Elderberry Tea - Good For What Ails You?
There are a number of benefits elderberry tea is claimed to provide. Some of these are based on folklore as much as anything, while others have been more or less proven scientifically. It is said, that if you grow an elderberry tree, particularly one of the black elderberry species, you will have a medicine chest in your backyard. Not only are the berries considered to be highly nutritional and of medicinal value, but the flowers and bark also have something to offer. The leaves and stems of most elderberry species are considered poisonous. The elderberry shrub itself can make a very attractive ornamental.
Elderberry tea, jams, jellies, and pies have been around for a long time. Originally a native of Europe, the elderberry shrub was introduced to North America during the early days of colonization, and several species of elderberry are now found coast to coast. Some species of elderberry are better than others as far as either nutritional or medicinal value is concerned; in fact some species are rather toxic, as are the unripe berries of most species.
It is the berries which receive most of the attention as far as health-giving benefits are concerned. Elderberry extract especially contains many useful substances not found in terribly significant amounts in the flowers or berries. The nutrients are there, but only the extract seems to be particularly effective. The berries are nevertheless rich sources of Vitamin A and vitamin C as well as potassium.
Elderberry Tea - What about elderberry tea? The tea is made from the dried flowers of the plant. To brew tea you need about 5 grams (2/10 of an ounce) of dried flowers per cup of water. The flowers should be steeped in boiling water for at least 10, and preferably 15, minutes. Unless you don't mind flower petals between your teeth, the liquid should be strained before consuming, or simply place the petals in a tea strainer. If you pick your own flowers, do so when they are in full bloom, and let them dry in the sun. They will store well in an airtight bag or other airtight container. Some elderberry tea drinkers like to mix it with peppermint tea. Otherwise you can add honey or lemon to taste.
A Few Of The Benefits - Elderberry tea is well known as a household remedy for a cold or the flu. It is not a cure of course, but is a very soothing beverage and can ease cold or flu symptoms, particularly if 2 or 3 cups a day are taken. The tea is considered to be very helpful in alleviating many of the conditions associated with colds, flu, bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory problems. Elderberry tea also seems to be helpful in relieving arthritic and rheumatic pain and, while not proven conclusively, is believed by many to help in eliminating toxins from the kidneys. It has more or less been proven to ease sinus congestion and to help break up accumulations of mucus and phlegm in our air passages.
Not A Wonder Drug - Most of the claims associated with benefits of elderberry tea appear to make sense and more or less have been borne out over many years, if not centuries. Unlike the case with many herbal remedies, elderberry tea is not promoted as a wonder drug, one that cures cancer, prevents heart disease, or re grows hair. It basically is a soothing agent, and one which makes it a little easier to put up with the symptoms of certain disorders. There is nothing to indicate that regularly drinking elderberry tea will keep you healthy. The berries and extract seem to play a more significant role in that regard. But if you like the tea, by all means drink it regularly. It certainly won't hurt you, and coupled with other sound eating habits, may do its part in keeping you in top shape.