Sambucus nigra/canadensis

Sambucus nigra/canadensis                         Common name: Black Elderberry 

Parts used:  Flowers, berries, bark, leaves (toxic), root (toxic)


  • Flowers & Berries:  Flavonoids, triterpenes, volatile oil, sterols, tannins, mucilage, Minerals, vitamin A & C, iron, sambucin, anthocyanocides, pectin, sugar, fixed oils (linoleic, linolenic)
  • Leaves:  Cyanogenic glycosides
  • Bark: Lectins, tannins, baldrianic acid

Medicinal actions: 

Flowers:  mild diaphoretic, mild laxative, diuretic, alterative, demulcent, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, anticatarrhal, caminative, emetic, anti-inflammatory

Berries: diaphoretic, laxative, diuretic, anti-rheumatic, emunctory stimulant (all excretory organs or ducts), anti-neuralgic, alterative, carminative, emetic

Medicinal use: Is specific for the treatment of colds, and other acute infections with fever and hot dry skin, headache and nausea, rhinitis, asthma, croup, hay fever, conjunctivitis, rheumatism, pharyngitis, tonsilitis, and stomatitis. Sambucus flowers have anti-catarrhal action. Berries are good for joint diseases, allergic conditions (i.e. sinusitis, asthma), colds and coughs, diarrhea, and rheumatism.  The high content of vit. C in Sambucus berries potentiate these effects on collagen and mast cells.


  • Flavonoids may be responsible for the diaphoretic and diuretic effects.
  • Increases cytokine productions, strengthens cell membranes and protects against virus penetration.
  • Lectins in bark and cyanogenic glycosides in leaves are potentially toxic.


  • Flowers: Infusion: 2-4 tbsp/cup, TID. Dried: 2-4g, TID. Tincture: (1:2, 25%), 2-4ml, TID.
  • Berries: Decoction 1-2 tsp/cup, ½ cup TID.

Toxicity: No adverse effects expected.

Contraindications: None known.

Interactions: None reported.

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