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Old 08-24-2008, 11:20 AM   #1
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Post Elderberry

Living as I do in the Midwest USA, where elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is a native, it is a no-brainer to be sure that we have plenty of elderberries growing here. In Europe, parts of Asia, and into parts of Africa, the elderberry species commonly found is Sambucus nigra. Sambucus mexicana is found in the western USA, and, if I'm not mistaken, into Mexico. The various species are used interchangeably. Elderberries are an amazing herb.

Concerning cultivation, I'm going to tell what I know about growing Sambucus canadensis in the Midwest USA. It is a shrub that is hardy to Zone 3. They prefer a fairly neutral soil, but will grow in slightly acid soil. If you have very acid soil, amending the surrounding soil with a bit of lime to adjust the pH toward 7.0 will aid plant health. Reportedly, they can also tolerate slightly alkaline soil. They prefer moist soil and full sun.

They may be grown from seed planted early fall. The seed needs the cold of winter before it can germinate (stratification). Seedlings can be transplanted the following autumn.

They may also be grown from cuttings. Take cuttings in late spring, before flowering. Plant them in moist sand. Keep the sand moist. Rooted cuttings may be transplanted in fall.

Of course, one may also purchase plants. Common cultivars available in the USA are of Sambucus canadensis: York, Adams, Johns, and Nova are all cultivars selected for berry production.

WARNING: Sambucus pubens is poisonous. Therefore, be sure what you have.

USES:

Elder has a long history of use for colds, flus, fevers, and sinus infections. Elder has anti-viral and anti-inflamatory properties.

One may use flowers, but my experience is with using berries. Harvest berries when ripe. Then dry them with the stalk intact, so that they do not "bleed" juice. They can then be used to make a strong tea infusion.

The fresh berries also make wonderful jam! Some people enjoy elderberry wine as well.

Hope this is of some help. I'd be interested in what others do with their berries, or other parts of the plant.
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:20 PM   #2
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Not about plants, but for those who can't/don't grow elderberry we really like the elderberry syrup we get from Honey Gardens Apiary (I have no relationship with them, except as a satisfied customer). I learned about them though an earlier CE post.

http://www.honeygardens.com/order.htm#esy

My family is so hooked that we now buy it by the large case.


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Old 02-17-2009, 06:30 PM   #3
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Elderberry Tincture is a mainstay here. I learned to tincture it from Goatlady.....Oh do I wish I knew a thumbnail of what she and others know about herbs!!

I get dried berries from Herbalcom.com and am really happy with their service.

To Tiincture its 2/3 a quart jar of dried Berries then fill the jar with high proof cheap Vodka. Seal tightly and shake periodically for at least 4 weeks (I hope she's reading this and will make any corrections to my method ) Strain and keep in a cool dark place.

Elderberry, as I understand it, keeps a virus from entering the cell walls thus staving off infection.


Correction per Goatlady!! 1/3 dried berries per quart.
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Last edited by blue gecko; 03-02-2009 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:08 PM   #4
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I've been buying bottles at CVS for $13.00 with a $10.00 coupon. The register will ring 5 in a row (weird, huh?), so I just stand there and get 5 with 5 different receipts.

On another thread, someone said that Sambucol was changing. I want to grow my own anyway. Thanks, cowgirl.
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Old 02-17-2009, 08:15 PM   #5
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Thanks, Cowgirl. I live in zone 4, and may try growing it. We currently use the extract from Herbs, Etc. out of Santa Fe. It's only between $11 and $13 an ounce, depending on exchange at the time. We've had very good results with it, using it 4 or 5 winters now. Four or five ounces lasts our family of four all from September to summer.
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:38 PM   #6
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Oh Yeah, gal just read your directions. I guess if you want to use 2/3 a jar of dried berries you most certainly can but that amount would make a double batch in my household and is a tad wasreful of the berries. Standard is 1/3 jar of dried berries or 1/2 jar fresh berries, then add vodka.
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Old 03-02-2009, 08:13 PM   #7
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I discovered I was allergic to Sambucol. Good to know ahead of time.
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Old 03-02-2009, 08:17 PM   #8
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My bad GL thanks for the correction!! See folks this lady is THE one to ask about this stuff.
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Old 03-02-2009, 10:39 PM   #9
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Hey, Brooks, you do know Sambucol has other herbs in it besides plain elderberries. Last I was there were at least 3 different formulations using an elderberry base. The company also was sold about 4 months ago or so and the founder is no longer connected with Sambucol at all, so I would beware of formulations changes also.
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Old 04-26-2009, 04:41 PM   #10
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I was looking for the sambucol thread and found this. Here is another recipe for tincture.

