Sambucus nigra

Sambucus nigra, “Elder” or “Elderberry” in English, “Sureau” in French, belongs to the Adoxaceae botanical family. It is a shrub growing 6 m tall at a fast rate.

Native throughout Europe, West and Central Asia and North Africa, it grows in hedgerows, scrub, woods, roadsides and waste places.

Its flowers and berries are used in culinary preparations and for the making of beverages.

It is used medicinally as a diaphoretic in feverish chills, often in combination with lime flowers. In folk medicine, it is also used in the preparation of gargles.

The essential oil (0.03 to 0.14%) of its flowers is mainly constituted of free fatty acids, mostly palmitic acid; flavonoids, mainly flavonols and their glycosides with mostly rutin and also isoquercitrin, hyperoside, astragalin (kaempferol-3-glucoside) and quercitrin; chlorogenic acid, p-coumaric acid, caffeic and ferulic acids and their B-glucose esters; mucilage, tannins. Specific anthocyanidins are cyanidin-3-sambubiosides.

  • English name Elder
  • French name Sureau
Sambucus nigra