Elderberries Smell like Canned Peas!

Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Herbal Medicine, On the farm

After harvesting nearly 2 gallons of elderberries this weekend, this line from Monty Python’s Holy Grail came to mind…”Your mother’s a hamster and you father smells of elderberries!” We have a new appreciation of what raw elderberries smell like…canned peas. Like most berries you expect a nice fragrant sweet smell, but no not elderberries. Besides the raw berry smell they taste great when preserved as jam, tincture, glycerite, or even in wine!

We decided to make medicine from our harvest.

We decided to split the harvest and make glycerite version (alcohol-free) and a tincture (alcohol based extraction).  (for more on how to do this sign up for one of our herbal medicine classes)
What the heck do you use elderberries for?

Traditionally and supported by research…
Some of the main uses of elderberry include a massive antioxidant activity, assist in lowering cholesterol, improves vision, boost the immune system, improves heart health, and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis.

How does elderberry do this? The bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell.

Nutritionally elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.

If you were to do a search on the use of elderberry on www.pubmed.com you would find a huge archive of research supporting the various uses of elderberry.  I dare you to take a look!

Suggested Dosing

1 Tbsp (15ml) 3-4 times daily for colds for 5-7 days

Possible Side Effects include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  (mainly stemming from raw or unripe fruit consumption)

Not recommended in pregnancy.


Disclaimer:  This blog is not to replace any professional medical advice.


Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com