Elderflower – the flower of the Eldertree has been documented in medical handbooks and scientific literature dating back to the time of the Ancient Greeks. Elderflower is of value as both a flavouring agent in food and as a treatment for the common cold. In manufacturing, elderflower extracts are used in perfumes.
An extract of the flower is used to make medicine.
Elderflower contains flavonoids, triterpenes, volatile oils, caffeic acid derivatives and sterols. The main components are quercetin, rutin, isoquercitrin, kaempferol, astragalin, nicotiflorin and hyperoside.
Elderflower is prescribed to:
- Soothe the symptoms of allergies, such as swollen sinuses and rhinitis.
- Ease symptoms of colds, flu and bronchitis, such as congestion, fever, inflammation, headaches and swollen glands.
- Act as a diuretic, easing bloating caused by fluid retention.
Flora Force Products containing Elderflower
Domestic & culinary uses
Ingredients (serves 4):
1 kg sugar
1.5 litres boiling water
4 medium lemons, washed
30 large elderflower heads, shaken to remove any insects
55g citric acid (available from your pharmacy and many supermarkets)
- Place the sugar and boiling water into a large saucepan. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool.
- Grate the rind of the lemons with a fine grater and add to the sugar water. Slice the lemons thickly and add to the mixture.
- Add the citric acid and stir, then add the flower heads. Stir well to mix.
- Cover the saucepan with a clean cloth and leave to steep in a cool place for 48 hours.
- Strain the mixture into a clean bowl through clean fine muslin cloth. Using a funnel, pour the cordial into sterilised bottles.
- Seal and store in a cool, dark place (not the refrigerator) for a few weeks.
- Dilute with still or sparkling water to serve. The cordial can also be used to flavour cocktails, as well as ice creams and other sweet dishes.
The elder is a deciduous, tall-growing tree that bears aromatic flowers in early summer. The species grows well in summer-rainfall areas where winters are cold. It will grow in other areas, provided it is kept well watered in summer. It is not suited to the humid areas of KwaZulu-Natal.
- By Karduelis (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
- By Jim Champion from Southampton, UK (Elderflower cordial) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons