Elder has a very long history of household use as a medicinal herb and is also much used by herbalists[4]. The plant has been called 'the medicine chest of country people'[4]. The flowers are the main part used in modern herbalism, though all parts of the plant have been used at times[238]. Stimulant[9, 53, 165]. The inner bark is collected from young trees in the autumn and is best sun-dried[4]. It is diuretic, a strong purgative and in large doses emetic[4, 7]. It is used in the treatment of constipation and arthritic conditions[238]. An emollient ointment is made from the green inner bark[4]. The leaves can be used both fresh or dry. For drying, they are harvested in periods of fine weather during June and July. The leaves are purgative, but are more nauseous than the bark[4]. They are also diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant and haemostatic[4, 7]. The juice is said to be a good treatment for inflamed eyes[4]. An ointment made from the leaves is emollient and is used in the treatment of bruises, sprains, chilblains, wounds etc[4]. The fresh flowers are used in the distillation of 'Elder Flower Water'. The flowers can be preserved with salt to make them available for distillation later in the season[4]. The water is mildly astringent and a gentle stimulant. It is mainly used as a vehicle for eye and skin lotions[4]. The dried flowers are diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, galactogogue and pectoral[4, 7]. An infusion is very effective in the treatment of chest complaints and is also used to bathe inflamed eyes[4]. The infusion is also a very good spring tonic and blood cleanser[4]. Externally, the flowers are used in poultices to ease pain and abate inflammation[4]. Used as an ointment, it treats chilblains, burns, wounds, scalds etc[4]. The fruit is depurative, weakly diaphoretic and gently laxative[4, 7]. A tea made from the dried berries is said to be a good remedy for colic and diarrhoea[4]. The fruit is widely used for making wines, preserves etc., and these are said to retain the medicinal properties of the fruit[4]. The pith of young stems is used in treating burns and scalds[46, 61, 100]. The root is no longer used in herbal medicine but it formerly had a high reputation as an emetic and purgative that was very effective against dropsy[4]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh inner bark of young branches[4]. It relieves asthmatic symptoms and spurious croup in children[4]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Sambucus nigra for cough and bronchitis, fevers and colds (see [302] for critics of commission E).