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I ordered Elderberries
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  1. #41
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    Dec 2001
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    Arubi. I finally made a glycerine tincture. I needed a calcium tincture so I used 2 parts chamomile, two parts nettle, one part oatstraw, one part shavegrass and one part red clover.

    I infused the mix in alcohol for 6 weeks. I ended up with 4 cups of alcohol liquid. I added one cup glycerine as that is all I had. I made a double boiler out of a 4 quart sauce pan and put in a collinder pan and set a 4 cup glass measuring cup of the tincture in the top pan. I put the electric stove on level 3 and cooked for 2 hours reducing the mix to 2 cups. That is not only changing the alcohol to a glycerine tincture but reducing the liquid to make what is called an extract. Oh. Man. It tastes so good.

    You can also do this with elderberrys and use as a tincture.

    In Ayurveda class we made herbal wine. We purchased an organic wine. Then we added herbs and spices to infuse for 4 weeks. You can do this with elderberrys too. At the end of 4 weeks, we strained out the herbs and saved the wine in the fridge. I made a digestive mix as Im always working with my digestion.

  2. #42
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    Sep 2001
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    Vt
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    Well, that sounds easy enough! Thanks.

    Now what do you mean by "digestive mix"?

  3. #43
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    Dec 2001
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    Off the mountain, now in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico
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    Bump ...



    Does anybody know if dried elderberries will sprout?

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    WV
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    2,385
    Albuburbia,

    I wondered the same thing. I've still got some dried ones I ordered from Herbalcom. I'll try to get them sprouted and see what happens. I was thinking about it anyway because these berries I ordered are from , I think, Hungary? It was one of those Eastern European countries I'm sure. I thought it would be neat to grow something from there. Wonder if I should soak the berries off the seeds first or try to sprout them whole? Any ideas? Kat

  5. #45
    Elderberry bushes are propagated by cuttings and in nature by side shoots from the underground root system. The root travels out a foot or so and puts up a new shoot. The actual multiple seeds are teeny tiny smaller than carrot or radish, almost microscopic. I don't think the dried elderberries will sprout but interested in knowing either way so keep us posted.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Indiana
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    1,206
    I was just reading in "The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines", page 193. It states elderberry products should be used with caution because of the risk of cyanide poisoning. It goes on to say not to eat the plant's leaves, stems, or green parts, as they are poisonous. Don't use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Avoid anything made with the berries of the dwarf elder (S. ebulus). Never eat uncooked elderberries because of the risk of cyanide poisoning. And, keep children and pets away from elderberry plants. Only 60 milligrams of cyanide can cause death.

    Well now, that just kind of scares me. And I was wanting an elderberry bush. So, what is everyone else's opinion on this? Has anyone heard of this before, or had any trouble?
    ~tropicalfish~

  7. #47
    Glad you brought this up, tropicalfish---I have the book Northwest Foraging by Dou Benoliel; he gives information on two kinds of elderberry. Blue Elderberry (Sambucus cerulea) which is edible and grows predominately east of the Cascades but sometimes found in western Washington and Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) native to western Washington which he lists as poisonous. He did say he has eaten jelly made from the red and suggests perhaps the cooking makes it safer. He comments that one would not "be making a mistake to leave the fruit for the birds."

    His drawings of the two forms look very similar. I've looked carefully at the berries on bushes that grow wild by us and they are more purple than red or blue--so I don't know what we have.

    One reason I ordered dried elderberry to make tincture is I am afraid I might pick the poisonous ones.

  8. #48
    Just looked at my Gurney's catalog. They sell Elderberry and say it makes great wine and jellies. Also, "best production when planted with another variety". Grows zones 3-8. They sell two varieties; Nova and York.

  9. #49
    Here is an image search from google for elderberry. It should clear up any confusion about the kind of elderberries that you have.

    http://images.google.com/images?q=el...=Google+Search

    spinner

  10. #50
    Wow! Didn't know elderberry was such a big topics---there are jillions of them! Even a Mexican elderberry. I wonder if they change color as they ripen.

  11. #51
    Just did a google on "elderberry poisonous" and it was rather scary. Evidently all elderberry parts but the berries are poisonous and some sources say the red berries are poisonous but others including the Royal British Columbia Museum

    http://www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/nh_pa.../sambucus.html

    say the red berries are OK if ripe (and cooked?) and not mixed with leaves or stems. There was one account of a group of people being poisoned by drinking elder juice but the juice had been pressed along with stems and some leaves. Be careful!

