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Immune System

Constantly Coughing? 

Elderberry Wants to Support You!

The elderberry tree has a long history with human use. It grows in North America, Europe, and Asia. It is apart of the genus Sambucus, derived from the Greek “sambuke”, a musical pipe. Historically, various Native American tribes like the Creek, Cherokee, Mikasuki, and Seminole used its creamy white wood and easily pierced pith for piercing elk whistles, eagle and hawk calls, and medicinal hollow blow pipe for herbal remedies. Elder wood was often soaked in the berry juice to diminsh its bitter taste. The Pueblo people of the Southwest used elderberry to make ceremonial wands and other valuble items for sacred dances. Slovakian flutes called the fujara and koncovka were also made with elder wood (Barrie Kavasch). 


Aside from its uses as a musical instrument, it has been used as medicine and is finally getting some research by Western science. “Sambucus nigra L. products - Sambucol - are based on a standardized black elderberry extract. They are natural remedies with antiviral properties, especially against different strains of influenza virus. Sambucol was shown to be effective in vitro against 10 strains of influenza virus. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, Sambucol reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days. The full study can be found here:

Here are some facts about elderberry’s medicinal properties according to Healthline Magazine:

  • High in vitamin C: There are 6–35 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit, which accounts for up to 60% of the recommended daily intake.

  • High in dietary fiber: Elderberries contain 7 grams of fiber per 100 grams of fresh berries, which is over one-quarter of the recommended daily intake.

  • A good source of phenolic acids: These compounds are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce damage from oxidative stress in the body.

  • A good source of flavonoids: Elderberry contains the antioxidant flavonols quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin. The flowers contain up to 10 times more flavonoids than the berries.

  • Rich in anthocyanins: These compounds give the fruit its characteristic dark black-purple color and are a strong antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects

You should always practice sustainable harvesting when harvesting elderberry or anything else from nature. This also includes safe harvesting, so do not harvest from plants growing along busy streets and freeways, because the plant can absorb a lot of heavy metals and nitrogen from car emissions.  Please do not harvest anything from culturally significant sites such as the Chumash Hertiage Garden on campus.

“As time goes on we live more and more in our own dream and less and less within the dream of nature.


Dualism is the proto-dream underlying clock time and all our modern dreaming. Dualism might be defined as the illusion that there are two discreet principles in the universe: self and other. Dualism implies isolation, conflict and a continuous struggle of opposing forces. … The dualistic dream engenders an endless procession of conflict, aggression, and destruction as each “solution” creates new problems to be attacked.

This is the most important difference between the dream of man and the dream of nature: nature dreams of unity and bliss, while man dreams of isolation and violence. Humans need unity and bliss to maintain their health of spirit. The dualistic dream starves the spirit and gives rise to the gamut of illnesses of the body and soul. The job of medicine, then, is to nourish the spirit by bringing people into the source of well-being--the dream of nature.”


- Plant Spirit Medicine, pg 55.

Try this Elderberry Tincture Recipe: Natural Treatment for the Cold and Flu

Recipe by Lauren ArcuriThe Spruce

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