First the Elderflowers and now the Elderberries, you see them all over.

As a cordial or syrup, delicious when mixed with gin. The berries are not very tasty eaten raw, and poisonous when uncooked, but cooking or preserving them will unlock their taste, their sweet flavour, and can be used for many recipes.

But there is more than that. The berries have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, a great benefit for certain skin conditions and to fight free radical damage and ageing pollutants, caused by environmental exposure. They’re also high in vitamin C and E, which will help decrease signs of ageing such as sunspots and fine lines. Elderberry extract is used in our PACK antiox and FRESH tinted moisturiser.

Where does the word come from?

The name ‘Elder’ comes from Middle English (c.1150 to c.1470) eldre, eller, ellen, Anglo Saxon ellærn, Low German elre, elhorn, Latin ebulum, ancient Greek ἐλάτη, elátē, ‘silver fir’.

‘Berry’ comes from Middle English berie, Old English beri(g)e, Old Saxon beri, Old Norse ber, Dutch besie, Gothic basi. In Old English, the word was mainly applied to grapes, but has since grown to its current definition.

The Latin name for elderberry is ‘sambucus’, which may have come from the Greek word ‘sambuca’, an ancient Greek arched harp or a harp-like lyre, said to be made of elderberry wood. The instrument was probably invented by Ibycus, the Greek lyric poet, around the 6th century BCE and was played by women. All beside the point but interesting to know 🙂

Sambuca, a harp, a liqueur?
Both we would say. It could be that Sambuca, as an elderberry liquor flavoured with liquorice, was first produced by the Etruscans but Sambuca may also have come from an Arabic word ‘zhammut’, an anise-flavoured drink that arrived to the port of Civitavecchia (NW of Rome) by ships coming from the Levant. In Sicily for instance, ‘acqua i zammù’, water and Sambuca, is still served today.

If you have any questions/comments or if you want to know more about our FRESH concept, please feel free to contact us.

Pimm + Marcel