there seems to be a lot of confusion with the identification of poke vs. the identification of elderberry…i never imagined that they could be taken for each other but i can see how that could cause confusion so i want to clear this up right now! i’ve had several people contact me about in the past few days and i don’t want anyone else to confuse the two.
elderberries are tiny. they grow in clusters instead of a long cylindrical cone if that makes sense…picture queen anne’s lace or yarrow with berries and that’s what elderberries looks like. pokeberries are about the size of peas with a dent in each berry. elderberries are about the size of a bb.
also, the stems of elderberry are thin and woody with brown flecks on them. the only part of the elder bush that is red is the stems that the berries are on and some of the leaf stems. pokeberry plant stems are generally a purply red.
as an aside, pokeberries are not as poisonous as people make them out to be…yes, if you ate a bunch of the berries and chewed the seeds in them really well, you would probably puke a lot and may have more serious side effects but they don’t taste very good and the taste alone would stop you. swallowing a few berries will do nothing more than put your body into high gear to clear out your system. as long as you don’t chew the seeds, it’s not going to do a whole lot to you other than maybe give you diarrhea. (but please, don’t try eating them nevertheless!)
having said that, poke is an excellent lymph mover. i’ve used it a lot in the past for swollen lymph nodes and for plugged ducts that cause mastitis. it is a low dose medicinal but a very valuable one!
for one more look at elderberry, watch tina sams’ video on the essential herbal facebook fanpage.
i hope this helps to clear up any confusion! please let me know if i need to post more pictures!