Elder has a long history of edible and medicinal uses (both the flowers and the fruits) and is a common winter herbal used to activate the the immune system (immuno-stimulant) and as an anti-viral agent.
For some ethnobotanical and ecological information on elderberry, check out Plants for a Future, The Living Wild Project, or the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plant guide.
If you are interested in learning more about scientific research into the medicinal properties of elderberry, the links below might be good places to start:
Because of the lovely berry taste, even young and picky eaters are apt to enjoy it. I usually make elderberry syrup with some of the berries I collect, and use the rest to make a fruit relish, prepared similarly to cranberry relish. This year I made elderberry infused vodka; it looks, smells, and tastes delightful.
|Elderberry vodka lemonade. Divine!|