All Things Elderflowers

All Things Elderflowers

By Shannon, Posted in Wellness

As the spring turns to summer, the hedgerows and woodlands come alive with the delicate, creamy-white blossoms of elderflowers. While elderberries often steal the spotlight for their rich, immune-boosting properties, elderflowers deserve a standing ovation for their own impressive array of uses and benefits.

Elderflowers come from the elder tree, Sambucus nigra, which belongs to the Adoxaceae family. These fragrant blossoms appear in large, flat-topped clusters known as corymbs and typically bloom from late May to early July. The flowers are rich in flavonoids, phenolic acids, and essential oils, contributing to their therapeutic properties.

Properties and Actions

Elderflowers have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. They are renowned for their diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties. Let's dive into the scientific mechanisms behind these actions:


Inflammation is a common underlying factor in many chronic diseases. Elderflowers exhibit significant anti-inflammatory effects due to their high concentration of flavonoids and phenolic acids. These compounds inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes such as COX-2, thereby reducing inflammation.


The antioxidant properties of elderflowers are attributed to their ability to scavenge free radicals, thereby protecting cells from oxidative stress. The high levels of polyphenols, including chlorogenic acid and rutin, play a crucial role in neutralizing reactive oxygen species (ROS) and preventing cellular damage.

Diaphoretic and Antipyretic

Elderflowers are commonly used to induce sweating, which can help lower fevers. The diaphoretic action is primarily attributed to the flavonoid content, including quercetin and kaempferol, which stimulate the sweat glands. This action is beneficial in managing febrile conditions by promoting heat dissipation through perspiration.


Elderflowers have demonstrated antiviral properties, particularly against influenza viruses. The antiviral mechanism involves the inhibition of viral replication and the prevention of virus entry into host cells.

Ways to Use Elderflowers

Elderflowers are not just medicinal powerhouses; they also shine in the culinary world. Here are some delightful ways to use elderflowers:

Elderflower Tea

Elderflower tea is a soothing and aromatic beverage that harnesses the medicinal properties of the flowers. To prepare, steep fresh or dried elderflowers in hot water for 10-15 minutes. This tea is excellent for relieving cold symptoms, reducing fever, and promoting relaxation.

Elderflower Tincture

Elderflower tincture is potent and can be used to alleviate symptoms of colds, flu, and allergies. 

Elderflower Infused Honey

Infusing honey with elderflowers creates a delicious and medicinal treat. Simply combine fresh elderflowers with raw honey and let the mixture sit for 1-2 weeks. The honey can be used as a natural remedy for sore throats, colds, and digestive issues.

Elderflower Flower Essence

Elderflower Flower Essence is a type of vibrational medicine. It captures the energetic qualities of elderflowers, which are believed to promote clarity, renewal, and a sense of calm. Elderflower essence can help alleviate emotional stagnation, uplift the spirit, and enhance one's connection to nature. It is often used to support personal growth, alleviate feelings of sadness or depression, and foster a sense of rejuvenation and vitality.