This section is from the book "Botanic Drugs Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics", by Thomas S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: Botanic Drugs, Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Elder, Sambucus Canadensis. Not official. Sam-bucus nigra (flowers) are very generally official except in the U. S.; the berries are official in a few countries, and the juice of the berries in six countries. The two plants are similar in action.
Elder Flowers carry a peculiar volatile oil. A distilled elder flower water is used as a fragrant vehicle, especially for collyria and lotions. In warm infusion the flowers are diuretic. The berries possess no medicinal activity.
The bark and root are, in full dosage, hydrogogue cathartic, and may be used in the treatment of dropsy in doses of 30 to 60 minims fl.
The decoction of the inner bark is used freely as a diuretic in the treatment of acute nephritis.
In small doses, fl. 5 to 10 minims, the inner bark is an alterative of value in the treatment of edematous skin affections.