Common Elder. Nat. Ord. Capri-foliaceae. Linn. Syst. Pentandria Trigynia. Hab. Northern Europe and the United States. A species, S. Adnata, is found in the Himalayas.
Med. Prop. and Action. The berries and the inner bark are hydragogue cathartic, and, in large doses, emetic. The recent flowers are officinal, and are employed in the form of ointment, or they may bo used for fomentations. Their action is gently stimulant. The distilled water is used for flavouring medicines, &c.
Offic. Prep. Aqua Sambuci (Fresh Elder Flowers lbs. x.; Water Cij.; Distil Cj.). Dose, fl. oz. j. - fl. oz. ij.
Dose of Elder bark, gr. x. - gr. xxx.; of a decoction of the bark (oz. j., Water Oij., boiled to Oj.), fl. oz. ij. - fl. oz. iij., three or four times daily.
In Dropsical Affections, the juice of the inner bark has been advised by Sydenham, Boerhaave, Martin Solon, Copland, Delens, and others. The testimony in favour of its efficacy is very strong. More recently, the fresh juice of the root has been advised by Dr. Rene Vanoye as a remedy of still greater power. The results of his trials with this plant are as follows: - 1, it may be administered in all serous accumulations requiring the use of drastic purgatives; 2, it acts with greater energy and rapidity than the most active purges; 3, it should be uncombined with other remedies of the same class; 4, the first doses should be pretty strong: if vomiting occurs, the medicine may be discontinued, or the dose diminished; 5, it is rarely necessary to give more altogether than 120 or 150 grammes (iij - iv.) by mouth, in spoonfuls; 6, it occasionally cures dropsies, when all other remedies have failed; 7, no serious dangers are connected with its employment. From the statements of various writers, it appears to be particularly serviceable in Dropsy connected with disease of the liver.
* Garrod, Ess. Mat. Med. and The-rap., p. 282.
Lond. Journ. of Med., April 1849.