Elder. European elder flowers

Elder. European elder flowers

Elder. European elder flowers

Specification & Spread

Black elder flowers — flores sambuci nigrae
Black elder  — sambucus nigra l.
Honeysuckle family— caprifoliaceae
Other names: red berry, elder tree, elderberry.

It is a small tree or shrub 2-6 (10) m tall.
The stock is up to 30 cm in diameter with light brown longitudinally fissured bark.
First the young shoots are green, then brownish-black, with a large number of yellowish lentils. The core of the branches is white, soft. The head is rounded.
The leaves are petiolate, 20-30 cm long, opposite, unpaired, pinnatalisteous, with 5-7 ovate acuminate leaves with sharp-toothed edges.
The flowers are rather small, with a stern-wheeled wheel-shaped yellowish-white corolla, fragrant, gathered in large (up to 20 cm in diameter) flat apical corymbodico-paniculate inflorescences. The edge flowers are sessile, the rest – on the stalks. The fruit is a juicy, black-violet coenycarpate drupe with 2-4 wrinkled stones.

It blooms in May – July; the fruits ripen in August and hold, without crumbling, until the end of September. The plant propagates by seed. After cutting, there are well-restored pneumatic shoots. It grows on fertile soils.

Black elder – Sambucus nigra L. It is a shrub up to 7 m. There are white cichitus panicle, numerous, drooping yellowish-white, with yellow anthers. Red elder – Sambucus racemosa L. It is a shrub up to 2-4 m. There are brownish dense, ovate panicles in outline greenish, anthers.

Herbaceous elder – Sambucus ebulus L. It is a herbaceous perennial plant up to 2 m. There are no expressed agglomerous panicles, single, erect. First it is greenish, later yellowish-white.

Spreading. It is found mainly in the western, central and south-western regions of the European part of the country and in the Caucasus. Almost all industrial harvesting is carried out in Ukraine, where tens of tons of flowers can be prepared annually, as well as in the Stavropol Territory (Russia).

Habitat. It grows in the undergrowth of deciduous, rarely mixed and coniferous forests, along the edges and in thickets of bushes, in overgrown cutting areas, in tree plantations and forest belts. It is often found in settlements – in courtyards and gardens, where it grows in single specimens or in small groups.


The chemical composition of elder

Black elder flowers contain:

  • flavonoids (1.5-3.0%): quercetin, kaempferol and their glycosides – hyperoside, isoquercitrin, rutin, astragalin;
  • triterpenoids (alpha and beta amyrin, oleanolic and ursolic acids);
  • cyanogenic glycoside sambunigrin, hydrocyanic acid, benzaldehyde and glucose;
  • essential oil (0.27-0.32%);
  • phenolic (para-coumaric, chlorogenic) and organic acids (malic, acetic, and valeric).

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. During the flowering of plants before the beginning of the shedding of corolla (June – July), whole inflorescences are cut with secateurs. At a later harvest, the flowers darken when dried.

Security measures. When harvesting it is forbidden to break the branches of elder, as this leads to the destruction of thickets.

Drying. It is dried in attics or under sheds with good ventilation, putting inflorescences in one layer is no thicker than 1 cm on plain paper. The end of drying is determined by the fragility of the branches of the inflorescence. It can be dried in dryers with artificial heating at a temperature not higher than 40-50 °C. After drying, the inflorescences are threshed (usually manually, with sticks) and the flowers are separated from the twigs of the inflorescence and other impurities on the sieves or fanashes.

Storage. Elder raw materials easily dampen and moldy. Elder flowers are packed in boxes. It is stored on shelves in dry, dark and well-ventilated areas.

External signs of raw materials

Whole raw materials

The individual flowers and buds with or without short pedicle.
The flowers are with a diameter of up to 5 mm, with a weakly visible five-toothed stem-leaved cup and a corolla of 4-5 petals, fused at the base. There are 5 stamens, adherent to the corolla tube, ovary semi-lower, three-nest.
The color is yellowish. The smell is fragrant. The taste is spicy.


A mixture of particles passing through a sieve with holes of 2 mm diameter.
The colour fit rom yellowish green to grayish green.
The smell is fragrant. The taste is spicy.

Properties and application

The pharmacological properties of elder

Black elder flowers render:

  • diaphoretic (sambunigrin glycoside),
  • antifebrile,
  • diuretic,
  • laxative,
  • expectorant,
  • regulating carbohydrate metabolism,
  • sugar lowering action,
  • as well as general and local anti-inflammatory effects associated with the presence of rutin, which reduces the permeability of the vascular walls.

The flowers also possess:

  • weak disinfectant and
  • astringent properties.

The diaphoretic effect is associated with increased sensitivity of the centers that regulate sweating.

Application of elder

The infusion of elder flowers is used for:

  • catarrhal diseases,
  • flu,
  • bronchitis.

The preparations of elder flowers are prescribed:

  • with functional disorders of the liver and as a diuretic,
  • with some kidney diseases.
  • Gestation period;
  • diabetes insipidus;
  • crohn’s disease;
  • nonspecific ulcerative colitis.