Few people know that an elderberry is of the greatest importance in human life, if properly used. You can find out about this in our article, in which we will consider the main useful properties and contraindication of this plant. So, let us begin!
The elderberry is a perennial woody plant belonging to the honeysuckle family. In other words, this plant is represented in the form of small bushes or trees, which can reach from 8 to 30 feet in height (true, 30 feet of height is very rare, and besides − only in cases when the tree is very old and almost does not bear fruits). The branches and trunk of the bush (or tree) are completely gray, and the elderberry leaves have an opposite and petiolate form. In the flowering period, the plant is crowned with small and fragrant flowers, a yellowish-white hue. The beginning of plants' flowering is May/June. As a result, the red or purplish-black berrylike fruits are appearing. The fruit's ripening period is mid-August/September.
As for the springing of this plant, then it has an almost universal distribution throughout the entire zone of the temperate-climatic belt. That is, elderberry can grow calmly on the territory of Europe, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, other countries falling into this zone all over the world.
By the way, in this material we describe the violet (or, as it is also called - black) elderberry. Since, there is also a red elderberry, which has toxic properties. Therefore, when using the elderberry, refrain from the red, unripe fruits. As they are not poisonous; however, they contain substances that are analogs to the substances of the red elderberry. Though, the difference of black elderberry lies in the fact that during ripening, these toxic substances are synthesized, splitting and turning into the useful minerals and salts.
In addition, the very useful and truly medicinal raw materials are considered the inflorescences of plants, which are also widely used in the folk-medicine. Less often − it is used the bark or branches of a plant, unless − as an aroma for teas and tinctures. However, preparing the elderberry and medicines based on it, you need to be extremely careful since this plant is very, very sensitive to the changes in moisture. Therefore, under the wrong storage conditions, they may lose its tint and at the same time their useful properties.
As for the inflorescences of this plant, they gather in the most active period of growth (you can even collect them a little immature). Also, a lot depends on how well the inflorescences are collected and dried. The main condition for this is that the inflorescences should be collected in a clear weather without precipitation, preferably at the high noon (between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.). The inflorescences are drying naturally − in the sun or in the shade, in principle, there is no difference. Similarly, you can dry and the plant's berries. The shelf life is about two-three years for the inflorescences, and not more than six months for the berries.
Some Words About Calories of Elderberry
As for the caloric volume of the elderberry, it is not more than 74 Kcal, so it will not become a problem or cause of the appearance of excessive pounds of the body weight. Therefore, elderberry can be included in the composition of various dishes, and relatively nutritional value we have the following indicators:
- proteins about 0.65 g;
- fats of about 0.5 g;
- carbohydrates as much as 11.5 g.
- water content for all this − about 80 g.
So, it is now more in detail about the elderberry beneficial properties and contraindications.
Useful Properties of Berries and Inflorescences
It is amazing, but there is really a very rich and wide chemical spectrum in the elderberry. And it is rich not only in the plant's berries of, but also in its inflorescences. So, the elderberry contains glycoside and its organic compounds, various organic acids, for example, valerian and coffee, acetic and malic acids and so on. There are and essential oils, carotene and tannins in the berries, in general, numerous of the chemical compounds, as it was said earlier.
Also, there are vitamins − in particular, it is vitamin C (about 50% of the total mass), provitamin A1, and vitamin D. Let us still look at the main useful properties of this fruit, as its chemical composition can be enumerated to infinity.
So, first, we are in a hurry to assure you that fruits, inflorescences and even elderberry's leaves can be used as salads, directly in fresh form. However, it must always be kept in mind that the fresh leaves and inflorescences can have a strong laxative effect, and also increase the diuretic effect. Various alcoholic infusions, which are useful in the diseases of cardiovascular system, to strengthen immunity and in general to combat colds are made from the elderberry's fruits juice. Very tasty and useful is considered a refreshing drink, prepared on the basis of the lemon juice and these berries. Do not forget that this juice contains many of the above substances, so this drink will also contribute to strengthening the organism.
The fruits of elderberry bring the body a healing power, and it does not matter − in the fresh or dried form. This elderberry is used today even as a means to fight against hepatitis, for the most peptic ulcers and, certainly, for their prevention. The elderberry helps and in a number of cases, associated with the neuralgia. A serious disease is the malaria, and there is not so many means for its treatment today. Therefore, the elderberry is one of such means with which help it is possible to recover from malaria or in considerable degree to weaken its action. Also, it is commonly believed that the medicinal properties of the elderberry help cope with the stomach or skin cancer that is, acts as an auxiliary mean in this case. With the stomach cancer, you just need to eat a jam made from elderberry and with the skin cancer, prepare the special extracts on a wine basis.
There are practically no elderberry's contraindications, the only thing you need to remember is not to eat the red berries of elderberry, and also the red elderberry sort, which has poisonous properties as we are mentioned above.
Recipes from Black Elderberry
Naturally, if this berry has such a huge number of useful properties, it has a lot of recipes. Therefore, let us take a look at a few recipes that can definitely be useful to each of us.
To make a face lotion is very, very simple. For this it is enough to take about 10-15 inflorescences of elderberry and pour them 17 oz of boiling water. After that, infuse the broth during a day. The next day, you filter out the lotion, and may use for your face. To store it is better in a refrigerator. And as to useful properties − the prescription will help keep a skin longer healthy and pure.
Jelly from Black Elderberry
For its preparation, it is necessary to prepare two pounds of berries, before cooking to rinse, remove out the tendrils. Put the berries into the enameled bowl and strew them with seven pounds of granulated sugar. Also, add about 1.5 pounds of the cold water and put on the medium heat. After an hour and a half, remove from heat and allow cooling (during cooking, stir it regularly). After, place them on a small fire and repeat the procedure twice more, only now for 40-45 minutes. Such jelly has a positive effect on the intestines, it normalizes the bile secretion and promotes the diuresis strength.