Introduction of Elder:Sambucus canadensis and Sambucus nigra.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Elder, its English name, Latin name, common names, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Sambucus canadensis L., ②.Sambucus nigra L., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these two plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these two plant species, the features of the herb Elder, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.


elderberry:herb photo English Name: Elder.
 Latin Name: Sambucus canadensis L.(American elder) and Sambucus nigra L.(European elder).
 Common Names: Common elder, elderberry, sambucus, sweet elder.
 Property and flavor: The flowers have a strong, somewhat numbing perfume.

 Brief introduction: American elder is a shrub native to the eastern part of North America. European elder is a taller shrub or tree, that can now be found in this country as well. Both are deciduous. The small cream-colored flowers, blue-black fruit, roots, and inner bark have been used medicinally.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Elder as flower, fruit, and other usable parts of the species (1).Sambucus canadensis L.,(2).Sambucus nigra L. They are plant species of the Sambucus genus, the Adoxaceae family (moschatel family). The flowers, blue-black fruit, root, and inner bark are used medicinally. These commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Sambucus canadensis L.

 Sambucus canadensis:fruiting tree Botanical description: Sambucus canadensis is a ligneous (woody), deciduous suckering shrub or small tree, it grows up to 2.7 to 6 meters high, and 1.8 to 3 meters wide, the leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, pinnate with five to nine leaflets, the leaflets around 10 cm long and 5 cm broad.

 In summer, it bears large corymbs of white flowers above the foliage, corymbs are 20~30 cm in diameter, and the individual flowers are 5~6 mm in diameter, with five petals. The fruit is a dark purple to black berry 3~5 mm in diameter, produced in drooping clusters in the fall. The berries are edible, but other parts of the plant are poisonous, containing toxic calcium oxalate crystals.

 Sambucus canadensis:fruits Ecological environment: Sambucus canadensis is native to North America, Venezuela, and Brazil, so it is also known as American Elder. In North America, it grows in all areas of North Carolina of USA (the United States of America) along streams, marshes, moist forests, and disturbed areas.

 Growth characteristics: American elderberry tolerates a wide variety of wet to dry soils but prefers rich, moist, slightly acidic soil in sun to partial shade. Butterflies and other insects are attracted to the blooms. Its fruits are eaten by mammals and many species of songbirds. It makes an excellent nesting site for birds and provides cover for quail and pheasants. Deer browse the leaves, twigs, and fruit.

(2).Sambucuc nigra L.

 Sambucuc nigra:flowering tree Botanical description: Sambucus nigra is a large multi-stemmed deciduous shrub or small tree, a shallow-rooted, up to 2.5 to 6 meters high tree or bush with explanate branches containing dry white latex. The bark of the trunk is light brown to gray and fissured. The bark on the young branches is green and covered with gray lenticels. The leaves are odd, 3 to 7 pinnate. They are matte green above and light blue-green beneath, leaves are large and deeply divided and are distinctive for their unpleasant fragrance when crushed. The leaflets are ovate or oblong acuminate, and densely serrate.

 The strongly perfumed, yellowish-white flowers are in large, flat, apical, richly and densely blossomed upright cymes with 5 main branches. The edge of the calyx is small and has 5 tips. The corolla is rotating, deep, and has 5 petals. There are 5 stamens and 1 inferior ovary. The fruit is a black-violet, berrylike drupe with blood-red juice, the berry is not as delicious as the American elderberry. The seeds are brownish, ovate, and domed on the outside. The tree grows leaves from March to November, its flowering period is from June to July, and the seeds mature from August to September.

 Sambucuc nigra:fruiting tree Ecological environment: Sambucus nigra is indigenous to almost all of Europe, including the United Kingdom, from Scandinavia south and east to North Africa and West Asia, so it is also known as European Elder.

 Growth characteristics: Sambucus nigra grows in moist, high organic matter, well-drained soil, it tolerates a wide range of soils including heavy clay. It flowers and fruits best in the full sun, and partial shade. Flowers attract butterflies. Fruits attract birds.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.induce perspiration; ②.stimulate increased urination; ③.laxative effect; ④.anti-inflammatory actions; ⑤.vitamin C source;etc.

 Elderflower preparations induce perspiration and are traditionally used in treating symptoms of the common cold, flu, and other feverish conditions. Elderflower preparations stimulate increased urination, aid in the recovery from a feverish cold or flu, flavonoids are identified as responsible for its diuretic effect, and it is used in slimming pills and other dieting formulas, elderflower has a laxative effect which explains its traditional use for constipation, elderflower has anti-inflammatory actions, elderberry is rich in vitamin C.

 Medicinal efficacy: Traditionally elderflower and fruit have been used as flavorings, food colorings, in perfumes, wines, preserves, and other foods, it was used to induce perspiration for feverish chills, promote urination as a diuretic, dispel constipation, relieve rheumatic inflammation, coughs, colds, flu, and associated fever. In Europe, the herb is approved for cough and bronchitis, fever and colds, it is a sweat-producing remedy for the treatment of feverish colds. In folk medicine, elder flowers are used internally as a sudorific tea and for colds and other feverish conditions. Elder is also used as an infusion, as a gargle, or as a mouthwash for respiratory disorders such as coughs, head colds, laryngitis, flu, and shortness of breath. Elder is used occasionally by nursing mothers to increase lactation. Externally, herbal pillows are used for swelling and inflammation. In homeopathy, the herb is used for inflammation of the respiratory tract.

 Administration of Elder (elderberry): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Elder (elderberry)
Herbal classic books: The average daily dose of the herb is 10~15 grams. Elderflower tea is made with 2 teaspoons of dried flowers per cup of water and is drunk several times per day. To prepare an infusion, brew 2 teaspoonfuls of elderflowers, about 3~4 grams, in 150 mL(millimeters) of boiling water and strain after 5 minutes, the infusion should be freshly prepared and drunk in doses of 1 to 2 cups several times, especially in the afternoon and evening. To use commercial ointments and teas containing elder, follow the package instructions. Elder should be stored where it is protected from light and moisture.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: Elderflower preparations appear to be safe to consume, they cause no known side effects or negative reactions to other medicines. The raw berries are edible but may cause nausea, vomiting, and stomach upsets, but once cooked, they pose no risk, leaves and stems contain the potentially fatal poison cyanide, so the leaves and stems should be carefully avoided. As the tannin content of elder may be complex with iron, patients who need iron supplementation should separate administration times of iron and Elder by two hours.




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