( Sambucus Canadensis)
Summertime is a special time for an herbalist. It is full of blooming flowers, wild berries, fresh herbs & garden vegetables. The sun is high, rain soaks the soil and birds & bees pollinate all in perfect harmony.
Elderflower begins to bloom in late June- early July. She is the watcher of the garden, the wise sage at the edge, the queen of the underworld and the Elder Mother. She protects and guards the garden, and therefore us when we use her medicine. Many people know her as Elderberry (which fruits at the end of summer) and although her flowers are gentle, they are powerful + effective medicine.
Sweet smelling elderflower has been used in some of the oldest known remedies + teas. The most traditional tea blends (commonly known as Gypsy Tea) that consists of Elderflower, Yarrow + Peppermint. An infusion made from the dried flowers is safe for use in infants and children, and is generally used for mild colds, flus, fever, upper respiratory infections and dry/red skin. It is a relaxant and antispasmodic and therefore a wonderful remedy for coughs and digestional cramps.
The berry can be harvested in late summer (August) and is most commonly used by making a syrup. Elder flower + berry tastes wonderful and can both be dried and made into a tea, tincture or syrup. It is antiviral, has immune boosting properties and is formulated well with antibiotic echinacea. Not only is it used as a medicine, but as jams, preserves, wine, fritters, cordials and creatively in many other recipes.
Look for Elderflower on the edge of fields, roadsides, gardens, yards and woods. Remember to harvest sustainably and leave many flowers so that they produce many berries for years to come!