Keepers of the Earth ~ Part 2 June 7, 2013 by Shiva Rose I was sad to see my plant gathering class end a few weeks ago. Mostly because it brought me together with a group of like minded sisters and I am finding that I need that more and more in my life. Part of my path towards being more in tune with the feminine, is seeking circles of kinship where I can feel inspired and nurtured. Our wonderful wise mentor Stacey Small taught us the basics of how to recognize medicinal plants, and then how to make essences and teas from them. Below is just a bit of information on the incredible Elder Tree which connects us to our ancestors and can uplifts us. We learned how to make a mother essence by placing the plant in pure spring water, and then from there into little bottles with droppers with brandy to keep the essence in tact. For more information on how to make this look on Stacey's site. The wonderful thing about Elder is it grows all around us in Northern America. You will start recognizing it in many places with its's little serrated leaves and sweet butter yellow blossoms. Elderberry Sambucus mexicana The tree and its products are quite popular in Europe, where it is known as elder, elderberry tree, or bour tree. Several species of Sambucus are well known, especially S. nigra, which is native to Europe, and S. canadensis from North America. The flowers, or cymes, are the parts that are most favored in herbal therapy; the berries, bark, and leaves are used less frequently._ Uses and Benefits: In Europe, elder flowers have been popular for treating colds and fevers, and to help expectoration in bronchitis and asthma. Elder is commonly described as being a diaphoretic. It is often incorporated in herbal mixtures to treat influenza, sinusitis, and bronchitis. Other recommended uses include neuralgia, nervous conditions, inflammatory diseases, rheumatism, diabetes, and various infections. It is also employed as a laxative, a diuretic, for weight loss, and as a topical preparation for skin disorders. The blue or black berries are used as a food, in wine and other drinks, and in jams. Its popularity today relates in large part to its importance in traditional European folklore, where it is credited with legendary properties. Pharmacology: The flowers are the source of an essential oil that has a buttery consistency because it contains palmitic and other fatty acids, and alkanes The leaves and seeds contain cyanidin glycosides. Laboratory studies suggest that elder flowers have anti-inflammatory effects, and animal models indicate that elder preparations may protect the liver against toxins. Clinical experience in Germany suggests elderberry (or elderberry-containing products) may have mulecretory properties. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Elder flowers are a mild astringent and are used in skin washes to refine the complexion and help relieve eczema, acne and psoriasis. Flower water makes a soothing gargle and when strained makes an excellent eye wash. The leaves and flowers are a common ingredient in ointments and poultices for burns and scalds, swelling, cuts and scrapes. Infusions and preparations with the blossoms combined with other herbs have also been used to quicken recovery from the common cold and flu.