Safe Uses of the Elderberry Plant

Jun 22, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. In the history plant pharmaceuticals, elderberry was an essential medicine across Europe, including Russia and the Scandinavian countries, and among the Native Americans of North America. The traditional uses included numerous respiratory ailments, especially congestion and allergies, digestive problems – especially if a laxative was needed, and to for headaches, fever reduction, and a host of other ailments. It turns out that the leaves and stems and unripe fruits contain pre-cyanide compounds and should never be used or consumed at all. However, the flowers are free of harmful substance and can be used to infuse liquids and as additions to fritter batter. Once the berries are ripe, they can be consumed but even the ripe berries may contain small amounts of potentially harmful compounds, and they should be heated before they are used to make wine or jelly or a delicious pie.