The Complementary Medical Association

Delivering excellence in complementary medicine since 1993

Elderflower – Herbal Remedy

Elderflower Herbal Therapy
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Elderflower (Sambucus nigra)  

Elderflower mixed with peppermint is a common treatment for colds and flu. 

The delicate taste of elderflower petals make it a popular herb to use in jams, cordials, and wines. Elderflowers soaked in lemon juice and mixed with sugar and water make a delicious summer drink. The flowers have also been used as a dye.

Other names: Black elder, European elder, common elder, bone tree.

Description and the places it grows in

Native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. It is a small tree with delicate flowers. 

Parts used

All parts are used. Flowers are picked spring / summer and dried rapidly.


Diaphoretic, laxative, antispasmodic, emollient.

Colds and flu: Clears up excessive catarrh and induces sweating. Very useful as ear drops for when the Eustachian tube is blocked.

Hay fever / sinusitis: Reduces the symptoms of these two conditions.

Other uses: Elderflower can sooth sore eyes if used as an eyewash, and it is also used on chilblains in a compress. It has been used to treat cystitis, rheumatism, and bronchitis.


Small amount of essential oil, palmitic linoleic, linolenic acids, triterpenes, flavonoids (including rutin) mucilage, sugar, and pectin.


None known. 

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