Elder is wrapped up in an incredible amount of tradition. It is worth learning about its restorative and other benefits from someone who is very familiar with preparing and using Elder. Nutritionally, Elder berries are rich in vitamin C, but it is not wise to eat them raw straight from the tree. The Elder flowers are the safest parts to use but they have to be heated, even for making cordial, and never consume the leaves twigs and bark as they contain a form of cyanide.

As with all natural remedies consumption of Elder
should be guided by a qualified herbalist or physician.
This information here is for information purposes only,
and certainly not for prescription.

best use ...  

elderflowers either as tea or drink from a cordial are both calming and restorative

qualities of Elder are said to be ...

alterative - the herb is powerful enough to be restorative
astringent - constricts tissues, such as stop bleeding, external use
diuretic - increases urination, useful when clearing toxins
laxative - relieve of constipation
relaxant - relief of physical and muscular tension

Other Traditional Remedies from lore

Elder flowers are the mildest and safest part of the plant, even mild enough for small children.

Elder flower tea at night, for adults and children, can aid towards peaceful slumber

Making elder flower soft drinks for children is very popular with them and very beneficial compared to commercial soft drinks.

During the day, sipping elder flower tea is great for calming the mind, lifting from melancholy and soothing anxiety.

If you have problems from too much sun exposure, make a cup of hot elderflower tea, if flowers are available, and sit in the shade, drink and be soothed. Same for headaches, especially migraine.

As a restorative, Elder flower tea with breakfast is a remarkable restorative tune up for liver, kidneys, bladder and more.

toxicity? ...  as all plants have a nourishing level and toxic level

It is not wise to eat the Elder berries raw as they are mildly toxic and can quickly cause vomiting, especially if eaten unripe. The raw berries actually include a mild cyanide, but that is destroyed by cooking and fermentting..

Cyanide is more present in the leaves, twigs and wood, so those parts should definitely not be consumed without prescription from a qualified herbalist.

The blossoms also contain a trace of cyanide so never eat those raw either, so always at least blanch and drain them before use.

Elder berries have been harvested for centuries for a huge range of purposes, and are still a cash crop in Kent, England for the English wine industry.

The berries make good pies, if blended with spices and mixed with apples. A delicious jam can also be made from Elder berries mixed with apples, especially crab apples, and you could add some blackberries too. This was a recipe widely circulated by the British government during world war two.

Elderberry Jam without Apples. To every pound of berries add 1/4 pint of water, the juice of 2 lemons and 1 lb. of sugar. Boil from 30 to 45 minutes, until it sets when tested. Put into jars and tie down when cold.

The Elderberry will, of course, also make a jelly. As it is a juicy fruit, it will not need the addition of any more liquid than, perhaps, a squeeze of lemon. Equal quantities of Elderberry juice and apple juice, and apple juice from peeling, will require 3/4 lb. of sugar to a pint. Elderberry Jelly is firm and flavorous, with a racy tang.

Elder flower cordial and wine are still popular today. We made the Elder flower "pop" for our children. They loved it, and so did their friends, so we had to make several batches each summer.

Here's one way to make the cordial ...

Pick Elder flowers on a sunny day when the fragrance is at it's best.
Put in a colander, place over saucepan and steam for just 2 minutes.
This removes the little cyanide present.
Place a layer of elder flowers in the bottom of a sterile bucket
Cover it with a layer of honey or sugar
Repeat this until the bucket is full
Cover the bucket's contents with boiling water
Leave overnight.
Strain and bottle.
Elderflower cordial can be frozen after being made too.
Its very simple and inexpensive to make,
with honey or sugar being the most expensive ingredient.

If you want this to be fizzy pop
put 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar in the bucket mix
and grate in some lemon peel
wait until you see some fermentation
then bottle.
Drinkable a week later
and do not leave it for more than three weeks or bottles may explode.

Elder flowers are also delicious when battered, fried and served as fritters, and even better when washed down with Elder flower pop, of course. Elder flowers in a pancake mix are very tasty too.

to read about the crafting potential of Elder, please click here