Sambucus nigra

Classified as a shrub but can look like a tree. The dark green leaves are compound and serrated with multitudes of fragrant tiny white flowers. The flowers develop into shiny, dark purple berries in late summer.

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Elderberry is a key herb in Kids

Habit and cultivation: Native to Europe, Asia and Northern Africa, and naturalised in America. Tolerates relatively poor soil and is often found growing as part of the underbrush in woods and forests.

Actions (known for): Anti-catarrhal, anti-viral, anti-oxidant, immune modulator and diaphoretic.


Well documented in its use medicinally throughout the Middle Ages for restoring good health and longevity. Hippocrates referred to this shrub as ‘nature’s medicine chest’. The Latin nigra means black and refers to the berries.

Parts used:

Flowers and berries.

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Flavonoids including: rutin, quercetin and kaempferol. Phenolic acids: caffeic, chlorogenic and p-coumaric. Triterpenes, volatile oils, mucilage, sterols, and tannins. Leaves contain sambunigrin.

Nutritional constituents:


Boosts immunity during viral infections, sinusitis, influenza, colds and flu and fever.


Liquid extract: (1:@) 20-40ml per week. Dried herb: 6-12g daily.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Cautions for therapeutic doses

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