Alan Chadwick a Gardener of Souls

Lecture by Alan Chadwick in New Market, Virginia, 1979


Lecture 14: Sambucus, The Elder Berry

An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms




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There are various sambucus, but sambucus nigra is the principle one. It is easy to grow and commonly found in hedgerows of an earlier time when the herbs were more appreciated. Not a fussy plant, but somewhat untidy and rakish. An early bloomer, sometimes as early as December, and easy to propagate. Not to confuse with the Alder, which is distinct. In ancient times, the wood was used to make shepard's pipes. All synergists (water, alcohol, oil, etc. to extract the essence) work with the Elder. Wine made from the berries is a strong curative in small quantities. Syrup reduces fever. Salve made from berries cures skin problems. The berries are injurious to poultry. The dried flowers drive away insects from stored fruits and are used in cosmetics. A distilation cures headache. Young shoots cooked like asparagus foster longevity. The inner bark cures burns and inflamations. Some ancient authorities have stated that the plant can cure most illnesses. Flowers in vinegar assist with the humors. The plant in general is an emblem of woe. Works as an insecticide or, stuffed in their underground runs, as a way to drive out gophers and moles. Makes a good blue dye. Sambucus is an important plant in the classic hedgerow. (19:43)



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