Herb of the Month: Elderflower
May is indeed a glorious month. The weather is balmy, the days are long, and we are blessed with an abundant crop of elderflower, growing wild and merrily all over the country. Every lane, field and street of the Cotswolds is hanging heavy with the blossom of this favourite tree.
The flower of the elder is delightfully fragrant and so beautiful to behold. I am blessed to have my very own tree growing outside my bedroom window and I have been waiting patiently (ok, very impatiently) for the blossom to bloom for weeks. Now the days have arrived where I can skip down to the garden every morning and gather fresh elderflower to drink as a delicious herbal infusion. Its floral flavour is delicious on its own, or when blended with other herbs in season. I like drinking lavender and elderflower, or with fresh fennel and lemon balm, picking them together in big, fresh bunches to enjoy all day long.
Elderflower has various medicinal uses, having antibacterial and antiviral actions. It is renowned for clearing sinuses, flu and colds which is helpful for sufferers of seasonal allergies. It is also rich in bioflavonols, antioxidants that help clear the body of toxins, boosting the immune system at the same time.
The elder is a proud tree so take care to ask permission before you help yourself to her blooms. The wood holds strong magick but must be fallen before it can be used and harnessed. The elder in pagan folklore represents the great Wheel and the neverending cycles of life and death and life renewed.
I shall be drying bundles of beautiful blossom for teas to last all through thr summer, creating a hydrosol for my skin (for tips on how to make your own, see our previous post) and have also created a sumptious New Moon elderflower essence available in our apothecary shop (link on main page).