The plant which revealed itself for today's Plant Wisdom blog post is Elder (Sambucus nigra), a plant of regeneration which has the incredible ability to regrow damaged branches and roots from any part of itself. Its name is derived from 'ellar' or 'kindlar' due to its branches being hollow which were blown through to kindle fires. The botanical name of Sambucus comes from the name of a musical instrument, the sambuke, which is hollow, similar to panpipes.
You may know Elderflower from the cordial, lending its sweet fragrance for summer drinks, but Elder has been used for thousands of years, and not only the flowers - the bark, wood, leaves and berries have all been used to support health and well-being.
Elder's flowers are used to prevent colds and are a useful decongestant, with hayfever and sinusitis responding well to the abundance of Elder's blossoms in the Spring. Her berries have been used to help alleviate joint pain and associated conditions such as rheumatism - there is a tradition of an Elder twig being carried by farmers to prevent this condition!
I like to call her ElderMother as I have always found her energy to be gentle yet fierce. In return for the love, gifts and protection she offers us, she demands respect, like a loving guardian who enforces boundaries for our own good, reminding us that while we may stumble in our learning of life, we must continue on, growing throughout each cycle. Just like her, we too have the ability for growth from the damaged and broken parts of ourselves.
ElderMother is the embodiment of the Goddess energy - Maiden, Mother and Crone. With her beautiful sweet flowers in the Spring (Maiden), her deep purple berries in the Summer (Mother) and her hollow bone bare branches in the Winter (Crone), she has much to teach us about respecting the gifts of the Earth and aligning ourselves with the cycles of Nature.
This post is intended for information purposes only and not medical advice - please visit the terms page for more details . Please seek advice from a medical professional and, if you are considering herbal medicine, please consult a professional Herbalist.
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