Elderberry, a healthy household remedy: now is harvest time

Elderberry – on warm summer days its syrup sweetens sparkling wine and Hugo – in the autumn and winter months the berry is a reliable source of vitamin C. The fruits of the black elder, also known as the lilac berry bush, can be harvested from August to the end of September. Elderberry is so healthy and this poisonous doppelganger can be found along the way.

If you fancy a vitamin C booster on a sunny autumn walk, you should harvest and process the edible wild plant. In addition to the black elder, the rare red elder can also be processed into syrup or juice. When collecting, however, caution is advised, the black elder should not be confused with the dwarf elder (attich), as these are poisonous. Read more about this here.

Elderberry in autumn: immune booster for cold days

Elderberry is a well-known home remedy that is said to have a supportive effect on various ailments. In addition to the flowers and berries of the elder, leaves and roots can also be processed. The effects of elderberry at a glance:

  • Cell protection thanks to the dark dye:  The sambucyanin contained in the violet-red dye protects the cells and binds free radicals in the body that can arise during cell division or as a result of external influences. The home remedy is said to prevent inflammation, cardiovascular diseases and cancer due to its antioxidant effect.
  • Healthy household remedy for coughs,  sore throats  and colds:  Elderberry juice contains a high proportion of  vitamin C  and  zinc . This property makes elderberry juice the perfect companion on cold autumn and winter days. It prevents coughing and is said to loosen mucus in the throat, help with a fever and relieve symptoms. Elderberry juice or elderflower syrup also soothe the mucous membranes in the case of a dry cough or inflammation of the throat and throat. Tip: Heat the elderberry juice in a saucepan, but do not let it boil – sweeten with  honey  or elderberry syrup and drink slowly.
  • Home remedies for cystitis and urinary tract infections:  Elderflower tea and elderberry juice have a slightly draining effect and can therefore also help with cystitis. Vitamin C and zinc also strengthen the immune system. Tip: If you have a bladder infection, it is advisable to drink plenty of fluids to flush out germs.
  • Elderberry against stress and  sleep disorders :  Elderberry can help with sleep disorders, such as problems falling asleep or restless sleep. A glass of elderberry juice before bed is said to help prevent these problems. Tip: A hot bath is recommended on cold and stressful days. Pour a tea bag of elderberry tea and let it steep, then add to the bath water and relax.

Poisonous elder: watch out for this

Be careful, elderberry can be poisonous despite its healing properties. Not all parts of the elder are edible – even the berries of the elder can harm the body raw. Responsible is the poison sambunigrin, which causes  nausea , vomiting,  diarrhea  and cramps. Children are particularly at risk. Things to watch out for:

  • Carefully sort out and remove the stems of the fruit, stalks and leaves
  • Always cook elderberries through
  • Consume only ripe berries
  • De-seed red elder berries before eating as the seeds contain most of the toxin

The  poisonous dwarf  elder differs from the black elder in the size of the bush. While the dwarf elder only grows up to 1.50 meters tall, an elderberry bush can reach up to three meters. In addition, the dwarf elder smells unpleasant, the leaves are narrower and the berries always point upwards and show slight dents. If you are unsure which variety you are dealing with, the shrub should be avoided, as it can lead to mild to severe symptoms of poisoning and even death.


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