i don’t usually post about individual herbs–there are “planty” of wonderful blogs out there of herbal monographs. however, alder just isn’t getting it’s due. yes, i am talking about alder, not elder-alnus species. the tree. yes, i am mixing tree bark and liquor and calling it “medicine” and i love it.
i originally learned about alder medicine from kiva rose of the anima center, her wonderful blog the medicine woman’s roots is highly recommended. i stumbled across a freshly downed alder tree and dragged it home in the snow. it was fun taking the bark off and watching it turn red, drying it slightly to reduce the emetic property and making a beautiful tincture. i quickly met with many nasty situations in need of alder’s medicine-terrible cavity, sinus infection, bad clogged ear, swollen blocked lymphatics. worked 100% each time. sounds kinda ear-nose-throat—-but wait—-it worked wonderfully for the worst uti ever. with monarda.
so why isn’t alder in many modern books and stuff? well, like several of my absolute favorite medicines it is not really available at the store. i sell the tincture and i’ve only had one request for it ever. one website calls it “tonic and astringent, cures ague.” yeah, they aren’t beating down my doors for THAT. “contains tannin-astringent/diuretic.” have these people even tried it? maybe not. compare to a quote from kiva rose “alder is a primary herb in my practice”…houston, we have a problem. is it a conspiracy? probably not. i wonder if perhaps there is no “alder is good for x” crap that people love. how to understand a plant that has so many varied and fabulous functions? why are we always trying to understand everything anyway? just try it.
alder seems to always grow near water whether with it’s feet in a river or just in a nice low-lying or mucky spot. don’t overlook muck, it produces some of the finest medicines in the world. it is definitely cool in nature and can be combined with something warmer if needed. it is dry and moving. like MOVING so if you aren’t ready, buckle your seat belt. i like the tincture best but an oil can be applied externally or to ear infection. dried bark can be decocted. leaves, cones and catkins are used too.
alder can help us with things conventional medicine can’t, that which resists antibiotics or which modern medicine doesn’t even believe in. the next time someone tells you “it’s probably going to be fatal” give me a call, get some alder tincture….or better yet, make your own.