It's the night of the harvest moon (I know, my post is a little late)
Unless one follows the old addage, "a little wine for thy stomach sake", in which case one COULD consider the making of wine to be of medicinal use. ;)
Here in the Pacific NorthWest the two native varieties of Elderberry are the Blue Sambucus Cerulea, which is a subspecies of Sambucus Nigra (European Black Elderberry) and the Red Sambucus Callicarpa, a subspecies of Sambucus Racemosa. Of the two, the blue berries are the most palatable, at least as far as I am concerned. The red variety MUST be cooked due to the cyanide producing glucoside that is contained within the berries as well as the root, stems and leaves. While the blue-black variety only contains these glucosides in the leaves, stems and roots. Though I still would not eat them raw either and especially not when green. But, heat breaks down the glucosides, rendering them inert.
And here I promised you there would be no chemistry lesson. Oops.
Me? I have something special planned for 2 cups of the berries before juicing the rest for wine and syrup.