There are several varieties of elderberry grown throughout the world, but the medicinal herb we want for its powerful cold- and flu-fighting powers is European black elderberry, or Sambucus nigra L.
Elder is a shrub that originates in Europe, Asia and Africa, and it has dark black berries and small white flowers. Medicinal uses of the elder plant go back centuries. Remnants of the plant have been found in stone age sites, and the plant was referenced in writings by Pliny the Elder and Hippocrates.
Almost all parts of the elder plant were used in ancient times. The wood was used for making instruments. The flowers and berries were used for medicine.
Of course, elderberry can be grown and harvested in your own yard. If you choose to do this, make sure the elderberry plant you grow is the correct type. The varieties native to the United States are not the same as black elderberries that are used in herbal remedies. If you do not have your own elderberry plant, you can buy the dried elderberries and use them to make your own herbal medicines.
In a question-and-answer column published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on Thanksgiving Day, a recent immigrant asked the distinguished evangelist his opinion on which of the two holidays, Thanksgiving or Christmas, is more siginificant.
“I am a newcomer to your country, and I am still trying to understand your holidays. Which one is more important, Thanksgiving or Christmas?” inquired the person.
Graham responded that in the United States most people would probably say that Christmas is more important than Thanksgiving.
“Which holiday is more important to Americans? Most people probably would say Christmas, since it occupies more of their time and attention,” wrote Graham.
“But in reality both should be of great importance, because both should remind us of God’s goodness to us— first by providing for our daily needs, and then by sending His Son into the world for our salvation.”
Graham went on to express dismay over how many Americans choose to celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving as secular holidays.
“Unfortunately, for many people both Thanksgiving and Christmas are merely secular holidays. But take time today to thank God for His goodness to you, and to commit your life anew to Him,” continued Graham.
“And as Christmas approaches, take time also to remember God’s greatest gift to us — the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Make Him the center of your life — not just today, but every day.”
Graham’s sense that most Americans would pick Christmas over Thanksgiving has been found to be true in assorted polls taken about Americans’ favorite holidays.
For example, last December the political polling site FiveThirtyEight conducted an online survey of about 1,000 respondents and found that 78 percent of them listed Christmas in their top five favorite holidays. Read more