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Scientists have discovered that elderberry has been known to man since the prehistoric era, and elderberry recipes were commonly used as natural medicines in ancient Egypt. Hippocrates, the "father of medicine" from ancient Greece depicted it as his "medicine chest" because of its numerous health benefits. The elderberry juice has been used as hair dye by the Romans, and the wood of the elderberry tree has been used to make combs, toys, pegs for shoemakers, needles for weaving musical instruments, and skewers for butchers. The Native Americans used this plant as a natural cure, body paint, ink, for jewelry and musical instruments, hunting whistles, and much more. During the 1995 Panama flu epidemic, the government used it as a natural way to fight the flu, and it reduced its severity and thus helped to end the epidemic.