Thursday, September 20, 2012

Elderberries for health

Not too long ago, my Hubby came down with a yucky cold, the kind that creeps into your chest and lasts for weeks.....I was NOT going to get it.
I have been reading a great deal about elderberries, and they apparently grow wild in many parts of the US. But, they do not grow wild here.
Many years ago, a friend that I worked with gave me a jar of elderberry jam. It was fantastic. Little did I know that it was so healthy.
When my Hubby got sick, I went to the health food store and bought a jar of elderberry extract in a capsule and followed the directions, and proceeded to give it to Hubby as well.
I did not get sick, and about the time he said it was going into his chest, it stopped. He never coughed during the night and it just simply stopped.
A year ago, when I started reading about elderberries, I started looking to buy a plant. You cannot buy elderberry plants in CA. Don't ask me why. No nursery carries them. So, I got one on ebay.
The man who sold it to me gave me instructions, I followed them...it died.
So, I contacted him and he sent me another.
It is now about 8 feet tall. From a 2 foot stick, to a very large bush/tree.
I have enjoyed watching it grow all summer. The flowers are a healthy boost too and can be used as a tea.
Now there are also many cautions to use only the one black berry, never the red berry elderberry. So, before you get out there an harvest or buy, be sure to study up on it.....
However, we now have a cold therapy pharmacy in our backyard.
Sambucus
It has been used in cough syrups for centuries and the American Indians used it before we ever got here.
It is not recommended to eat it raw, it must be cooked or infused in some way....mostly because it is incredibly bitter raw. Red ones are poisonus, be sure it is black.

Here are some pictures of the parts I cut off. Those little green berries turn the most delight shade of dark purple/black.
See the one little berry?
On one of the blogs I came across, she puts the little clusters in the freezer until she has enough. Putting them into the freezer makes it much easier to get the little tiny berries off without totally staining your fingers and wasting the fruit.
Now, this is the first year of berries for us, and not as many got fertilized as we hoped, but there are some and they are being collected.
It is, I have to admit, one of my many garden experiments. I know so little. It was first put into a pot (because I was told it was a bush) and it has successfully pushed its taproot into the adobe soil through the pitiful pot. So, in short I will keep you posted as learn more.
Bottom line? Elderberries are important for keeping us healthy. Good for tea, jams, and cordials as well as cough syrup.
Here is to a healthy year!
And as I learn more, I will share. Isn't that what blogging is about??
Have a great day.
Nancy

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