Elder Flowers

Scientific Name:  Sambucus nigra
Common Names:  elder, mother elder, elderberries, elderflowers
Family:  Caprifoliaceae-Honeysuckle Family


  • sweat-inducing for fevers
  • encourage circulation, colds and flu
  • bronchial and upper-respiratory
  • allergy and hay fever
  • eye wash
  • tonsillitis and sore throat
  • mild laxative
  • rheumatism and gout
  • inflammation

The Elder, with its flat-topped masses of creamy-white, fragrant blossoms, followed by large dropping bunches of purplish-black, juicy berries, is a familiar object along roadsides, hedgerows, and open ditches along country roads.

Everyone has seen them, even if they can’t identify this plant.  It’s said that summer starts when the elder’s flowers appear, and ends when its berries are ripe in late August.

Elder flower can be dried for later use.  There are several ways to benefit from this healing flower.  They can be made into a tea, tincture, champagne, cordial, wine, sorbet, jam, vinegar, and fritter.

Got inflammation?  Make this simply remedy with fresh or dried elder flowers.  I used dried flowers in this recipe.

Anti-Inflammatory Infused Oil

Use this anti-inflammatory oil with elder flowers on everything that looks swollen and inflamed, including diaper rash and other rashes, bites, sprains, knees, etc.


dried elder flowers or fresh flowers

enough carrier oil to cover

Note:  I’m using dried flowers because that’s what I have on hand.

If using fresh flowers, pull all the flowers off the stems.  Any amount of flowers will work, the more you have, the more finished product.

Sterilize a glass jar that will hold your flowers, a canning jar works great.  Place your flowers in the jar and cover flowers with your choice of carrier oil.  I like sweet almond oil, coconut oil, or olive oil.  You can use any oil in any combo.

If you’re using dried flowers, you can twice the amount of oil because dried is more concentrated than fresh and it will need more oil to hydrate.

Using a sterilized spoon, lightly stir the mixture until all the air bubbles are removed. Make sure all the flowers are under the oil.  Cover with a tight lid.  Label and date, so you won’t forget (like me).

Let set for two weeks in a dark cabinet, giving it a good shake every day if possible.  At the end of two weeks, pour the oil and flowers through a coffee filter or other filter to remove all the flowers.  Store your infused oil in a sterilized glass jar in a dark cool place. Again, label and date your jar.

Your infused oil is now ready to use.  Rub the elder flower oil on anything swollen and inflamed.  It’s always a good idea to test a little before spreading on a large area.  Just because you may not be allergic to something, doesn’t mean your child is the same.  Dot a little on the inside of the arm where it’s soft, and if nothing shows up in an hour, it’s safe to use.

Homemade Herbal Salve

You may want to make a salve instead.  Warm the infused oil and add beeswax.  You can warm on the stove in a double boiler, an electric candle warmer in a glass jar, or in the micro-oven.

I like this recipe and it works using any infused oil:

3 parts oil to 1 part beeswax for a soft salve (or 2 parts beeswax for a harder salve)


3 tablespoons infused oil to 1 tablespoon beeswax

3/4 cup infused oil to 1/4 cup beeswax

When the beeswax is melted, pour in a container or balm pot.  Allow to cool, and its ready to use.  Rub away the aches!

Caution:  Do not ingest or use the leaves, bark, or roots.  Do not ingest or use the red or green berries.  Always cook the black berries, never eat raw.

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