The Elder-Tree grows almost every where; but it most deligths in Hedges, Orchards, and other shady Places, or on the moist Banks of Rivulets and Ditches, unto which it is thrust by the Gardeners, lest, by its Luxury, and importunate Increase yearly, it should posssess all their Ground. We write here of the Domestic common elder, not of the Mountain, the Water, or Dwarf Elder. Ours in Figure is like the Ash; the Leaves resemble those of a Walnut-tree, but less; in the Top of the Branches and Twigs there spring sweet and crisp’d Umbels, swelling with white odoriferous Flowers, in june, before St. John’s Eve, which, by their Fall give Place to a many-branch’d Grape, first green then ruddy, last of a black, dark, Purple Colour, succulent and tumid, with its vinous Liquor. Of all the wild Plants it is first cover’d with Leaves, and last unclothed of them. It flourishes in May, June, and July, but the Berries are not ripe till August.
As for the Qualities and Virtues of Elder-Berries, I need say no more, but that Mr. Ray has given a great Encomium of them. Our learned Dr. needham commending them in Dropsies, and some Fevers; and the ingenious Dr. Croon has extoll’d a Spirit of Elder-Berries in Epidemical intermittent Fevers. Schroder says, they do peculiarly respect some Diseases attributed to the Womb. Mr. Evelyn is so bountiful to his poor Forester, as to assure him, that if he could but learn the medicinal Properties of the Elder-Tree, he might fetch from every Hedge a Remedy either for Sickness or Wound. The same curious Gentleman takes Notice how prevalent these Berries are in scorbutic Distempers; and for the Prolongation of Life, famous is the Story of Naeander. I have heard some praise them in Bloody-fluxes, and other Diseases of the Bowels; also in several Distempers of the Head, as the Falling-Sickness, Megrims, Palsies and Lethargies. They likewise are thought to promote the monthly Inundations of Women, and to destroy the Heat of an Erysipelas, for which the Flowers themselves are highly celebrated by Simon Pauli, who experimented them upon himself with wonderful Success. I could produce several Cases out of the best Physical Writers, as Forestus, Riverius, Rulandus, &c. where these Berries have acted their Parts, even to Admiration; but if you are curious and inquisitive after the Qualities and Nature of them, I recommend to Perusal Martin Blockwitz, a learned German, where you may entertain yourself with great Variety: Yet I have one Thing still to give Notice of, viz. that the same Medicine may be prepar’d out of the Spirit, Oil, and Salt of this Berry, as you have been taught above, to make out of the Juniper-Berry; but you may obtain them all in a simple Decoction, if it be well manag’d.
You have read here the great Use of these two Berries, which are more universally agreeable to all Tempers, Palates and Cases, than perhaps any other two simple Medicines commonly known among us; so that many Persons being under ill Habits of Body, and upon the Frontiers of some lingering Diseases, cannot but desire to have Recourse to so pleasant, so sure, and withal so easy and so cheap a Remedy. Nevertheless, it is more than barely probable, that my friendly Prescription may meet with that Fate which does attend almost all sublunary Things, that is, Laudatur ab his, culpatur ab illis: But it dreads most of all the Turkey and East-India merchant, who will condemn it in Defence of their Coffee and Tea, which have the Honour of coming from the Levant and China. Besides, I am afraid of a Lash or a Frown from some Beau or Belle, or some Petit Maitre, or some other of our nices Ones, who scorn to eat, drink, or wear any Thing which comes not from France, Italy, or the distant Indies: They fancy poor England is not capable of bringing forth any Commodity, which can possibly be agreeable to their Grandeur and Gallantry: As tho‘ Nature had curs’d this Island with the Production of such Things as are every Way unsuitable to the Complexions and Necessities of its Inhabitans. However, I cannot but retort upon these a la mode Persons, that while they worship so much only foreign Creatures, they cannot but be very ignorant of those at Home. His Excellency Ben Haddo, the most acute and ingenious Ambassador from the Emperor of Morocco, is reported, when he was here, to have advis’d his Attendants to see every Thing, but admire nothing, lest they should seem thereby to disparage their own Country, and shew themselves ignorant of the great Rarities and Wodners of Barbary. Now I mention Barbary, I have herad from one who lived there several Years, that in most Parts of that Country, the Women are almost continually chewing Juniper-Berries; nor does it appear that they are ever put to any other Uses. Doubtless those People know not any other, yet find them very wholesome.
Poor, contemptible Berries! Fly hence to Smyrna, Bantam, or Mexico: Then would the Merchants work thro‘ Storms and Tempests, thro‘ Fire, Water, and Spanish Guarda Costas, to purchase you; and at your Arrival here would proclaim your Virtues in all Public Assemblies: So true is that common Saying, A Prophet is never esteem’d in his own Country. The English Soil is certainly influenc’d by some pestilential Star, which blasts the Credit of its Productions.
Marlene Ernst (Transkription): "Elder-Berry", in: Mrs. Eales Compleat Confectioner (1718-1742), Teil 2, S. 098,
online unter: https://gastrosophie.sbg.ac.at/kbforschung/r-datenbank/?rdb_rezepte=elder-berry (14.08.2022).
Datenbankeintrag erstellt von Marlene Ernst.