Knowledge about the benefits of elderflower tea is as old as time. A popular choice among fans of herbal tea, this tea is the ultimate choice for flower power in a cup.
Elderflower tea has been enjoyed by people in the Roman days, the Victorian era, and many places in between. In addition to being satisfying and delicious, it’s packed with health benefits.
Like most herbal teas, elderflower tea is a powerhouse of antioxidants that can potentially help to fight disease, illness, and aging.
So let’s start breaking down all the benefits of drinking elderflower tea!
What Is Elderflower Tea?
Elderflower tea is a fragrant herbal tea made using either fresh or dried elderflowers. The flowers are typically collected from the black elder tree (Sambucus nigra) native to Europe.
Elderflowers are beloved by foragers. Their deep fragrance and soot-colored fruit (elderberries) embody the jewels of summer. The feather-like leaves on the elder tree give off a pleasant aroma when touched.
So how does it taste?
Elderflower tea has a mild floral taste with a hint of sweetness. Most people find it quite pleasant but adding some lemon and honey (or other herbs like ginger or mint) will make it more enjoyable in my opinion.
Here is a great video that sums up the main facts about this floral tea:
History of Elderflower Medicinal Use
According to legend, planting elderflowers on your property will keep the devil away!
But you might be more excited to learn that they can also help to keep colds away.
Elderflowers have been used medicinally for centuries.
In addition to being used in potions and tinctures, elderflowers are also used for a delicious drink called elderflower cordial. This soft drink is made from a solution of refined sugar, lemon, and water that’s combined with elderflower.
While this drink was popular in Victorian times, ancient elderflower cordial recipes have been traced back to the Roman days.
But there’s no need to learn the recipe for elderflower cordial to get the health benefits.
It’s far more common to simply enjoy a warm cup of elderflower tea when seeking the help of this aromatic flowering plant!
Later in this article, I will share a recipe for making it at home.
Elderberry vs Elderflower Tea
Following pollination, the flowers on the elder develop small, black-purple berries with a sour flavor that ripen from the end of summer through fall.
So the elderflower plant is the same plant that produces elderberries that are often used in jams, jellies, liqueur, syrup, and more!
You can also make tea with fully ripe elderberries. The result is a sweet-meets-tart taste with earthy undertones.
The health benefits of elderflowers and elderberries are quite similar since they come from the same plant and both contain potent antioxidants and vitamins.
Elderflower Tea Benefits
Elderflower tea is often considered a summertime tea. However, many people drink it all year long.
I consider it a must-have item for cold and flu season!
1. Source of Antioxidants
Elderflower tea is blooming with antioxidants!
Beverages made with this flower are rich in substances called phenolic compounds that are known for their high antioxidant content. These phenolic compounds have been credited with having anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiproliferative agents that can keep the body young and thriving.
Their antioxidant effect may also help to protect cells against free radicals tied to heart disease, cancer, and many more diseases.
In addition, elderflower tea is also a great source of quercetin. This flavonoid occurs naturally in both elderflowers and the deep, purple-black pigmentation of elderberries.
In studies, quercetin has been shown to help reduce inflammation and blood pressure. Some people find that it also helps to relieve allergy symptoms.
2. Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Research shows that elderflowers can be powerful in the fight against inflammation.
Based on a 2006 study, elderflower extract was found to potentially inhibit proinflammatory activities.
While inflammation anywhere in the body can lead to a myriad of health problems, this particular study looked at elderflower’s ability to stop inflammation in a very interesting part of the body. The Research concludes that elderflower is a potential therapeutic tool for the control of inflammation in human periodontitis.
Yes, that means that elderflower tea may help you to maintain better oral health by keeping gum inflammation that leads to tooth decay at bay!
3. Remedy for Colds and Flu
All of the anti-inflammatory properties that make elderflower tea incredible for your health also make it an amazing tool against colds and flu.
By helping to reduce inflammation in the body, elderflower tea allows the immune system to perform at optimal capacity when “bugs” strike.
In addition, elderflower tea offers a delicious way to take in loads of vitamin C.
4. Good for the Skin
The querceting and antioxidants found in elderflower can help keep your skin radiant and prevent wrinkles.
Elderflower extract is often used in skin creams as its anti-microbial and anti-fungal promote healthy skin and may prevent breakouts.
5. Relaxing Effect
Sipping on a nice cup of elderflower tea can be a very calming and relaxing experience. It can help with reducing stress and recovering after a busy workday.
Just inhaling the refreshing floral aroma of this herbal infusion often has a soothing effect that may help with relieving anxiety.
Looking for something to add to this tea that will really help you unwind?
Check out my recommended teas for sleep and relaxation and some of these herbs into your elderflower tea.
Elderflower Tea Side Effects – Are There Any?
Elderflower tea is generally considered safe in moderate amounts. So unless you make your tea very strong and drink dozens of cups you should be fine.
However, the stems of elderflowers are mildly toxic and have an unpleasant taste. The toxic compounds are destroyed when you cook them, but I still recommend that you remove the stems as much as possible.
As with other herbal teas, consult your doctor before drinking this tea, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or on medication.
Since it’s caffeine-free, you can drink elderflower tea late in the evening without losing your sleep.
How to Make Elderflower Tea
Making this healthy herbal tea at home is easy.
You can make the tea with only elderflowers and water but you can also add additional ingredients — I recommend trying it with lemon.
One trick for dressing up the clean, light summertime flavor of elderflower tea is to add a spoonful of raw honey.
Elderflowers are quite common and easy to find so you can just pick them and use them fresh. You can also order dried elderflowers online.
Here is what you will need for making 2 portions:
- A Handful of Fresh Elderflowers (or 1 tbsp of dried ones)
- 3 Cups of Water
- Other Herbs (e.g. ginger, mint, chamomile)
Follow the steps below to prepare the tea:
- Trim the fresh flowers to remove stems and check for any insects and dirt and remove them also.
- Bring water to a boil in a saucepan or other vessel.
- Add the elderflowers, turn off the heat, and steep for about 10 minutes.
- Strain to cups and enjoy!
Many people find that elderflower tea actually has a subtle wine-like quality. This is a sophisticated-tasting tea that offers a nice change of pace from herbal teas with flat flavors.
It’s also a great upgrade if you’ve grown tired of citrus teas when seeking herbal tea with high vitamin C content.
Everyone Should Try Elderflower Tea!
While tea time with elderflower appears to be nearly as old as time, this tea isn’t exactly mainstream.
It’s a shame that more people don’t know about elderflower tea. There’s never a bad time to enjoy a cup of this healing potion.
However, the best time to bring elderflower tea into your life is when you’re looking for a powerful, natural tea to help you fight off cold and flu symptoms.
This rich floral infusion offers a medley of medicinal qualities with some natural sweetness to create a very special experience!
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