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Herbs useful for treating cold: Black elder, marshmallow.

Herb name: Black elder, Sambucus nigra

herbs - black elder

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Useful plant parts: flowers and fruits

Description: Elder is a 3 to 6 meters high medicinal plant that comes mostly in a shrub-like form. The bark is usually light to dark brown colored, sometimes somewhat gray. The bark is also spilled with numerous wart-shaped forms. Branches are covered with dark-green leaves which are placed facing each other. The leaves are oval, and narrow at the top. Flowers have a very intense aroma, they are small and primrose, collected in large flat blooms.


Collecting period and locations: The gathering of the flowers is mostly done from May to June, while the fruits can be gathered after the specified period, when they are fully matured. During the gathering, fully bloomed flowers are picked and binded in smaller bunches and hung in a warm and airy place. As for the sites where black elder can be found, elder is a very widespread plant - it grows on the edges of forests, often along paths.

Medicinal properties and applications: The most important feature of tea from elder flowers is promoting perspiration, which makes for good medicine against fever. In addition, the tea of elder strengthens the immune system, which makes this tea a good medication for preventing flu and colds. Because of this last mentioned property, it can often be found in medicinal mixtures against cold and its symptoms.

Active compounds: Essential oils, glycosides, flavonoids, tannins, vitamins and mineral compounds.

Recipe: Regarding the preparation of tea, usually 2 full teaspoons of dried elder flowers are taken and a quarter liter of boiling water is added and left about 10 minutes.


Herb name: Marshmallow, Althaea officinalis

herbs - mashmallow

Family: Malvaceae

Useful plant parts: The roots, leaves and flowers

Description: The marshmallow is a relatively hairy plant, up to 2 meters high, with a non-branched stem. Leaves are pedicellate, with both sides covered in hair. They also have and a non-symmetrically cut edge. At the top of the stem, white or pink flowers up to 4-5 cm are developed.

Collecting period and locations: Usually, roots from two-year old plants are collected. The collected roots are cleaned and dried quickly after cleaning. Leaves and flowers are picked while young, and are also dried in a warm and airy place. As for the locations, this plant can be found in gardens, and sometimes in the wild too. It usually likes deep and wet soil, and grows best in low and moist meadows and pastures, along bushes and shrubs.


Medicinal properties and applications: Marshmallow is a good aid for easing various inflammations of the mucosae, whether in internal organs (stomach, intestine) or in the oral cavity and throat. It also helps in treating inflammations on the skin. It is good for treating diarrhea, and is effective in stopping coughs as well.

Active compunds: Mucilage, pectin, tannins, and essential oils.

Recipe: Marshmallow is used to prepare tea, via the cold method. About 2 teaspoons of dried plant material are added to a quarter liter of cold water which is then well stirred. The plant material is left in the water for half an hour. At the end, the tea is strained and is ready to be used.



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