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Indiana
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    Well, now I'm really confused. Maybe we should stick with the commercial products? Let's just hope the makers know what they are doing. I think I'll just hold out for a while on growing my elderberry bushes.
    ~tropicalfish~

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    WV
    Posts
    2,385
    Folks,

    Elderberry has been used as a food for many many years. I've eaten the jelly and probably drank the wine at some time or other. I've also been taking the homemade Elderberry extract that I made a few months ago without any problems at all. There are many people on the forum who also use it in various forms. I know this much, it kicks the flu and colds and thats why I keep it and use it. And now grow it too! Many plants have good parts and poisonous parts. Just keep reading and discussing until you find the answer you're comfortable with. I'm comfortable with using it for me and my family but won't tell someone else that they should or shouldn't. Good luck in your searching!!! Kathy

    PS--The Elderberries I originally ordered were actually Sambucus NIGRA. I'm trying to germinate some of those as we speak

  14. #54
    I have a bottle of GNC Herbal Plus elderberry capsules, on the contents part of the bottle it says, "elderberry powder (sambucus nigra). Also have an extra bag of elderberries from herbalcom and they say sambucus nigra also. There are also a few stems mixed in with the berries, guess they should be taken out.

    So-o guess we are OK if it is sambucus NIGRA...? Kathy, please post the details--how you did it and how long it took-- if yours germinate. If anyone finds a source for the nigra shrubs, please post also. I'd like to have my own elderberry shrubs that I'm sure of the identification. I tried a couple of years ago with book in hand to identify some wild ones on our property but really couldn't tell if they were red or blue........

  15. #55
    SS, there is no doubt about the color of the ripe berries, the almost black shiny color is perfect for tincture, pies, jelly, wine. In fact the berry stems start to turn wine red as the berries are prime ready. I got my original plants from Gurney's 3 or 4 years ago - you need 2 different varieties for cross pollination, I remember 1 was York, I think and cannot remember the other. sambucus - elderberry and nigra = black so that is the species one wants to buy as plants or berries or readymade herbal preparation. sambucus nigra comes in several varieties, again, one needs 2 different for cross pollination and good berry production. I got about 20# this past fall from my young plants. I have been making tincture from then since that first fall with no adverse effects also a few pies that were delicious. I don't think a nursery is going to sell poisonous plants without clearly stating that is the case.

  16. #56
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Sandhills North Carolina
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    35,162
    Quote Originally Posted by tropicalfish
    I was just reading in "The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines", page 193. It states elderberry products should be used with caution because of the risk of cyanide poisoning. It goes on to say not to eat the plant's leaves, stems, or green parts, as they are poisonous. Don't use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Avoid anything made with the berries of the dwarf elder (S. ebulus). Never eat uncooked elderberries because of the risk of cyanide poisoning. And, keep children and pets away from elderberry plants. Only 60 milligrams of cyanide can cause death.

    Well now, that just kind of scares me. And I was wanting an elderberry bush. So, what is everyone else's opinion on this? Has anyone heard of this before, or had any trouble?

    We went along the roadsides every spring for the first 42 years of my life in Germany and from Pennsylvania to Florida and picked paper grocery bags full of the eldeberry blossoms. the Blossoms look just like queen anne lace. but the bushes are huge. Tall and wide.
    My mom washed them in salt water -usually to remove ladybugs- and then dipped them in Funnel cake (flour/egg/milk??) batter. Quickly Fat fried, and then powder sugar sprinkled on top. Everybody ate, and loved them. Course we only ate the flowers, but now that i read your post I remember we were forbidden to eat the stems.

    Remembering where the spring bushes were, in the summer, it was time to go back and harvest dozens more bags of black small berries. She rolled them off the stems, boiled them down, sqeezed the pulp to juice in a cotton dishcloth, and turned the juice into jelly with surejell.

    We had quarts of dark dark purple almost black and very tart jelly every year.

  17. #57
    Wish we could get a chemist or botanist to post on this. I did a google on "elderberry cyanide" and there were numerous articles attesting to the fact that there is a true cyanide concern but it seems to be with the stems, leaves, and uncooked berries. Also there are so many different kinds of elder.

    I liked NC Susan's description of eating elderberry blossoms--that sounds like fun!

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Earth, I think...
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    123
    Bump.

  19. #59
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Living in serenity
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kathy in WV
    Al\

    I wondered the same thing. I've still got some dried ones I ordered from Herbalcom. I'll try to get them sprouted and see what happens. \ Kat
    Any luck with your seeds? I ordered sambucus nigra seeds and just planted them. I was wondering how hard they were to sprout. I have not tried to sprout the dried berries with seeds.

