History of elderberry :
Sambucus comes from the Greek word sambyx, the name for a red lead compound Mini, which resembles the red juice from fruits. Racemosus means clusters, the shape of the flowers and fruits. Ebulus is the Roman name of this type of elder. In the ancient times, elder was a symbol of death and birth, and was used for protection against evil forces, and witch allies. It was believed that burning elder wood was a sign of death. According to folk belief elder is connected to the underground world; by folk superstition, flutes made from elderberry could transmit messages from ‘’the other world’’, and elder tree tops were believed to be inhabited by ghosts, where individuals could call out to the underworld. It was believed that keeping an elder twig in your pocket protected you from rheumatism. Wine made from elder berries (which is really quite strong) was considered a fairy drink: the person who drank it, allegedly acquired the power to see fairies and was able to communicate with them. By the end of the nineteenth century, the wine from elderberry was found on the streets of London, where it was, in the cold winter days (and nights) sold to refresh and warm travelers and workers.
Healing properties of elderberry :
Elderberry was used as a medicinal herb in the time of Hippocrates, Pliny, Gallien and Heraclius. In ancient Rome, women dyed their hair with the juice from ripe berries – they would crush the dark purple berries to get the juice which gave their hair a beautiful reddish shine.
In our region and Europe, elder is one of the oldest and most effective healing plants. Also, parts of elder are edible. The elderberry tree (shrub) is an autumn tree which grows from 3 to 10 meters in height, and has a thick and light grey bark. The branches are hollow and woody, filled with a soft core. The leaves are light green, plumose, ovoid and pointy. The scented elder flowers are monoecious (have a strong and intense aroma) with petals of white or yellow. It blooms from April to June. The flowers pollinate the fruits, which are green at first, then go into a purple-red color, and eventually become completely black. The fruits are berries from 3-6 mm in size, containing 3 seeds and rich red juice. The natural habitats of elder trees are forest clearings, forest edges and are found along paths with settlements. Elder trees like a lot of light, moisture and permeable soil. The easiest way of propagating is with half ripe root cuttings in summer. The seed is often sown on its own.
Elderberry contains cyanogenic heterosis, which has a very strong antiviral effect, causing sweating, rutoside heterosis, essential oils, tannins, resins, invert sugar, organic acids, anthocyanins, choline and vitamin C. The bark and leaves contain an alkaloid sambunigrin and physic resins. The whole plant contains iron, potassium and sodium, while the fruits contain malic acid. Red elderberry forces strong outgrow from the stump and branches. Red Elderberry is commonly found in open areas and often in felling areas and forest fires, but also occurs in mountain forests, mostly in a belt of mixed beech and fir. It prefers sunny locations, although it can tolerate shade as well. Black Elderberry is resistant to low temperatures, likes moist and humus soil, and deep soil rich in nitrogen. It is found in bushes, hedges and on the edges of forests.
Recipes for the use of elderberry :
- For enhancing urination: You need 30 grams of elder flowers, parsley fruit and juniper (Juniperus), and 10 grams of fennel. Take three tablespoons of this mixture, pour half a litre of boiling water over it, cover it and leave overnight. You can drink one cup, three times a day, before meals.
- For easing the cough of phlegm: You need 30 grams of elder flowers and 20 grams of marshmallow blossoms and fennel. Take three tablespoons of this mixture, pour 400 grams of boiling water over it, cover it for two hours, then drink a large spoon (warm), every two hours.
- Against the “whooping cough”: You need 20 grams of elder flowers, drosera, sweet chestnut leaves, plantain and thyme. Take three tablespoons of this mixture, pour 400 grams of boiling water over it, cover it for two hours, then drink a large spoon (warm), every two hours.
- For the treatment of conjunctivitis: You need five decagrams of dried elder flowers which are put in one litre of cold water. Let that sit for ten minutes, then gradually warm up the water. When it boils, turn off stove, cover the water and let cool for about fifteen minutes, then strain. The lukewarm tea should be placed on the eyes. This prepared tea can also be inhaled if you have a sore throat or if vocal cords are damaged.
- Against tonsillitis: Elderberry juice is used in many cultures, because of its antiviral effects, and also helps with the flu.
- For fever sweating: A lukewarm tea from elder flowers is enough, because it contains a substance that improves sweating: 1/7 litres of boiling water is poured over two teaspoons of elder flowers, which is then left covered for ten minutes. It is then strained and can be drunk, sip by sip, throughout the day.
Our plantation :
Our plantation is designed in such a way that we have, taken in mind the density of seedlings due to planned elder tree forms and varieties vigour 5x4m, selected a form of trees with different genetic structures, in order to find out which growing methods and breeding type of elder gives the maximum yield and which is optimal for our microclimate. We are slowly developing our own seedling production of elderberry cultivars “Haschberg”, which is the only commercial variety on the market so far. The results have proved to be a very suitable variety for growing in our climate.