Elderberry (Jie Gu Mu)

Botanical Name: Sambucus (Sambucus nigra)

Elderberry has a long and distinguished history in Europe and the West as a medicine, beverage and for protecting against evil spirits.

Below is an overview of elderberry, combining and interpreting the best of Western science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), shamanism, folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of elderberry.

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Western Name: Elderberry

Also Known As: Elder, Elder Mother

Organs/Systems: Lung, Immunity

Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Antioxidant, lowers cholesterol, boosts immunity, for coughs, flu and infections (bacterial and viral). Mildly Laxative, Diuretic and Diaphoretic. Boosts production of cyktokines (the protein messengers that help regulate immune response).


Pin Yin: Jie Gu Mu

Also Known As: N/A

Meridians: Lung, Kidneys, Bladder

Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Release Exterior/Clear Heat: cause sweating. Resolve Damp: phlegm, headaches, colds, flu, sore throat, tonsillitis. Tonify Lungs/Expel Phlegm: bronchial asthma, TB, pneumonia. Promote Urination/Resolve Swellings: edema, urinary stones, arteriosclerosis, swollen lymph. Clear Heat/Reduce Inflammation: urinary tract infections (UTI’s), sore throat, eye infections, skin eruptions. Promote lactation.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

5-30 species of shrubs/small trees in moschatel family, Adoxaceae. Native to subtropical regions both in the northern and southern hemispheres. Fast growing. They bear large clusters of small white cream-colored flowers in late spring, followed by clusters of small blue-black or red berries in late summer.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Flowers, Ripe Berries Edible.

Flavors: Sweet, Warming.

Caution: None noted.

History/Folklore: Used for hundreds of years to ward off evil and protect against witches. You will be cursed if you cut or burn down the “elder mother” as she would be released and take her revenge on you. St Germaine French liquor is made from elderberries as is Swedish aquavit. Antathocyanins found in elderberries possesses more antioxidant capacity than either vitamin E or C.

Key Constituents:

Bioflavonoids, organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, sugar, rutin, vitamin A and B, and large amounts of vitamin C.

Did you know?

Potter's Wand

Elderberry was used to make Harry Potter’s wand.


Bird Food

Very valuable as a bird food.

Fun fact!

Used By Watchmakers

The pith of elder is used by watchmakers for cleaning tools before starting intricate work.


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ATTENTION: All material provided on this website is for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your healthcare professional or physician. Redistribution permitted with attribution. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Whole. Be Free.

ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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