Whether you decide to make elderflower tea from fresh flowers, dried Elderflower blossoms, or boost your tea with elderberries your body will benefit from its medicinal properties.
There are many ways to use elderflowers to keep a cold and flu at bay, but the most comforting and easiest is to make elderflower tea.
In this tutorial we will cover three easy ways of preparing elderflower tea.
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But before we start, let's clarify
what are Elderflowers?
They are flowers of a shrub known as Sambucus Nigra, the same one that has Elderberries later in summer. Elderflowers start to bloom in late spring and produce large creamy color umbels of small flowers. The flowers of the elder have a strong floral scent that makes their identification easier. Elders grow in various places, along streams and the edges of forests and fields.
What are elderflowers' benefits?
The number one antiviral herb, elderflower is the foremost herb that I reached for when there are complaints of the flu with fever.
Elderflowers are considered the number one antiviral herb on the planet. Packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants and flavonoids that can deactivate the viruses in our bodies. (1)
The medicinal properties of Elderflowers are prized for the treatment of seasonal allergies.
Elderflowers have been used successfully by many well known herbalists for numerous health issues such as fighting off viruses or quelling inflammation. Rosalee de la Foret, a recognized herbalist speaks in her book, Alchemy of herbs about elderflowers as one of her favorite plants that she relies on all the time. Especially when somebody has a fever and feels hot, tense and restless. Elderflower promotes sweating allowing the heat to escape.
How to make Elderflower tea
1. Method - making elderflower tea using fresh blossoms
The only way to get fresh elderflowers is to forage them.
If you decide to forage, search for fresh flowers that are fully opened and that haven’t turned brown yet. The harvesting window is from late spring to early summer. Pick them in the morning on a sunny day and don’t wash them. They have pollen that is a carrier of scent and flavor that we want to have in the tea. Just simply remove bugs or insects with your fingers before bringing them home.
Place one tablespoon of fresh elderflower blossoms into a pot and pour over one cup of boiling water.
Let it steep for 10 minutes or longer to extract all medicinal properties of Elderflower into this cup of tea. Strain the blossoms and drink pure warm tea that is lighter in flavor but tasty enough to drink it even if you are not treating a cold or fever. I like to add ginger or turmeric to add to the taste. Honey and lemon also make for great additions. Fresh elderflowers might be harder on the stomach so if that is your concern use dried elderflowers instead.
2. Method - making stronger elderflower tea from dried elderflowers
If you prefer stronger infusions use dried Elderflowers. You can either dry your freshly foraged elderflowers or buy dried elderflower blossoms online. You can buy very good quality organic elderflower blossoms from Mountain Rose Herbs
This stronger elderflower infusion is a go-to remedy for cold and flu symptoms of fever (ideally combined with yarrow) or seasonal alergies (ideally combined with nettle). It makes for lovely bedtime tea (ideally combined with chamomille) as elderflower also possesses relaxing properties.
I use 1 table spoon of dried elderflowers for 1 cup of boiling water, let it steep overnight or at least 20 minutes.
3. Method - making Double elder tea.
I have been inspired by Everything Elderberry book from Susannah Shmurak where she mentioned double elder tea. It basically means to combine the power of elderflowers and elderberries in one simple decoction that makes an intensively flavored and potent infusion.
To make 1 cup of this powerful tea you will need 1 tablespoon of dried elderflowers and 2 table spoons of dried edlerberries
Infuse dried elderflowers and elderberries in 1 cup of boiling water for at least 10 minutes or make decoction. Instead of steeping in boiled water, let it simmer for 20 minutes, strain the dried material and your tea is ready.
Elderflower tea made with fresh elderflower blossoms is light in taste with hints of floral and summertime sweetness. Elderflower tea made of dried elderflower blossoms has a stronger floral taste with a clean and crisp aroma.
While the leaves, stems, and unripe berries of elderberry are toxic, elderflowers are safe to eat or drink. Just do not include branches or twigs in your infusion.
You can make it ahead of time, keep the elderflower tea in the fridge for another 1-2 weeks. There are no preservatives added to this infusion so I don’t recommend to store it longer than that refrigerated
Herbal infusions including elderflower are considered safe for breastfeeding mothers However talk to your doctor before you take any complementary medicine or herbal preparation while breastfeeding.
Elderflower tea vs Elderberry tea
Like elderflower, elderberry is also an exceptional ally during colds, the flu, and respiratory infections due to its immune stimulant and antiviral actions. Since both are coming from the same plant - Sambucus Nigra, their benefits don’t differ. What is different though is their color and taste. While light yellow elderflower tea has mild floral taste, the tea made of berries is dark purple in color with a tart and earthy taste.
How to make Elderflower Iced tea?
The process starts the same as you make your ordinary elderflower tea. So for one cup of tea, use 1 teaspoon of dried elderflower. Pour boiling water over it and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid and add 1 cup of cold water. I like to add lemon or lime juice and honey or elderflower cordial but you can use any other sweetener of your choice. Serve it with ice, a slice of lemon or any fresh herbs you have available such as mint, verbena or melissa.
Other elderflower recipes
Elderflowers has specific floral taste that is great to enhance sweet desserts
Remedies with Elderflower
I like to use elderflowers in homemade remedies to boost the immune system.