    I made 3 pints of elderberry syrup on 12/4/04 thinking that I would never use it. Ha! It is almost gone, only a few tablespoons left! My next batch has been soaking in vodka for 6 weeks. The elderberry syrup worked wonders! I highly recommend it for someone teetering on the fence, trying to decide to try it or not.

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Penna
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    I've been sick big time for the past week...first thing I did was to take the elderberry brandy. Fiftheen minutes later I was throwing it up...my stomick didn't like the brandy part. What can be used instead of brandy and vodka? I was thinking making up a batch but using distilled water. Any thoughts?

  21. #61
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    Apr 2004
    Location
    Pennsylvania
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    Hi Deemy, sorry to hear that you're sick. I think you have to use some form of alcohol so that the mixture doesn't spoil. I read to put a few spoonfuls in a cup of juice. Maybe if you mixed it with ginger ale it would go down better. I made some with vodka, but I haven't tried it yet. I have been taking capsules and saving the tincture for an emergency since it will keep a long time.

  22. #62
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    WV
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    2,385
    Hi Deemy,
    Sorry your feeling so bad. I had the crud this week too and it was no fun at all. (Which means I got to lay around all day but felt too bad to enjoy it ) I make a cup of peppermint tea add lots of honey and 2 dropperfuls of the Elderberry tincture. I like it to be really hot so you can just sip it. You can barely taste it this way and mint tea is so good when your tummy feels sick. Sometimes I add vitamin C powder to the mix so it tastes acidic. Its so good that one day I took a few too many doses and the came to call! (Just kidding!) Let me know if you like it in Peppermint tea-- Kat

  23. #63
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    Dec 2001
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    WV
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    Hi Yelowsprings,
    I just saw your question. I forgot my seeds and let them go dry so I really should try it again and see what happens. How did you make your syrup and have you heard that cooking it destroys the active parts? I seem to remember someone posting about that but don't have time to check right now. GoatLady knows a lot about tincturing etc so maybe she will see this and chime in. (Or anyone else who knows) I just told my hubby last night that he needs to make a "liquor run" for me this evening. I want to go ahead and tincture my other pound of berries so they don't freezer burn accidentally. Its too bad you cant use the fruit flavored liquors for tincturing- they don't have enough alcohol in them. Wonder if you can tincture in Vodka and then cut it with something like Blackberry Cordial? I'm gonna go PM GoatLady and see if she will advise here! Kat

  24. #64
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Illinois
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    I have started my second batch of elderberry tincture. When the first batch was done, I strained out the berries and tossed them away. Now, I am wondering why I couldn't leave the berries in the tincture.

    Does anyone know if leaving the berries in the tincture will cause a problem months down the road?

  25. #65
    Kathy - to make a syrup DON"T COOK!! Simmer gently - high heat will offset the medicinal properties, low heat won't. I simmer (barely bubbling) for 15-20 minutes with sugar or honey, the bottle and keep in the fridge. Deemy, I don't think tincturing in any thing wtihout alcohol will produce much medicinal value. Kathy has a good suggestion about adding the tincture to a cup to tea or juice or soda - whatever your stomach can tolerate or cut the tincture with whatever water necessary for you to keep it down. Gateway, keeping the berries in the tincture probably won't make it any stronger and there is a potential chance of the berries molding it not completely, 24/7 covered with alcohol. Best to strain and toss as you have been doing.

  26. #66
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    goatlady2--Thank You!!!

  27. #67
    Deemy- you can use glycerin or vinegar and get a reasonable approximation of the same activity as an alcohol tincture. It won't be as strong, but for many folks- either children who shouldn't have alcohol, or people with alcohol problems- it's a good solution.

    Summerthyme

  28. #68
    Wow......lots of interest in elderberries and a lot of info.............I just have a few questions to see if I have it all correct. I am ordering elderberries and also elderberry bushes.

    Ok. #1....to make a tincture, soak the berries in vodka for a few weeks....then simmer on stovetop with sugar........strain , then store in bottles. Is that right?
    I did find a recipe for cordialthat is similar to this.

    # 2.......does syrup and/or jam made then water bathed still retain the medicinal properties?

    and #3....does syrup made need to be water bathed or is the sugar enough to preserve it?

    Thanks in advance.............there may be more questions later tho...........lol

  29. #69
    auntnuts, don't simmer and add sugar until you are ready to use it. The tincture (alcohol and elderberries) will keep in a jar in a dark cabinet for years just fine by itself. DO NOT process tinctures! The alcohol is the preservative. The high heat of waterbathing and/or pressure canning will kill the tincture. I never waterbath any syrup or jam or jelly I make from anything. Not necessary. Basic rule of thumb: High heat/cooking = food; little or no heat/soaking = medicinal.

