The elderberry tree is in bloom across the countryside at this moment, lining the roadside as far as the eye can see. It gives us a heavenly lemon scent, feeds the bees and provides us with free food and medicine. Some things are really free, especially when you purchase from nature’s bounty. When your out walking pick a handful of flowers to make a cordial. This recipe is so simple yet so nourishing and medicinal.
The flower or berries are only consumed. The leaf can be used externally for bruising. Ideally pick from a location free from heavy traffic.
Making The Cordial
- 2 litres of purified water
- 1 lemon
- 12 Dates (can add raw honey or coconut sugar here)
- A small bunch of fresh mint (I used lime mint)
- 7-10 clusters of stunning elder flowers
Slice the lemons and chop the mint and place all the ingredients into a large glass container. See image. Leave for 4 days. If it is hot weather it will take less 2-3 days. You will see bubbles appearing, this is the fermentation process happening. YES as well as all the benefits already listed this also replenishes gut flora. Taste the drink, it should have a light fizz to it. Don’t worry if it smells a bit half way through. Once your happy with it strain through a muslin cloth, bottle and store in the fridge. If you want extra fizz add 1/2 tsp of effervescent Vit C powder per litre.
The flower heads contain natural yeasts which is why it is so popular for making cordials and champagne. The flowers as they age contain more yeast and flower heads vary in size considerably. If too much flowers are used per water the cordial can get a little gloopy. So if it is later in the season use only about 7 flower heads medium to large. .
The Elderflower will help alleviate congestion in the sinuses. It also has anti inflammatory properties relieving swelling of the mucous membranes. A study done in Ireland on elderflower extract found it effective in killing many hospital bugs including the MRSA 
The berry is rich in a type of flavanol that gives it potent anti viral properties. It is also an anti oxidant, anti inflammatory and anti bacterial. Both the berry and flower are an excellent choice for relief from hayfever.
1. HEARST, CAROLINE, ET. AL. ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY OF ELDER (SAMBUCUS NIGRA L.) FLOWER OR BERRY AGAINST HOSPITAL PATHOGENS. JOURNAL OF MEDICINAL PLANTS RESEARCH 2010; 4(17): 1805–1809.