Category Archives: Elderberry (Sambucus)

Fruit Teas in Poland

Ingredients of popular fruit teas in Poland

Artur Adamczak, Anna Forycka, Tomasz M. Karpiński

Department of Botany, Breeding and Agricultural Technology of Medicinal Plants, Institute of Natural Fibres and Medicinal Plants, Kolejowa 2, 62-064 Plewiska, Poland(Adamczak and Forycka)) and Department of Genetics and Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Poznań University of Medical Sciences, Święcickiego 4, 60-781 Poznań, Poland (Karpiński)

The attached article from Poland shows the incredible diversity of fruit teas in Polish markets. Leaves, fruit, flowers, stems, petals, peels, roots, and juice concentrates  are used in a variety of teas that are popular because of their flavor, aroma and health benefits especially antioxidant content. The most popular fruit teas were raspberry, cranberry and rose hip, but the final tea sometimes contained more than 20 ingredients. Especially common in fruit teas were hibiscus flowers and apple. Apple and rose hip are often the top ingredients because they are cheap and easy to obtain from commercial sources. Even teas labeled raspberry could have hibiscus as the main ingredient. It certainly pays to do your homework and purchase from reputable sources because quality variation is huge. The list of ingredients is diverse and interesting!


Healthy Northern Berries Improve Glucose Utilization

This study from Norway centered around glucose control in the liver. The researchers studied the pathways of glucose uptake and described the enzymes used in the final steps of carbohydrate digestion as alpha-amylase and alpha glucosidase. Any chemical that inhibits these enzymes will slow glucose uptake in the liver and be a benefit to anyone dealing with type 2 diabetes. They studies a lot of berries (bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), black currants (Ribes nigrum),  bog whortleberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus), Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), Elderberry (Sambucus nigra), Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitas-idaea), raspberry (Rubus idaeus), red currant (Ribes rubric), rowan berries (mountain ash, Sorbus aucuparia), and sea buckthorn (Hippophae (Elaeagnus) rhamnoides). The phenolic compounds in all the berries inhibited response the enzymes that promote glucose uptake. Some berries had other chemicals that actually promoted glucose uptake: mountain ash and bilberry being the highest. The berries with the most powerful inhibitors were crowberry, cloudberry, bog whortleberry (bog blueberry), and lingonberry with crowberry being ranked number 1!


Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup Today I was lucky enough to take a workshop at the Eagle River Nature Center presented by Chief Naturalist Ute Olsson.  She covered a lot of ground.  The ERNC calendar is here with a brief description of the workshop: Workshop announcement.  In the workshop we made elderberry syrup.   Elderberries are highly regarding for their nutraceutical properties.  The workshop presented a recipe found on Wellness Mamas website which can be found here: Elderberry Syrup.  The dried elderberries we used were actually quite tasty on their own and had a chocolate hint to them.


Elderberry – Sambucus species. The newest additions to our edible landscape process are some plants of the Sambucus species. This summer, I traded a friend for a native elderberry plant. I also purchased two different cultivars of Sambucus nigra Samdal and Samyl, which have the traditional purple/black berries. A third variety of Sambucus canadensis was purchased at the Alaska Botanical Garden this summer. To round out my collection, I picked up two plants of the cultivar “Black Lace”, which is also a cultivar of Sambucus nigra. I purchased these two at a summer clearance sale at a local box store. After getting them home, I discovered they are a zone 4 or better plant and keep them in large pots which are moved into the a protected area for the winter. With the exception of the Black Lace cultivars, the others will be planted in the south and west perimeter of my dome greenhouse. Three of the Sambucus nigra were planted the summer of 2014 and grew very well this summer. The Sambucus canadensis plant will stay in the protection of the greenhouse this winter as it didn’t have a lot of vigorous growth this summer. This spring, it will go out with the other three. The Black Lace will remain in pots to be placed outside the greenhouse door to entice pollinators to visit. I haven’t decided where to place the native plant, but may try and gather a few more plants to add to the perimeter of our property. D.B.