Anyway, Elderberries. Here's a mention of an Israeli study on the effectiveness of elderberries on flu:
There has been one small study in Israel (1992), testing the use of Elderberry syrup in people with the flu. These patients were showing the first symptoms of influenza. Half of the group was given elderberry syrup and the other half received a placebo (no medication or herb). In those receiving the elderberry, fever, cough, muscle aches were reduced in one-fifth of the patients in 24 hours. The 2nd day 75% of the patients were feeling better and by 3 days, 90% of them felt completely cured. While those on the placebo - 8% felt better in 24 hours and it was 6 days before 90% of that group was cured.
I don't know if this was a "scientific" study or not--but it did include a placebo group and the results were certainly good. And, as I've said elsewhere, I've used Sambucol for flu with good success--it cut the symptoms and severity of symptoms and got me better faster. That's all I need to know.
Both the elder flowers and the berries are very good for you. Read the pages of material on elder at botanical.com and you'll have more information than you'll know what to do with. What a magnificent resource that website is. I read it for fun and in the hope that dollops of good info will enter my brain (and stay there).
In the past the leaves, stems, bark and root of the elder were also used medicinally, but it is not recommended today. The leaves, bark and root of the elder contain cyanidin glycosides and can be poisonous. Or so it is said. Steve Brill discusses this in the section on elderberry on his webpage:
Many older herb books recommend using elderberry leaves, roots, or bark medicinally, probably because Indian herbal experts used them. This doesn’t guarantee safety: Never use these parts of the elderberry. They’re poisonous. They contain a bitter alkaloid and glycoside that may change into cyanide. Children have been poisoned using elderberry twig peashooters, and adults have been poisoned using hollowed twigs to tap maple trees. However, there is a benefit to the toxicity: People use dried, crumbled elderberry leaves in their gardens as a natural insecticide.
Be that as it may, sometimes tiny doses of something poisonous can be used medicinally. I don't recommend it--but say you were terribly constipated in a wilderness survival situation--I would nibble some elder leaves as a laxative, figuring it would do the trick but not kill me. And I'd bet I'd be right--but that's me. The body I'd be taking chances with is mine--so you make up your own mind when it comes to things like that. I can only be responsible for my own idiocy, not yours.
Do find and use some elderberries if you can. After you've taken the berries from the stems, the rest is quite easy and it will be great to have the syrups and tinctures on hand. Here is just a bit more information on the medicinal properties of the berries to entice you into berry-picking.
Good hunting, and, as Michael says, stay alive.