Alder, TagBotanical Name: Alnus serrulata (WILLD.)
Family: N.O. Betulaceae
Synonyms: Alnus rubra (obsolete). Smooth Alder. Red Alder.
Parts Used: Bark. Cones.
Habitat: United States and Europe.
Description: A well-known shrub, growing in clumps and forming thickets on the borders of ponds or rivers, or in swamps. It bears flowers of a reddish-green colour in March and April. The bark is blackish grey, with small, corky warts, the inner surface being orange-brown, striated. The taste is astringent and somewhat bitter. It is almost odourless.
The name Alnus rubra should no longer be applied to Alnus serrulata, though some authorities retain it. That is the correct name of the Oregon Alder.
Medicinal Action and Uses: Alterative, tonic, astringent, emetic. A decoction or extract is useful in scrofula, secondary syphilis and several forms of cutaneous disease. The inner bark of the root is emetic, and a decoction of the cones is said to be astringent, and useful in haematuria and other haemorrhages.
When diarrhoea, indigestion and dyspepsia are caused by debility of the stomach, it will be found helpful, and also in intermittent fevers.
It is said that an excellent ophthalmic powder can be made as follows: bore a hole from 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter, lengthwise, through a stout piece of limb of Tag Alder. Fill the opening with finely-powdered salt, and close it at each end. Put into hot ashes, and allow it to remain until the Tag is almost charred (three to four days), then split it open, take out the salt, powder, and keep it in a vial. To use it, blow some of the powder upon the eye, through a quill.
Dosage: Of fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Infusion of 1 OZ. of bark in 1 pint of boiling water - in wineglassful doses. Almim, 4 to 10 grains.