Common Names: Black- Black Dogwood, European Alder Buckthorn
Description: The Alder is a flowering tree reaching 30 to 35m. The Green alder is more of a shrub reaching only 5m. Bees love their pollen
Origin: Europe, North Africa, and Central Asia, introduced to North America in 1800’s.
Cultivation: Alders thrive in well-drained soils that are neutral-to-acid. They enjoy sun or partial shade.
History: In the Highlands of Scotland it is used for making handsome chairs, and is known as Scottish mahogany.
Storage: The bark is stripped from young plants in spring and early summer and dried for one or (preferably) two years before being used in herbal remedies.
Alder’s are antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, and haemostatic (stops bleeding).
*Alder barks soaked in vinegar and mixed with other cleansing herbs make a cleansing wash for skin irritations.
* Black alder tea is said to be good for skin problems.
* Herbal baths or poultices for swelling, inflammation and rheumatism-type complaints. To make the poultice uses fresh or dried leaves and simmer them in hot water. Then apply to affected area. Or pulp the leaves and moisten with warm milk.
* Black Alder has tannins, which are believed to be astringent, and have been used to treat hemorrhoids.
* Black Alder bark has been used to treat gum disease and scalp infestations, i.e. Scabies and scabs.
* Fresh crushed leaves have been used to soothe chapped skin.
Other uses: Alders have been used to make charcoal, and electric guitar bodies.
Contraindications: use only the dried bark as fresh bark can cause vomiting.