Medicinal Plants

Sambucus canadensis
La fle siwo is most commonly used in a syrup for coughs and colds. The flowers are boiled in sugar for this syrup. Leaves should be used sparingly. The flowers of chak chak (Crotalaria retusa), garden balsam (Justicia pectoralis) and djapanna (Eupatorium triplinerve) may be added for chest colds in children. It is also used for coughs with patjouli (Pogostemon cablin). For bad chest colds with phlegm, juvenile leaves are pounded with a little water and the juice extracted, a teaspoon each of olive oil and castor oil or coconut oil added, swizzled well and drunk. For rough or bad skin, the leaves are crushed with coconut oil and applied topically. If you eat something that makes you ill, la fle siwo is boiled with djapanna and drunk as a tea. For high inflammation and colds it is combined in a tea with the full bud of a red rose. This plant contains some poisonous alkaloids and cyanogenic glycosides although the flowers are quite edible. Children should be cautioned not to use the hollow stems for pea shooters.l