Almindelig hyld, baccae, baises de sureau, battree, black berried alder, black elder, black elderberry, boor tree, bountry, boure tree, Busine (Russian), Caprifoliaceae (family), cyaniding-3-glucoside, cyaniding-3-sambubioside, devil's eye, elderberry, elderberry anthocyanins, elderberry bark agglutinin, elderberry juice, ellanwood, ellhorn, European alder, European elder, European elderberry, European elderflower, European elder fruit, frau holloe, German elder, Holunderbeeren, Holunderblüten, lady elder, nigrin b, old gal, old lady, peonidin 3-glucoside, peonidin 3-sambubioside, peonidin monglucuronide, pipe tree, Rubini® (elderberry extract), sambreo (Italian), sambuco (Italian), Sambucus sieboldiana (Japanese), Sambucipunct Sambucus, Sambuci flos, Sauco (Spanish), Schwarzer holunder (German), sieboldin-b, stinking elder, Sureau noir (French), sweet elder, tree of doom, yakori bengestro.
Several species of Sambucus produce elderberries. Most research and publications refer to Sambucus nigra. Other species with similar chemical components include the American elder or common elder (Sambucus canadensis), antelope brush (Sambucus tridentata), blue elderberry (Sambucus caerulea), danewort (Sambucus ebulus), dwarf elder (Sambucus ebulus), red-fruited elder (Sambucus pubens, Sambucus racemosa), and Sambucus formosana. American elder (Sambucus canadensis) and European elder (Sambucus nigra) are often discussed simultaneously in the literature since they have many of the same uses and contain common constituents.
European elder grows up to 30 feet tall, is native to Europe, but has been naturalized to the Americas. Historically, the flowers and leaves have been used for pain relief, swelling/inflammation, diuresis (urine production), and as a diaphoretic or expectorant. The leaves have been used externally for sitz baths. The bark, when aged, has been used as a diuretic, laxative, or emetic (to induce vomiting). The berries have been used traditionally in food as flavoring and in the preparation of elderberry wine and pies.
The flowers and berries (blue/black only) are used most often medicinally. They contain flavonoids, which are found to possess a variety of actions, including antioxidant and immunologic properties. Although hypothesized to be beneficial, there is no definitive evidence from well-conducted human clinical trials currently available regarding the use of elder.
The bark, leaves, seeds, and raw/unripe fruit contain the cyanogenic glycoside sambunigrin, which is potentially toxic.