Elder (Sambucus nigra L.)

The black elder is a widespread species in Eastern Europe. It is found in the undergrowth of deciduous forests, on the fringe of forests, next to agricultural areas and on uncultivated fallows. The fruit is a dark purple to black berry (stone fruit) of 5-8 mm in diameter; the berries of the same inflorescence do not ripen at the same time.


In some places it is called "beneficial tree", since all of its parts are of use to people. Folk medicine regards it as a "complete pharmacy". The infusion of its flowers is used as diuretic and diaphoretic for colds. Its antitussive effect was discovered in the previous century and it is still used as a medicament in Transylvania. Elder berry is made into curative jam used as a roborant and diaphoretic in case of colds. The berries have a slight laxative and diuretic effect. It is also applied in case of rheumatism. In traditional medicine its bark was used for making vermifugal tea.


In the beauty industry the water solution of fragrances in elder flower is used as a skin conditioner, the extract of the flowers is a skin conditioner, toner, roborant and abirritant, and the extract of the fruits is also a skin conditioner. Elderflower water is recommended for cleansing oily skin, or to be applied as a poultice for tired and baggy eyes as well as a mouth wash or aftershave. Products containing elder flower are highly effective for loose, aging, oil and moisture deficient skin, while flavonoid rich elder berries are beneficial to tired and stressed, aging skin.


Inflorescence (Sambuci flos)

Flavonoids: 2-3 % (rutin, quercetin, sambucin)
Saponins: (ursolic acid)
Chlorogenic acid
Cyano-glycoside (sambunigrin)
Essential oil: 0.1-0.2%

Fruit (Sambuci fructus)

Organic acids (malic acid, acetic acid)
Anthocyanins (sambucyanin)
Vitamins (A, C)
Tannins, sugars, essential oil

Leaf (Sambuci folium)

Sambunigrin glycoside