just grind elderberry, and then squeeze the liquid part with gauze.

Elderberry Juice

Pour the collected juice into a bowl, mix it with sweetener and send it to the stove. From the moment of boiling, it is enough to boil the mixture for a few minutes. The juice is ready. All that remains is to pour the drink into sterile containers and seal them with corks. Store this product in the basement or in the refrigerator.


Elderberry can also be made into a compote. To do this you need to prepare 1 cup of elderberries, 1.5 liters of water and 150 grams of sugar. The process should begin with the preparation of berries. This is done on the same principle as in the above recipes. Then put the berries in a bowl with water and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil the drink for 6-7 minutes. After that, separate the fruit, using a colander. Add sweetener to the liquid part, and then bring to a boil again. To improve the taste, add a couple of mint leaves. Now the compote can be removed from the stove.


Elderberry is also used to make wine. In this case, it is necessary to prepare wine yeast. With such a recipe, you can get a sweet, dessert elderberry wine. Sugar is added in two steps - at the beginning and before slow fermentation. From the indicated amount of products should turn out an average of 16 liters of alcoholic beverage. So, of the ingredients you need to prepare 10 liters of black elderberry squeeze, 5 liters of water, 6 kg of sugar. As for the yeast, here you need to be guided by the instructions. It is also recommended to use a yeast supporter.

Start the process of obtaining a wine drink by adding water to the juice. In the mash, stir 4.2 kg of sugar component. Also prepare the yeast with the yeast feed and send it to the mash. Pour the resulting mixture into a bottle. At the same time, a quarter of the container should remain empty. Next, put a water seal on the neck. Put the bottle in a dark place, where the temperature is 23-25 degrees.

Active fermentation usually takes 1-2 weeks. When the release of gas in the still stops, you must immediately drain the wort, removing the sediment, otherwise the finished drink will turn out bitter.

Next, add the rest of the sugar to the young drink. But first, it is recommended to taste the product, in some cases, the addition of the remaining sugar is not required.

Now the mixture can be poured into a smaller container, leaving about 10 percent of the container unfilled. On top, put a water trap back in place. Fermentation also takes place in a dark place. Quiet fermentation usually takes several months. During this period, you should periodically pour the drink when sediment will appear. The finished wine can be bottled.

Video: How to make elderberry wine Expand

Can I eat elderberries

Black elderberries can be eaten. As for the red berries, they are poisonous, so you can not eat them. Even for medicinal purposes, it is very dangerous to use red fruits. They contain many medicinal components, but the presence of toxic compounds makes the plant dangerous to health.

In addition, red fruits have a rather unpleasant taste. When the juice enters the stomach, it enters the bloodstream through the walls of the stomach, affecting the CNS. This shrub has a very strong poison, you can be poisoned by it even as a result of contact with the leaves if you do not wash your hands afterwards. Intoxication symptoms occur after 30-50 minutes. Symptoms of poisoning include severe headaches, dizziness, dry mouth, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, white spots on the hands and face, shortness of breath, seizures.

Interesting Facts

Elderberry Facts of Interest

  1. Sambucus is the scientific name for elderberry. It is believed that the tree got its name because a special musical instrument was made of its shoots. According to another version, the word has its origin in the Greek "sambyx," which translates as "red paint. Elderberry was believed to be used for dyeing fabrics and various objects.
  2. There are many beliefs associated with this crop. So, the Polish people believe that the first demon as his home chose a deep hole, and to disguise it, planted it is elderberry bush.
  3. In Ukraine, they also believe that the tree was first planted by the devil. Therefore, in order not to disturb him, not to bring trouble on their homes, people should not have dug elderberries. If it was impossible to do without it, people called in sick people who did not have long to live to uproot the bush.
  4. At the same time, it was believed that in the leaves of elderberry live creatures that protect the house and its inhabitants from all sorts of trouble. Therefore, the branches of the plant were used as a talisman.

«Important: All information on this site is provided solely for educational purposes purposes. Consult with your health care professional before applying any recommendations. specialist before using the recommendations. Neither the editors nor the authors shall be liable for any possible harm caused by materials."

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