American Elder

How does American Elder work?

Research suggests that some of the chemicals in American elder leaf might work as a laxative, diuretic, and germ-killer. American elder also contains lots of vitamin C.

Are there safety concerns?

American elder flowers or cooked, ripe fruit are safe for most adults in the amounts found in foods. There is some scientific evidence that suggests the flowers are safe in medicinal amounts, which are typically larger. Some side effects might include nausea, vomiting, weakness, dizziness, numbness, and stupor.

The leaves, stems, or unripe fruit are UNSAFE. If eaten, they can cause cyanide poisoning. Juice made from unripe fruit can also be poisonous.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE to use the leaves, stems, or unripe fruit of American elder because they contain chemicals that can cause cyanide poisoning. There isn't enough information to know whether it is safe to use the flower or cooked, ripe fruit if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side, and avoid using any form of American elder.

Children: Some children like to make peashooters from American elder stems, but this practice isn't as harmless as it sounds. The stem contains chemicals that can cause cyanide poisoning. Some "peashooter poisonings" have been reported.


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