Sambucus Nigra, the black-fruited variety of elder berry is among the most common and can be found in North America and Europe. Traditional folklore maintained that the elder tree would ward off evil influence and give protection from witches. The elder tree was guarded by the Elder mother, who would seek revenge on those who cut down the tree. Therefore, those looking to chop the tree would have to recite a rhyme like, “Old girl, give me some of thy wood and I will give thee some of mine when I grow into a tree.” Only dried mature elder berries are edible. They are used to make various jams, pies and even wine. Elder berries are believed to have laxative, diuretic, anti-cancer, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that elder can reduce recovery time for Flu victims. It is also used for colds, sinus infections and other respiratory ailments. Elderberry can be applied topically for rashes and skin ailments. The berries are also rich sources of antioxidants and vitamin C.
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