Elder flowers. View of flowering heads of the elder (Sambucus nigra). The elder is a small tree native to Europe which has been used medicinally for centuries. The flowers can be used to make a tea which is said to relieve colds and other respiratory tract disorders. When drunk hot last thing at night, it provokes sweating and then deep and sound sleep. Preparations of the flowers applied externally are used to relieve inflammation and pain. Elder flowers added to water have an emollient effect, and help keep the skin clean and healthy. The leaves and flowers also have a diuretic action, which has been used to remedy oedema (water retention).
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