Sambucus nigra is a variety of the elder tree native to UK, Europe, North Africa and Western Asia and has naturalised in many forested and temperate parts of the world.
They are popular ornamental shrubs, valued for their flowers and berries, both of which are popular in drinks, food and traditional medicines.
Elder has been called ‘people's medicine chest’ by many of the nations using its fruit, flowers and various ointments made from them.
It is best to collect the flowers when the clusters are wide open, fresh and full of pollen.
Infusions and soothing waters made from elderflowers have been used to soften skin, treat acne, blemishes, rashes and sunburn. There are old recipes that use elderflower water to “fade freckles and wrinkles.”
The herb is astringent and contains a substance called eldrin, a bioflavonoid also known as rutin or vitamin P.
Vitamin P is important for proper functioning of our blood vessels and helps to soothe weak capillaries and prevent bleeding. This vitamin is known to support our natural immune system, act as a natural anti-inflammatory agent, aid in wound healing and in the absorption of vitamin C.
We use elderflower in various forms - either raw or as a decoction, infusion and so on - whenever we want to use its soothing, softening and symbolically supernatural qualities.
We use an elderflower decoction in our Fresh Farmacy facial cleanser to soothe troubled skin.