How to Grow and Cultivate Elder
Elder, and its fruit elderberry, has been used as a medicine for flu for a long time and it has gained its reputation as a tasty fruit too.
Both the flower and the berries are used for medicinal purposes, though it is strongly advised to cook the berries before using them, as raw berries have properties similar to cyanide poison.
Elder is generally found in Europe, Africa, parts of Asia and even North America. Of its many species, Sambucus nigra, the European Elder, is the most commonly used type for medical purposes.
The plant can grow up to 30 feet tall in dry or moist soil. The wood of the tree is white and easy to cut, and hence, is quite popular for making small objects. And the flowers are pretty enough to find a spot in a fancy garden!
Cultivation of Elder
The ideal soil to grow Elder is one with pH 5.5 to 6.5 and also moist, fertile and well drained, but it does not mind having other values of acidity, fertility or texture. If you have heard the rumor that elder prefers swamped spots, you should be aware that it is totally wrong. Elder is intolerant of bad drainage.
So here is the method for planting elder.
- Plant seeds in the spring.
- It is suggested to plant them as soon as they are available, in the nursery. Waiting too long will kill the seeds.
- Elder is really fond of fertilizers, so add compost to the soil before sowing.
- Plant the seeds 6 to 10 feet apart. Remember to leave about ¼ inch soil over the seeds.
- You have to annually add fertilizer at early spring. One pound of ammonium nitrate for each plant is a good amount.
Tips on Growing Elder
- Elder have shallow roots, so in the first season, you have to keep them well-watered. Also, as mentioned earlier, a good drainage system is a must.
- They should be weeded regularly, or there is the threat of elder plants taking up all the garden.
- Through the roots, elder will grow more plants. You can dig them up and replace to another spot or just mow them if you do not require more.
Medicinal Uses of Elder
Elder is known to be one of the most useful medicinal herbs around and true to its reputation, it acts as a cure to many illness. It is an antioxidant, laxative, diaphoretic and anti-inflammatory properties among others have contributed to its fame in the medical world. It has been used in medicine in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa in the past.
Cold – For the common cold, elderberries are very effective. Elderberry tea is an effective method to counter coughs and sore throats.
Flu – Flu is not much of a challenge for this wonderful herb. Elder is thought to dampen the virus’ ability to affect the cells.
Infections – Elder can fight bacterial and viral infections quite effectively.
Immunity – It helps to boost your immune system and improve your vision considerably if consumed regularly.
Heart – Elder is great when it comes to reducing cholesterol. Its antioxidant property comes really helpful in here and keeps the heart strong and cholesterol-free.
Under research – Studies show that elder might be effective against inflammation of the bladder and the urinary tract, bronchitis, HIV and cancer.