History of Black Elderberry for Medicinal Use

 Elderberry is the dark purple berry from the European elder tree.  

The European elder (black elderberry, Sambucus nigra) is the species most often used in supplements. Sambucus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Adoxaceae. The different species of Sambucus are commonly called elderberry or elder. The berries and flowers of the elder plant are used as medicine.

Not unlike most herbs, elderberry has a long history of medicinal use.

In 400 BCE, Hippocrates referred to the elder tree as his "medicine chest." Other noted classical healers, including Theophrastus, Dioscorides and Galen, regarded the elder as one of nature's greatest healing plants. The herbalist Hildegard von Bingen in the 12th century, and the physician and author, Dr. Martin Blochwich in the 17th century, continued to extol its virtues. [1

Black elder have been used for centuries in Europe (French 1651), northern Africa, and some parts of Asia for such purposes as to keep the evil spirits away, and to boost the immune system. Early settlers brought some of this knowledge to America where a closely related plant, the American elder, could easily be found in the wild. Native Americans also have a tradition of using elderberry for its healing properties. While many of the reported effects lack adequate scientific validation, there are an increasing number of studies supporting important medicinal or therapeutic properties associated with American and black elders.

Despite this century old tradition, American elder remains relatively unknown to the public and the industry alike. In contrast, black elder production and processing are well established in Europe where an impressive array of food (pies, jellies, jams, wines…) and medicinal (supplements, extracts, syrups, lozenges…) products are available. The more extensive and ancient use of black elder is supported by a rich documentation; American elder has been much less studied. [2]

Elderberry medicine

In the early 20th century, British herbalist Maud Grieves provided a comprehensive review of the historical uses of black elder as a traditional medicine [].

Prior to popularity of Western Medicine, elderberry was found as one of the main ingredients in many preparations used by herbalists [], pharmacists, and physicians. Today, elderberry is employed as an alternative to conventional medicines and mainly in the form of an extract. [-].

Elderberry is often recommended for use as a complementary therapy together with the classic antioxidant nutrients, vitamin C and zinc, to support the natural process of recuperation [].

Bottle of Herbal Roots Black Elderberry


Herbal Roots uses only the highest quality ingredients. Our elderberry is not chemically processed and has no additives or fillers. There is also NO added sugar in our supplement. 

*This article is intended for informational purposes. The statements above have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.