2.(MeSH)A plant genus in the family CAPRIFOLIACEAE best known for elderberries.
Sambucus‖Sam*bu"cus (?), n. [L., an elder tree.] (Bot.) A genus of shrubs and trees; the elder.
definition of Wikipedia
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|European Black Elder (Sambucus nigra)|
Sambucus (elder or elderberry) is a genus of between 5 and 30 species of shrubs or small trees in the moschatel family, Adoxaceae. It was formerly placed in the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae, but was reclassified due to genetic evidence. Two of its species are herbaceous.
The genus is native in temperate-to-subtropical regions of both the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. It is more widespread in the Northern Hemisphere; its Southern Hemisphere occurrence is restricted to parts of Australasia and South America.
The leaves are pinnate with 5–9 leaflets (rarely 3 or 11). Each leaf is 5–30 cm (2.0–12 in) long, and the leaflets have serrated margins. They bear large clusters of small white or cream-colored flowers in late spring; these are followed by clusters of small black, blue-black, or red berries (rarely yellow or white).
The flowers of Sambucus nigra are used to produce elderflower cordial. The French, Austrians and Central Europeans produce elderflower syrup, commonly made from an extract of elderflower blossoms, which is added to pancake (Palatschinken) mixes instead of blueberries. People throughout much of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe use a similar method to make a syrup which is diluted with water and used as a drink. Based on this syrup, Fanta markets a soft drink variety called "Shokata" which is sold in 15 countries worldwide. In the United States, this French elderflower syrup is used to make elderflower marshmallows. St. Germain, a French liqueur, is made from elderflowers. Hallands Fläder, a Swedish akvavit, is flavoured with elderflowers.
The Italian liqueur Sambuca is flavoured with oil obtained from the elderflower.
Wines, cordials and marmalade have been produced from the berries or flowers. Fruit pies and relishes are produced with berries. In Italy (especially in Piedmont) and Germany, the umbels of the elderberry are batter coated, fried and then served as a dessert or a sweet lunch with a sugar and cinnamon topping.
Ornamental varieties of Sambucus are grown in gardens for their showy flowers, fruits and lacy foliage.
Native species of elderberry are often planted by people wishing to support native butterfly and bird species.
Black elderberry has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. Some preliminary studies demonstrate that elderberry may have a measurable effect in treating the flu, alleviating allergies, and boosting overall respiratory health. It was discovered in 2010 that ingredients in S. Nigra juice prevent viruses from infecting mucous membranes. Using this datum, Dr. Linus Hollis (ScD) gathered 150 volunteers to develop a Viral Prevention Protocol that would not increase allergic sensitivity. The use of the juice as a gargle twice daily along with sinus rinsing proved effective. For the number of volunteers who found sinus rinsing unpleasant, eyedrops were developed. The concentrations are 1ml/l of juice to e either saline or eyewash. A single ml of juice is enough to gargle. Weekly monitoring of IgE showed little to no increase for all the volunteers. Having been shown to be safe and effective, the volunteers "expanded the
Branches from the Elder are also used to make the Fujara, Koncovka and other uniquely Slovakian flutes.  Similar musical instruments (furulya) are made of elderberry (fekete bodza Sambucus nigra) in Hungary and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The leaves, twigs, branches, seeds and roots contain a cyanide-inducing glycoside (a glycoside which gives rise to cyanide as the metabolism processes it). Ingesting any of these parts in sufficient quantity can cause a toxic build up of cyanide in the body.
Due to the possibility of cyanide poisoning, children should be discouraged from making whistles, slingshots or other toys from elderberry wood. In addition, "herbal teas" made with elderberry leaves (which contain cyanogenic glycosides) should be treated with high caution. However, ripe berries (pulp and skin) are safe to eat.
The berries are a very valuable food resource for many birds. In Northern California elderberries are a favorite food for migrating Band-Tailed Pigeons. Flocks can strip an entire bush in less than an hour. Elders are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Brown-tail, Buff Ermine, Dot Moth, Emperor Moth, the Engrailed, Swallow-tailed Moth and the V-pug. The crushed foliage and immature fruit have a strong fetid smell.
Valley elderberry longhorn beetle in California are very often found around red or blue elderberry bushes. Females lay their eggs on the bark. Larvae hatch and burrow into the stems.
Folklore is extensive and can be wildly conflicting depending on region.
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