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Black Elderberry "Crud Buster" Syrup by Wild Roots Apothecary

Elderberry: The Land of Elder

Black Elderberry "Crud Buster" Syrup by Wild Roots Apothecary


Late last night, I was in Target headed toward the craft aisle, which is directly across from the supplement aisle, when I heard a woman say, “Elderberry.” Ding! My ears perked up for sure. This young mother was describing her kiddo’s symptoms to the woman, who then told her promptly that the child needed Elderberry. They then proceeded to examine the five products on the shelves that had ALL the Elderberry. Hearing this conversation, my heart was humming. It was perfect timing, since I know that Elderberry is so crucial to the changing of the season… and apparently, Target’s team knows that as well! 

As a kid I was a fervent fruit eater, and my mom used to send us out to harvest these deep purple-black berries in late August - early September before the Starlings ate them all. She wanted us to gather them for jam, and I remember my process included eating the ripe berries by the handfuls until my belly hurt. Man, I was a healthy kiddo and was rarely sick during the beginning of school!

Elderberry is an immune tonic that I like to use for the changing of the season, for back-to-school, for traveling, and for general wellness. It’s SWEET, so it is usually a remedy that kids actually enjoy. I use these immune-boosting berries in conjunction with other herbs, especially for colds and flus. Elderberry is a simple deep black berry. It is a powerhouse of immunity and can really add oomph and vitality to your day-to-day wellness. It is known to build the immune system, shorten the duration of a cold or flu, help with rheumatism and inflammation, and reduce the symptoms and duration of a flare-up from the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The berries are also supportive of the cardiovascular system and may help lower blood pressure because they work on helping with inflammation.


Dosage and Safety Tips: This time of year (Autumn + Winter), I like to take about 30 drops of syrup a day for general wellness. If I’m feeling run down, then I up the dosage to 30 drops, 3-4 times a day in an acute situation. The berries are generally considered safe; however, a few little notes before I send you off to gather and make your own immune-boosting syrup: Although the flowers (elderflower) and berries (elderberry) are safe to consume as a food, unripe berries and the stems are not safe, so take care when harvesting that you clean the berries. I learned a trick from one of my friends, herbalist Rosalee de la Floret, that if you put the umbels (berry cluster) in the freezer overnight, the berries will drop off when “tickled” with a fork, helping the process of safely removing them. At that point, I’ll either keep them frozen for a later date, or I’ll make an Elderberry syrup. There are recipes on the internet for elderberry gummies, but I’m not much a fan of sticky, chewy things. I’d rather have something that I can put in my fridge to have a little dose here and there as needed. If you can find fresh Elderberry, then use it. If not, the dried berries that you can buy at your {cough, cough, ahem} local apothecary work just as well! Keep in mind that you can always get our own Black Elderberry "Crud Buster" Syrup as well.


For a little bit of “nerding,” here is the herbal materia medica:

Elderberry, Elderflower, Elder Sambucus Canadensis

Latin name: Sambucus nigra

Family: Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)

Parts Used: Berries picked in early fall (The flowers are also useful, but that will be a different blog post! 

Energetics: Sweet, bitter, cool, moist

Actions: Alterative, anti-cattaral, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-viral, decongestant, digestive, nervine, rejuvenative, tonic 

Uses: Colds, Coughs, Flus, Immune support, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Minor Constipation, Respiratory Infections, Rheumatism



Colleen O’Bryant is a trained herbalist and not a licensed doctor or registered healthcare practitioner. She cannot and does not claim to diagnose health conditions, nor prescribe medicines. Colleen O’Bryant does not claim that the information and products she provides to Client will prevent, alleviate, or cure any diseases or medical conditions. The information and products that Colleen and Wild Roots Apothecary provide is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment. Please consult your medical care provider before using herbal products, particularly if you have a known medical condition or allergy, or if you are pregnant or nursing. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, or supplement, or doing any new exercises. Wild Roots Apothecary statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA, and they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Client understands that Colleen is not yet certified by the American Herbalists Guild, but by working with clients such as yourself she is gaining the required hours of practice to apply towards her certification. 

Wild Roots Apothecary does not claim to be a pharmacy or prescribe medicines. Additionally, Wild Roots does not claim to be able to cure or relieve the client's specific condition or illness with the herbal formulations or recommendations provided.


Colleen O'Bryant, herbalist and owner of Wild Roots Apothecary

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