Elderberry juice was used to treat the flu epidemic in Panama in 1995 and the German Commission E (German FDA) approved elderberry for treatment of coughs, bronchitis, fevers, and colds. Though it has been known for centuries as a remedy to help treat some illnesses and boost the immune system, only recently has there been studies to show us the possibilities of the elderberry in modern day medicine.
There is a lot of folklore surrounding the elderberry plant. In Ireland, elderberry was once considered a sacred tree. The Danish believed that the elder plant was protected by Hyldemor, the Elder Mother. It was important to ask for permission before cutting an elderberry tree or else it could bring you bad luck and misfortune. The Elder Mother was later feared as a witch with the introduction of Christianity.
Elder has both positive and negative views. The Germans and English believed that it was unlucky to bring elder wood into a house as this would bring ghosts or devils into the home. The Scotish would put elder wood above their doors and windows to protect their home from evil spirits and witches. In parts of the British Isles, they believed that bathing your eyes in the juice of the wood would allow you to see fairies.
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