How to Make your own Elderberry Cold and Flu Relief

By jazzyacres, eHow Member Rating
How to Make your own Elderberry Cold and Flu Relief

Rate: (0 Ratings)

Here are instructions to make your own Elderberry tincture for fighting off the nasty cold and flu bugs. This stuff is dynamite for getting you back on your feet fast. Don't be intimidated if you've never made any of your own--you will be so proud of yourself once you are done!

Instructions
Difficulty: Easy
Things You’ll Need:

* 1/2# bag of dried Elderberries
* Large Glass jar
* 750 bottle of vodka--at least 80 proof

Step1
First get yourself some dried elderberries--it's not as hard as you think. You can find them at Herb Stores, most Health food stores and even on line. A 1# bag runs under $10--and 1# can end up making you almost a Gallon of tincture when you are done! No matter how small or large a batch you are going to make, the directions remain the same.
Step2
Get a large glass jar, I use a large pickle jar I got for free from a restaurant that I have scrupulously cleaned. Fill this jar 3/4 of the way with the elderberries. Pour your 80 proof vodka over the dried berries til it is 1 inch over the top of the berries, and add 2 cups of sugar. Put lid on and shake real well to mix 'em up. (make sure the lid is really ON tight or you may end up with a purple kitchen!) Put a label on and date it so you can easily keep track. Now set this aside for 30 days. A lot of folk say 2 weeks, but I believe in a full 30 days. Each day shake your jar well to stir it good.
Step3
After 30 days, get a good sized bowl, put a colander on the top and line with cheesecloth. Strain your berries out into a colander. Let is drain for a good 30 minutes and then gently pick up the corners of the cheesecloth, twist the top and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Careful now, or your hands will get a lovely shade of purple--but don't worry it wont last long! Lol!

You can store your new tincture back in the glass jar, or in canning jars, or even back in the vodka bottle. Always label and date your lovely new tincture and store it away from heat and sunlight. This will last indefinitely and most folk use about 2-3 tablespoons a day when needed.

Always remember to make sure all your utensils are clean, clean, clean! Enjoy your tincture. As soon as I feel a scratchy throat or start the sniffles, I take the elderberry and the stuff is just great for stopping things in their tracks. It will have a sweet/tart berry taste. Don't worry, you can't really screw this up--just remember, no matter the size jar you are going to use, just fill 3/4 of the way with dry berries, fill with vodka (no it doesn't have to be the fancy stuff), and pour til its about 1 inch over the top of the berries. Put lid on, label and date and shake every day, then strain into smaller jars or back into the vodka bottle.
Tips & Warnings

* A 1# bag of berries will need at least a gallon sized jar and 1.75 bottle of vodka
* A 1/2# bag of berries will fit nicely in a gallon sized jar
* You can always use several quart canning jars and split up the batch if you don't have a gallon sized one



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Old 04-26-2009, 04:55 PM   #11
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Good idea to bump this one, thanks!
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:56 PM   #12
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For those who might want to get the Sambucol, this was the best deal I could find.

http://www.luckyvitamin.com/item/itemKey/74787

At the intensive dosage rate (40ml/day) one bottle of this would supply one adult for one week.

We might well expect sources for anything to do with elderberry to be exhausted at some point.

OH
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:59 PM   #13
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Herbalcom bulk dried elderberries are a decent price and will make a bunch of tincture. Ladybugs linked it in the Profiting off of Swine Flu thread, lemme find it back...

http://www.herbalcom.com/
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:34 PM   #14
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Everything I've read says that best production comes with planting two varieties. Common elderberry is Sambucus nigra, so would Sambucus nigra Black Lace or something like that fill the bill - as long as the first of the latin name is Sambucus nigra? Or will I need something like Sambucus canadensis?

