Elderberry tea has long been recognized by the native Americans as being especially potent for fevers and joint pains. In recent years, there have been breakthroughs in research toward the treatment of virus-caused diseases like flu that involve the use of elderberries.
Also known by its scientific name of sambucus nigra, the elder is a deciduous shrub-like plant that can reach 4 to 6 meters in height. It is native to Europe and the western regions of the African continent. The elderberry leaves are arranged in opposite pairs stretching from 10 to 30 centimeters long. They have white flowers that have five petals. The elderberry fruit is of a dark purple to black hue, 3 to 5 mm in diameter, and are found in drooping clusters.
The elderberry flowers and fruits are made into such things as wine, jams, pies and syrups, and are sometimes used as flavoring for softdrinks. The elderberry plant is also sometimes used as an ornamental plant. The stems and leaves of the elderberry are considered poisonous.
The active constituents of elderberry flowers and fruits include sambucin, sambunigrin, potassium nitrate and sugars. Elderberry tea can be made by infusing 3 to 5 grams of the dried flowers in about 250 ml cup of boiled water. Let the mix steep for about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool, strain then drink thrice a day during the treatment period.
The sambucus nigra specie of the elderberry is the recommended specie to use as some of the other elderberry species are known to be poisonous.
The following are the health benefits attributed to elderberry tea:
- May help treat influenza and fevers.
- May help alleviate conditions such as colds, asthma and bronchitis, where there is accumulation of phlegm or mucus in the air passageways.
- May help in the treatment of various types of allergies.
- May help enhance functional effectiveness of the kidney by helping get rid of toxins in the system.
- May be helpful in the quick recovery of patients with eruptive diseases caused by viruses like measles and chicken pox.
Elderberry tea may be helpful in the treatment of arthritic and rheumatic pain.