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European elder

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elderberry elderberry

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European elder, Sambucus nigra is a species complex of flowering plants in the family Adoxaceae, native to most of Europe. Common names include elder, elderberry, black elder, European elderberry and European black elderberry, it grows in a variety of conditions including both wet and dry fertile soils, primarily in sunny locations.
It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 6 m tall and wide (rarely 10m tall). The bark, light grey when young, changes to a coarse grey outer bark with lengthwise furrowing. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, 10–30 cm long, pinnate with five to seven leaflets, the leaflets 5–12 cm long.
The hermaphrodite flowers are borne in large, flat corymbs 10–25 cm diameter in mid summer, the individual flowers ivory white, 5–6 mm diameter, they are pollinated by flies.
The fruit is a glossy dark purple to black berry 3–5 mm diameter, produced in drooping clusters in late autumn, they are an important food for many fruit-eating birds, notably blackcaps.
The dark blue/purple berries can be eaten when fully ripe but are mildly poisonous in their unripe state. All green parts of the plant are poisonous, containing cyanogenic glycosides. The berries are edible after cooking and can be used to make jam, jelly, chutney and Pontack sauce.
The flowerheads are commonly used in infusions, giving a very common refreshing drink in Northern Europe and Balkans. Commercially these are sold as elderflower cordial, etc. In Europe, the flowers are made into a syrup or cordial (in Romanian: Socată, in Swedish: fläder(blom)saft), which is diluted with water before drinking. The popularity of this traditional drink has recently encouraged some commercial soft drink producers to introduce elderflower-flavoured drinks (Fanta Shokata, Freaky Fläder). The flowers can also be dipped into a light batter and then fried to make elderflower fritters. In Scandinavia and Germany, soup made from the elder berry (the German Fliederbeersuppe) is a traditional meal.
Both flowers and berries can be made into elderberry wine, and in Hungary an elderberry brandy is made that requires 50 kg of fruit to produce 1 litre of brandy. In south-western Sweden, it is traditional to make a snaps liqueur flavoured with elderflower. Elderflowers are also used in liqueurs such as St. Germain and a mildly alcoholic sparkling elderflower 'champagne'.
This plant is traditionally used as a medicinal plant by many native peoples and herbalists alike. Stembark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and root extracts are used to treat bronchitis, cough, upper respiratory cold infections, fever. In a placebo-controlled, double-blind study, black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) was shown to be effective for treating Influenza B. People using the elderberry extract recovered much faster than those only on a placebo.
A small study published in 2004 showed that 93% of flu patients given extract were completely symptom-free within two days, those taking a placebo recovered in about six days. This current study shows that it works for type A flu. Elderberry flowers are sold in Ukrainian and Russian drugstores for relief of congestion, specifically as an expectorant to relieve dry cough and make it productive. The dried flowers are simmered for 15 minutes, the resulting flavorful and aromatic tea is poured through a coffee filter. The flowers can be used to make an herbal tea as a remedy for inflammation caused by colds and fever.

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50 seeds
Read 10173 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:47
45.00 HRK
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