The Witch’s Cupboard

The Miracle of Elderberry


Family:  A member of the Honeysuckle Family

Healing History:

As early as 400 B.C. Hippocrates called the Elder his Medicine Chest.  From the Middle Ages into the 19th Century, Europeans and American herbalists used the berry as a laxative and diuretic, to treat diabetes, and to increase resistance to illness and treat infections, such as flu.  Beyond herbal medicine, elderberry has also been used for centuries to make preserves and wine.

Therapeutic Uses:

Used for Flu, Prevention of Degenerative Diseases, Heart Attack and Stroke and Gum Disease.

Magickal Uses of Elderberry

 A Druid Sacred Tree. Sacred to the White Lady and Midsummer Solstice. The Druids used it to both bless and curse.

Magical Uses:  Elder wands can be used to drive out evil spirits or thought forms. Music on panpipes or flutes made of elder have the same power of the wands. A Dryad “Elder Mother” is said to live in the tree; she will haunt anyone who cuts down her wood. Stand or sleep under an elder on Midsummer Eve to see the King of the Faeries and his retinue pass by. The flowers are used in wish-fulfillment spells. The leaves , flowers, and berries are strewn on a person, place or thing to bless it. Wood is NOT to be burned as it is sacred to Hecate. Flowers are used for altar offerings. Hung over doorways and windows, it keeps evil from the house. Carry Elder to preserve against the temptation to commit adultery.
Use for: Money; Riches; Love; Blessings; Banishing; Releasing; Consecration; Cursing; Purification; Cleansing.

My Personal Elderberry Flu Juice Recipe:

You will need:

½ cup dried elderberries

2 cups of water

1 cup of local honey

5 cloves

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

2 large cinnamon sticks

Add water and elderberries along with the cloves, ginger and cinnamon sticks to a non-stick pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and allow this mixture to simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until it’s been reduced by half.  Strain.  Add the honey and mix well.   Allow to cool slightly.  Bottle, label and keep in the refrigerator.  Dose:  For children, 2 tablespoons 3- 4 times a day.  For adults, 4 tablespoons 3- 4 times a day.  You want to administer this at the onset of cold or flu.

How to Make Elderberry Wine:

You will need:

  • 10 lbs fresh, ripe elderberries
  • 1-3/4 lbs finely granulated sugar
  • 4-1/2 to 5 pints water
  • 1 tsp acid blend
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1 tsp pectic enzyme
  • Montrachet wine yeast

Wash, the stem and inspect the berries for ripeness and soundness. Put berries in a stainless steel or enameled pot with 3/4 pound of sugar and half the water. Slowly bring to boil while stirring occasionally and turn off heat. Cover and set aside to cool to room temperature. Strain berries over primary through a nylon straining bag and hang bag over primary to drip drain for two hours. Very gently press pulp to extract a little more juice, but do not overdo this. Stir in remaining sugar and dry ingredients (except yeast) and stir well to dissolve. Add enough water to bring to one gallon and add yeast. Cover primary and wait for active fermentation. Ferment 2 weeks and siphon off sediments into secondary. Top up and fit airlock. Ferment two months, rack, top up, and refit airlock. Repeat after additional two months. Stabilize, wait 10 days, rack, sweeten to taste, and bottle. Age one year before tasting. [Adapted from Julius H. Fessler’s Guidelines to Practical Winemaking]