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Elderflowers Su Bristow

Elderflowers are coming into full bloom now, almost the last of the trees to blossom before midsummer.

You can pick as much as you like, and still leave plenty to give a good berry crop in the autumn. The elder tree (Sambucus nigra) is practically a medicine chest all by itself.

A fellow herbalist did some research and came up with 43 different uses: most medicinal, some practical and some just plain wonderful

Leaves, flowers and fruit are all valuable healing tools, but the flowers in particular are an excellent remedy for the common cold. They are warming and moisturising, helping sore throats, chest infections and blocked sinuses to resolve – and elderflower tea tastes lovely, too. Make elderflower cordial or wine to keep for later, as well. Rub the leaves on your skin to repel midges and mosquitos.

Hang branches above your door to keep away lightning and witchcraft. Even make elderflower fritters if you must, but don’t let them go to waste.

EDITOR: Su has an excellent Herb Handbook available to purchase direct from her website or via Amazon.

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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