  30. #70
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    I personally won't be turning very much of my tincture to "syrup"........ THAT STUFF is DELICIOUS!!!!!!! In other words, it wouldn't last very long in that form!!! Hubby and I both agree it would be really good over icecream!!!!!

  31. #71
    Thanks so much for the answers. I will be ordering my berries in a few days, can't wait to get started.

  32. #72
    Today I strained my elderberries that had been soaking in vodka for 10 days and realized the berries were still small and hard. Should I have soaked them in water before soaking in vodka? The extract is a nice dark color and is very strong tasting.
    I sure hope I did this right because it was quite an expensive project.
    2 lb. dried berries 10.60
    handling fee 5.00
    vodka -- enough to come 2 inches above berries 25.00
    40.60 ! that's some expensive medicine, but I got a lot and it will keep for years so I read. I bottled in empty dark wine bottles and corked it.

  33. #73
    My goodness, you might want to order your next batch of herbs/berries from www.herbalcom.com No shippiing or handling charge, no minimum order, and fast delivery. You must have made many quarts if you used 2 pounds of dried elderberries - 1 pound makes around 3 quarts of tincture. Actually that's not that expensive when you consider Tamiflu runs about $35 for a prescription for 1 person and is not guarenteed to work! No need to presoak the dried berries or any dried herb, that just dilutes, again, the medicinal properties of the herb/berry.

  34. #74
    I did order my berries from herbalcom. They charged 5.00 for handling. Yes I did have 5 quarts of berries and vodka. I ended up with about 2 and1/2 quarts of extract and I pressed on the berries in the strainer to make sure I got all the extract I could out of them. I'm so glad to find out that there was no need to soak them in water first. I'm very relieved, thanks for answering.

  35. #75
    You did good nchomemaker. I'll have to check my last invoice from them as I don't remember any handling charge. You can also use brandy instead of vodka - not quite so much "bite" to it and really tasty when simmered down with sugar or honey to thicken a bit.

  36. #76
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    I've been using rum for my extracts. Seems to work just fine. The elderberry extract in OJ is pretty tasty, but it sure does turn an ugly color! Doesn't have that pretty purple color that the Sambucol does.

    I've been extracting chilie powder, too. I'm soaking some ground habanero for an arthritis rub. I've found that pulverizing it with a motar & pestle really unleashes its fury. On the skin it burns just like Capzacin P from Walgreens.

    I've wondered if I should grind the elderberries.

  37. #77
    Albania, the only problem with using rum or even flavored brandies is that it's the alcohol that takes up the flavor/medicinal molecules. Rum alcohol already has a lot of the alcohol tied up with the molassas molecules (flavor) so you are potentially getting less medicinal properties in your tincture. Vodka essentially has nothing but alcohol so it can extract the maximun medicinal properties from the herbs soaking in it which is why vodka is THE traditional base for tinctures after 100s of years of experience by herbalists. Just don't be upset or disappointed if the rum tincture does not work as well as you expect or think it should, it would if made with vodka!

  38. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by goatlady2
    Annie, the difference in the echinacea prices comes from the fact/idea that Echiunacea angustafolia is considered much more medicinally potent than the purp. The thing with herbs is like with culinary spices - the finer the spice/herb is processed the faster the properties disappear. Most folks making tincture use as close to the original plant as possible in dried form. You will find trying to make a tea from powder may not work to your satisfaction - the powder probably will not dissolve well and may taste grity. Trying to tincture powder is a mess - the powder settles out into a messy lump in the bottom of the jar. I personally have never pressed or squeezed the herbs when making tincture and I have found over the years tincture stay medicinally potent done in alcohol for far longer that 2 years. Just my personal experience on all the above points.
    Can you please give me some ideas for other tinctures? I have some vodka left over from making the elderberry tincture and I grow several herbs. Mostly I grow culinary herbs but I also have skullcap, catnip, feverfew and lemonbalm. Can you suggest some other herbs to grow specifically for medicinal purposes and for tincturing? Thanks!

  39. #79
    nchomemaker, you can tincture most any herb. As to suggestions you need to figure out what you want to treat, i.e. what dis-ease shows up most for you such as sinus infections, cough, skin problems, whatever the find the herb that will treat that problem, then grow/buy that herb, and tincture. Catnip lends itself to tincture real well and is a very good muscle relaxant and very mild sedative. Do some herbal research, check out some books at your local library, and have fun.

  40. #80
    goatlady.....i made 2 quarts of elderberry tincture this week. I ordered the dried berries from herbalcom. I can't wait to get more vodka and maybe some brandy to do more of the berries.(i ordered 5 lbs). Thank you for all the info.

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