I am an unabashed elderberry fan. It is not a one-size-fits-all herb like garlic. It doesn’t grow neatly on a kitchen window like sage. It isn’t easy to pick without a ladder like cayenne. It doesn’t wander into the front yard like dandelion. Yet with all the work that I have to do to appreciate this herb, I can’t help but adore it.
Elderberry is an antiviral herb that specifically targets enveloped viruses. The virus family that I battle most consistently is the influenza viruses which are elderberry’s prime target. Unlike the flu vaccine that hits one type of flu at a time, elderberry takes them all on.
As the winter months start to drag my neighbors back to bed complaining of a sore throat and fever, elderberry keeps my immune system on top of its game. In addition to cleaning clingy viruses out of my blood stream, the flavonoids in elderberry encourage my aging body to rebuild damage from oxidants.
Elderberry is safe to take on a daily basis. Elderly patients, children and people with compromised immune systems can take a shot of elderberry tincture every day without concern. Elderberry comes in a variety of forms which make it very easy to take: syrups, lozenges, capsules, tinctures and teas.
My personal favorite tonight is shimmering in my wine glass. Elderberry wine is a traditional drink that is sweet and tart. It isn’t a fancy wine. It doesn’t take much work to produce your own batch of wine either. Just be certain that you are using blue or black elderberries since red elderberries are inedible.
I have an adoration for the elder plant as well. I have chanced upon an elder shrub on a hike just after it had lost it’s fall foliage. The elder’s long branches waved it’s load of ripe berries with such grace that I literally stopped in my tracks. I stared as the branches smoothly stretched and bent in the wind. I admit that I actually got a little misty eyed at the sight.
Memories of elder’s dance on that hillside all those years ago still makes me smile. It was that moment that I knew I had lost my heart to skinny, bare-armed shrub. Elder still has my dedication. Tonight as I swirl the contents of elderberry wine in my glass after a long day of work, I know that I have much more to learn about this humble herb. I look forward to challenge.