Celtic Name: Ruis (roo-ish)
Latin Name: Sambucus canadenis (for elderberry)
Folk Names: Eldrun, Lady Elder, Ellhorn, Sambucus, Hyldor, Hyllantree, Pipe Tree, Bore Tree, Bour Tree
Dates:November 25 – December 23
Parts Used: bark, flowers, leaves, berries
The bark of Elder has been used as a purgative when ingested. If ingested in large doses, it is used as an emetic. It has also been long used as a diuretic, and in aiding in renal and cardiac edema (when there is too much water content held between the cells or in body cavities). Ointments made of the green bark will aid with asthma symptoms and croup in young children.
The leaves can be used to make an ointment, “Unguentum Sambuci Viride”, or Green Elder Ointment, which is to be used on bruises, wounds, sprains, inflammation (especially to the hands and feet if exposed to cold and moisture, and as a soothing emollient.
The flowers can be used in a wide array of manners. Elder Flower Water is used as the foundation to eye and skin lotions as it has a mild astringent and stimulant properties. It has been used after sun bathing, and to get rid of freckles as it keeps the skin free from blemishes and fair. The flowers were also employed in bronchial and lung related illnesses such as measles and scarlet fever.Taken as a tea, it helps to bring on sweating and restful sleep to help one who is sick with a cold or flu to quickly get on the road to recovery.
Wine of the berries was used to aid in erysipelas (a deep-red inflammation of the skin or mucous membranes) and rheumatism. A tea made with the dried berries helps to ease diarrhea and colic.
General usages of Elder include: prosperity, luck, protection, healing, cleansing, spirituality, sleep, exorcism, Faery magic, and offerings. Wine made of the berries is considered to be a great aid in divination, prophecy and hallucinations. Twigs would be placed in head dresses to allow the seeing of spirits. It is used when one wishes to perform magic involving the Fae or Nature.
Elder has very strong protective qualities as well. If twigs are worn around the neck in a small bag, it is said they will protect from physical or psychic attack. Branches are hung in doorways to keep evil out. To bless someone or something, take the leaves and berries in hand and scatter them to the four directions, then over the person or thing.
Remember when you harvest of any tree or plant, give something in return. It can be an offering, water if the weather is dry, or even cleaning up any trash that has been left around it.