This is confusing for someone trying to do this for the first time.
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Old 04-26-2009, 11:13 PM   #15
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I buy a combination tincture from Oregon's Wild Harvest called Wintertime Support. It has elderberry and a lot of other good stuff in it. I put it in the water I use to wash down my vitamins in the morning.

http://www.oregonswildharvest.com/ow...upport_extract
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:50 AM   #16
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Is it possible to make this sans alcohol?
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:55 AM   #17
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I was looking at some very old posts on this. There was some talk about using glycerine but nobody seemed to know what that is.

It used to be used as a sugar substitute. Is kinda syrupy. Safe to ingest. Can get small bottles at drug stores. I've only used it to make super soap bubbles and a windshield wash that resists fogging.

Here is the first google page that comes up on it, 16,500 links. I don't have time to go through this right now but if someone does and can report back with a summary I will appreciate it very much.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=glyce...fp=NQXy0JtAlGM

But you can always make a tea. Comes right down to it you can hydrate the berries and eat them.

I talked with our resident herbalist today. She said if all you had were the dried berries just make a tea. Then she said "Duhhhh".

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Old 04-27-2009, 03:40 AM   #18
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I just put this in another thread but will add here also.

Many years ago I was given an herbal recipe that originally came from the Ute Indians. It is anti bacterial and anti viral. My family has always used it when a flu was making the rounds and we always found it a good preventative and treatment.

Take equal parts of chapparal, yellow dock root, and plantain leaf and boil them into a strong tea.

It can be used very strong externally on wounds and infections and as a gargle. Dilute it for drinking.

Blue Gecko has made it part of her medicinal arsenal too.

Plantain and Dock are plentiful just about everywhere but the Chapparal comes from the western desert areas. All of these are available at herbalcom.com and very reasonable.

OH
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goatlady View Post
Hey, Brooks, you do know Sambucol has other herbs in it besides plain elderberries. Last I was there were at least 3 different formulations using an elderberry base. The company also was sold about 4 months ago or so and the founder is no longer connected with Sambucol at all, so I would beware of formulations changes also.
Original Formula Sambucol $14.87

http://www.luckyvitamin.com/item/itemKey/74787

OH
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:22 AM   #20
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I went to The Vitamin Shoppe in Redmond, and they had pure elderberry concentrate for under $18 a pint. They have it on their website as well.

http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/store/e...jsp?id=NZ-7002
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:54 PM   #21
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spinnner, you need S. canadesis varieties - that is the American subspecies of S,. negra that is medicinal. The black Lace is more ornamental than medicinal.
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:06 PM   #22
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OH, I just posted Elderberry FAQ which contains the recipe for nonalcoholic syrup wich is just as effective as the tincture. That elderberry concentrate ought mentions would be gREAT to make the syrup - avoids haveing to soak the dried berries then squeezing the juice out!
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:25 PM   #23
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I've seen several references, that while elderberry seems to have an effect on the "common flu", there is concern that it may be contra-indicated in this type of flu, where the cytokine storm (theory) might be an issue (the elderberry seems to increase the immune response). Does anyone know of a reliable source for htis information? I am very hesitant to use anything that might make it worse. I also wonder if it wouldn't be the worst thing, if you got the flu now, since it is mild here and responds to medicine. Then if it did ramp up this fall, you might have some immunity. Just wondering out loud...
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:38 PM   #24
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Preppiechick, elderberry DOES slightly increas some cytokines, not the inflammtory ones though that CAN contribute to the dreaded cytokine storm. Go to the Elderberry FAQ and read the research articles at the link and decide for yourself if the proven benefits of Elderberry used to treat ALL Influenxa A and B, of which family H5N1 (bird flu) and this "new" H1n1 are Influenza As, is worth using. It's got better numbers of positive treatment than the conventiona anti-virals currently in use as these flu virii have already developed resistance to 2 of the 4 drugs and rapidly developing a resistance to the Tamiflu also.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:41 PM   #25
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Additionally the original formulation of Sambucol I think had echinacea in it too which could contribute to the cytokine issue. It wasn't just elderberries in there.
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