Now is a perfect time to forage these fragrant flowers

Elderflowers are from the Elder tree (Sambucus) which is currently in bloom. Now is a perfect time to forage these fragrant flowers. It is best to gather the flowers in the morning in the bright sunshine when the flowers are more fragrant and their healing properties are more potent.

Both the flowers and berries in the Elder plant can be used when properly prepared, but all leaves, sticks, and roots should be avoided as these can be toxic. Most people have heard the benefits of elderberries and seen syrups etc on the shelves of your health store, eg. Sambucol Elderberry syrup. But most people don’t realise that the flowers also have many health benefits.

What are the health benefits of the Elder plant

The blossoms (with the stems cut off) can be infused in water to make a tea or cold drink for the following benefits:

  • Sinuses and Seasonal Allergies: Elderflowers have anti-catarrhal properties helping to reduce that blocked up feeling caused by excess mucus in the sinuses. As Elderflower is anti-microbial it can alleviate some allergies and boost the immune system. The most abundant flavonols (anti-oxidants) in elderflower are quercetin, isoquercitrin and anthocyanins, which have antiviral properties and behave like a natural antihistamine.

  • Healthy Blood: Elderflower infusion has diuretic and laxative properties which supports the detoxification pathways, leading to a healthy blood supply. For this reason, Elderflower is an excellent tonic.

  • Anti-inflammatory: Elderflower contains Ursolic Acid, a natural compound found in a variety of fruit and vegetables. It is said to be anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer. Used as a poultice or in the bath, the flower can reduce pain in arthritis and ease inflamed, irritated skin. A pad soaked in Elderflower water and placed over the eyes is very soothing for irritated eyes, especially when pollen is prevalent in the air.

Elderflower Cordial

I’ve been making Elderflower cordial on and off for many years for my family. It makes a really delicious refreshing drink and a great thirst burster. Sparkling water added to it makes a lovely healthy fizzy drink. Or for a special occasion a little gin! Below is the recipe I follow.

Elderflower Cordial Recipe

1.5kg sugar

1.5 L water

25 elderflowers (no stems)

3 sliced lemons

Dissolve the sugar and water and bring to boil until all sugar dissolved.

Place the elderflowers and lemons in a large bowl and pour over the sugar water. Leave for 24 hours to infuse.

Strain the liquid through muslin to remove lemons and elderflowers.

Bottle in clean and sterilised bottles, label with name and date and keep in fridge for 2 weeks.

Use less sugar if preferred.

An easier option to get some delicious, healthy Elderflower Cordial Belvoir Elderflower Cordial. Cheers!

Blog written by Wendy, one of our in store Nutritional Therapists in our Wexford Store