The guelder rose plant, also know as water elder, cramp bark or snowball tree is widely seen in Europe, Asia, north Africa and commonly used in folk medicine. Predominantly, it grows in forested mountain regions and it's always good to have some dried guelder rose on hand.
Guelder rose is used in folk medicine for its laxative, diuretic and antirheumatic properties. Generally, the fruits of the plant are used against stagnant body fluids, kidney diseases, intestinal catarrh, dysentery, diarrhea, liver problems more.
The guelder rose is a tall shrub with smooth gray-green stems. The leaves are green, with the topside being darker and the underside being grayer. During fall, they attain a red color.
The flowers of guelder rose, which can also be used in folk medicine, are white colored. Their effect is similar to the fruits of the herb but quite diminished.
The leaves of the herb can be used against skin diseases and if chopped while still fresh they are used in folk medicine as a compress against sprains or swelling.
Guelder rose is picked as soon as its fruits ripen. This happens in the fall, usually in the period August - September. The fruits are dried in the shade or in a special fruit dryer (the temperature needs to be set to 160°F (70°C)). The maximum humidity allowed is 11%. Once the fruits dry completely, they need to be wrapped in paper bags, sealed well and stored in a dry, dark area.
You can make your own guelder rose drink as follows: Mash 1 tbsp of the dried fruits, put them to boil for 5 min. in 2 cups water and drink 1 wine glass of the concoction before meals, 3 times a day.
You can make an infusion from the leaves and flowers as well - put 2 tbsp of the herb in 1 2/3 cups water. Drink 1 wine glass 3 times a day before meals.