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by Terry Cochrane

ELDER sambucus nigra
Black Elder, European Elder

Blooms traditionally from May to July. Nearly all parts of this versatile plant are used: flowers, berries, leaves, bark. The flowers are used mostly in herbal tea and is primarily an anti-inflammatory due to the ursolic acid content. The berries and flowers are used to make wine and cough/cold syrup. Elder berries are high in Vitamin C. Flower tea should be taken possibly with peppermint or ginger at the first stages of colds or flu. Use leaves and flowers in salves. Always use caution in taking the bark as it is a strong laxative and can be toxic. Only black elder is safe to take internally.

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