The flowers and the fresh inner bark of Sambucus canadensis, Linné (Nat. Ord. Caprifoliaceae). An indigenous shrub growing in low, damp grounds and waste places. Dose, 5 to 60 grains (bark).
Common Names: Elder, American Elder.
Principal Constituents.—Valeric acid, tannin, volatile oil, and a resin.
Preparation.—Specific Medicine Sambucus. Dose, 1 to 60 drops.
Specific Indications.—In skin diseases when the tissues are full, flabby, and edematous, the epidermis separates and discharge of serum is abundant, forming crusts; indolent ulcers, with soft edematous edges; mucous patches with free secretions; post-scarlatinal dropsy; low deposits in or depravation of tissues.
Action and Therapy.—External. An ointment of sambucus has been successfully used in weeping eczema, and in old ulcers as a stimulant when the tissues are full and flabby and attended with a discharge of serum.
Internal. Sambucus is stimulant; the flowers in warm infusion are diaphoretic; the cold infusion, diuretic and alterative. Preparations of the green inner bark are excellent agents in edematous conditions, especially in skin diseases showing a tendency to ulceration, with watery discharges and boggy edges. The epiderm separates easily and the weeping secretions form crusts. Probably its most direct indication is depravation of tissue, with edema and deposits of cacoplastic material. Sambucus is useful in catarrhal nasal obstruction in infants and in the dropsy following scarlet fever. It deserves further study in edematous conditions. A strong decoction of the fresh inner bark of the root (bark 1 ounce, water 32 fluidounces, boiled down to 16 fluidounces) in doses of two to four fluidounces, will sometimes promptly empty the tissues of dropsical effusion and act slightly upon the bowels.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.