WEB EXTRA: The history of elderberry & how it came to be

KNWA

In the 17th century, John Evelyn, a British researcher, declared, "If the medicinal properties of its leaves, bark, and berries were fully known, I cannot tell what our country man could ail for which he might not fetch a remedy [from the elderberry], either for sickness or wounds."

ARKANSAS (KNWA) — Elderberry is an old folk remedy for the common cold and now it’s a hot commodity this flu season.

Elderberry has a long history and has been used by virtually every human culture.

Below we show you a very broad timeline of elderberry use by man and how it came to be used as a cold and flu fighter.

In the timeline you will see two things:

1. Elderberry has been cultivated and used by people for healing for
thousands and thousands of years.

2. Elderberry has been used by people virtually all over the globe.

Quick Elderberry Timeline:

  • 3000 B.C.E – 30 B.C.E: Ancient Egypt: Researchers have uncovered evidence that black elderberry may have been cultivated by prehistoric man, and there are recipes for elderberry-based preparations in the records of Ancient Egypt.
  • 2000 B.C.E: Stone Age: Neolithic people cultivated the elderplant / elderberries. Seeds from elderberry found in Neolithic pole-dwellings in Switzerland suggest that the plant was in cultivation by about 2000 B.C.E.
  • 400 B.C.E: Hippocrates – Greece: The ancient knowledge of Elderberry runs so deep that the “father of medicine”, Hippocrates (460 B.C.E – 375 B.C.E.), adoringly referred to the herb as the “medicine chest” of all herbs because of its endless benefits and the usability of all aspects of the plant.
  • 370 B.C.E – 285 B.C.E: Greco-Roman Period: The name if the plant dates back to the Greco-Roman period. The word Sambucus came from the Greek word Sambuca. Theophrastus (300’s B.C.E) described elder in Historia Plantarum.
  • 77 C.E: Italy: By the time of Pliny the Elder, the medicinal qualities of elder were widely known and his writings notes this as well.
  • 1600’s C.E: Britain: Over the centuries, elderberry has been used to treat colds, flu, fever, burns, cuts, and more than 70 other maladies, from toothache to the plague. In the 17th century, John Evelyn, a British researcher, declared, “If the medicinal properties of its leaves, bark, and berries were fully known, I cannot tell what our country man could ail for which he might not fetch a remedy [from the elderberry], either for sickness or wounds.”
  • North American Natives: Native Americans are said to have used elderberry going back thousands of years.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine: It is said that elderberry has been part of traditional Chinese medicine going back hundreds of years.

It is said elderberries have twice the Vitamin C of oranges and 3 times the anti-oxidants of blueberries. They are high in polyphenols and bioflavonoids.

The use of the elderberry and elderflower is common and widespread in Europe and modern science is now beginning a serious study of the plant’s nutritional properties and uses.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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