According to Michael Vertolli, an herbalist writing for Vitality Magazine, you can use the elder flower to treat runny nose symptoms caused by colds or allergies. The elder flower also acts as an antiviral and an immune stimulant and is used to lower fever and to treat coughs. You can find several species of elder flowers in Europe and in North America, however all the elder flower species are used the same way for their herbal properties. Elder flower tea is naturally sweet. You can make it from fresh elder flowers or from dried flowers.
Fresh Elder Flower Tea
Pick fresh elder flowers from an elder tree. Depending on where you live, elder flowers generally bloom during the late spring or early summer.
Boil water for tea. Place 2 to 4 fresh elder flowers in a tea pot. Pour the hot water over the flowers.
Cover the teapot and allow the flowers to steep for about 10 minutes. Strain the tea and serve hot.
Dried Elder Flower Tea
Buy dried elder flowers from an herbal supply store, health food store or specialty tea shop.
Boil water for tea. Place 2 tsp. of dried elder flowers in a teapot for each 2/3 cup of tea. Pour the hot water over the dried flowers.
Cover the teapot and let the tea steep for about 5 minutes. Strain the tea and serve hot.
Make a variation on this tea by mixing elder flowers with mint or lemon balm.
Fleur Forsythe writes about the arts, crafts, cooking, entertaining, travel and DIY home design. She began writing professionally in 1996. She is also an artist whose art, crafts and photography have been licensed commercially and exhibited for 17 years. She holds a B.A. in art history and studio art from New York University. Her articles can be found on eHow, Answerbag and Trails.