Medicinal Herb - Elderberry Flowers

     We are just starting (2-3 weeks late) the elderberry bloom  here in Northeastern Wisconsin.  Now is the time when you are riding down the back roads, to mark the wild elderberry patches.  You'll get good at it --- to the point where you will be saying,  "oh there's some, but, I can't get to it! :-(."   Make your mental notes on the places you can get to, so you can go pick the berries this fall.  If the patch is further in than the ditch, please get permission from the land owner.  Perhaps offer him some wine or elderberry pie :-).

     Elderberry flowers are medicinal. I dried some last year for the first time.  I never did make tea out of it.  It ended up being chicken food. ..... I should have used it when I had that nasty cold.  Elderberry flower is suppose to get rid of all that upper respiratory phlegm just like mullein does.  It also helps with fevers, making it a great flu remedy.  I know that's what was in the back of my head for keeping it and then I never did get the flu...yea!  I'm drying more this year, specifically in case of flu.  If I had small children I would use elderberry flowers.  Probably using the tea in some jello....any way I could convince them to eat it.  (That's what I would do, you have to decide for yourself.)

     Once you get used to identifying elderberry flowers, you won't make any mistakes gathering the wrong thing.  However, if this is your first year checking this all out, you might want to make your mental notes and make sure it is elderberries that grow on that bush later.  Then next year harvest the flowers.  Here's my same need to get a good field guide.

This is NOT Elderberry Flower (not the kind we eat)
This is the red elderberry that bloomed about 3-4- weeks ago.
It's not a "flat" enough flower head.

.....again, NOT elderberry flower.
Red elderberry will give you a tummy ache.

Elderberry Flower
This is the elderberry flower you want to pick.
Notice how much more "flat" the flower head is.

Elderberry Flower just starting to bloom.

NOT elderberry flower.
Even though this is a bad picture, I think you can see that the flower heads are too small.
This is dogwood.  It flowered about 2 weeks ago.
Patches of dogwood from a distance can look like elderberry,
but up close, not so much.  Right now the dogwood and red elderberry are done blooming,
so anything you are marking as a patch, will probably be elderberry.

     Dry the whole flower head on some paper towel.  When dry, just crumble the flowers off of the stem.  Store in a glass jar, out of the light.  A handful of dried flowers to 3 quarts of water.  Bring it to just before a boil, take it off the burner and let it steep.  I would drink 3-4 cups over the day.


The information on this blog is being provided for education purposes only. Statements about the possible health benefits provided by any foods or diet have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare provider with all questions concerning your health.

.....dr momi

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Roxey Lucey said...

Mine aren't blossoming :-( yet. I trimmed the bush by the house way down -- maybe next year. And the ones I bought before I knew I had one are growing like weeds, but not big enough yet. Remind me next year!!!!

dr momi said...

Watch for it on your walk Roxey, I'm sure you'll see some.

Candy C. said...

I have one elderberry bush but don't ever seem to get berries. Do I need two bushes for pollination? I also have mullein growing EVERYWHERE! LOL!! Someone gave me some plants a few years back and I made the mistake of letting one go to seed, it was 6 feet tall and just beautiful!

dr momi said...

Hi Candy C. ......Yes, you do need another for pollination! I have a tame elderberry in the yard and just across the driveway a wild one is growing. They seem to pollinate each other just fine. Mullein everywhere is exactly what I was warning people about. Mullein is very pretty in the garden, but, watch out for the seeds :-)

Teresa said...

Very interesting. I love learning about all the different uses for the various flowers/herbs.

dr momi said...

Stay tuned Teresa -- we'll be doing a lot more!

laughwithusblog said...

Yum. I would love to try it!

A Heritage From The Lord said...

I just found a huge elderberry patch about 20 minutes from my home, so this information is super helpful, I have been wondering what to do with the flowers..

Manuela@A Cultivated nest said...

It's a beautiful flower as well as being useful. I planted two different varieties last month and they are just now getting some leaves!