European elder is a tree native to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa, and it also grows in the United States. The dried flowers (elder flower) and the cooked blue/black berries (elderberry) of the European elder tree are used in teas, liquid extracts, and capsules.

Sambucus nigra (elder) was reported to have a number of potentially useful medicinal attributes including diuretic, diaphoretic, purgative and hemostatic properties (Chiej 1988Lust 1986). In addition, it was advocated as an effective traditional remedy for diabetes in Europe (Atkinson 1979Palaiseul 1983).

The traditional antidiabetic plant elder contains water-soluble components capable of stimulating insulin secretion and enhancing muscle glucose uptake and metabolism. Sambucus nigra therefore represents a possible dietary adjunct for the treatment of diabetes and a potential source for the discovery of new orally active agent(s) for future diabetes therapy.

What are the active components of European elder?

Elder flowers contain a number of established natural products including lectin, the flavenoid rutin, choline tannin and lipophilic triterpenoid and sterol compounds such as lupeol and β-sitosterol (Shoaib et al. 1972Willuhn and Richter 1997).

What elderberry is used for?




-clean blood


-skin conditions

-flu, colds, fevers

– relieve nasal congestion


-sinus infections

-reduce inflammation

-reduce blood pressure

-support and stimulate the immune system (berries contain antioxidant flavonids)

-relieve rheumatic symptoms

-has diuretic effect

Possible side effects:

Uncooked or unripe elderberries are toxic and cause nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea. Only the blue/black berries of elder are edible. Because of elder flower’s possible diuretic effects, use caution if taking it with drugs that increase urination.Tell all your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use.

Source: J Nutr. 2000 Jan;130(1):15-20., NCCAM, fotó. Pixabay