Traditionally June is the month of the elderflower. Look out for the mass of white flowers that perfume the air with such a sweet fragrance. Found in woodlands, hedgerows and scrubs, they mark the beginning of summer.

Elder is one of the human race’s oldest plant allies and has been found on Stone Age sites. It was written about and used in the time of time of Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and through the centuries by many other ancient herbalists and is still used in today’s remedies.

The word “Elder” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “Auld” and the trees were called Eldrun. They were also known as Pip tree or Bore tree as their low branches with a soft white pith in the middle can be easily pushed through allowing the hollow tubes to be used for blowing up fires.

Throughout time, there are continuous references to the Elder tree; these include:

  • Judas being hanged from an Elder according to medieval folklore and the reference in “Loves Labour Lost”.
  • The cross of Calvary was made of Elder and so it became an emblem of death and sorrow
  • An integral ingredient in soups made in Germany back in the 17th century.
  • It’s inclusion in Native Indian medicine
  • The basis of a great summer cordial
If you feel like indulging in such a refreshing drink drop into Flackley Ash Hotel or why not on one of those hot sunny days, take to the outdoors and gather the tiny buds as they are beginning to open.