Herb: American Green Alder


Latin name: Alnus viridis crispa


Synonyms: Alnus crispa, Betula crispa


Family: Betulaceae (Birch Family)



Medicinal use of American Green Alder:

The bark is astringent, emetic, haemostatic, stomachic and tonic. The bark was burnt as an inhalant in the treatment of rheumatism. The ashes were also used as a tooth cleaner. A decoction of the inner bark has been used as a carminative to reduce gas in the stomach and as a febrifuge. A decoction of the plant has been used in a steam treatment to bring about menstruation - it has been used as an abortifacient. A poultice of the leaves has been used to treat infected wounds or sores. The poultice was left in place over the wound until the leaves stuck to it and was then pulled off, removing the "poison" with it. An infusion of the plant tops was given to children with poor appetites.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Shrub

Height:
3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

Flovering:
April
to May

Habitat of the herb:

Rocky shores, slopes and mountains. Singly or in thickets along streams, lakeshores, coasts, and bog or muskeg margins, or on sandy or gravelly slopes or flats, from sea level to 2000 metres.

Edible parts of American Green Alder:

Catkins - raw or cooked. A bitter taste.

Other uses of the herb:

An orange-red to brown dye can be obtained from the bark.

Propagation of American Green Alder:

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe and only just covered. Spring sown seed should also germinate successfully so long as it is not covered. The seed should germinate in the spring as the weather warms up. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. If growth is sufficient, it is possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in pots outdoors and plant them out in the spring. If you have sufficient quantity of seed, it can be sown thinly in an outdoor seed bed in the spring. The seedlings can either be planted out into their permanent positions in the autumn/winter, or they can be allowed to grow on in the seed bed for a further season before planting them. Cuttings of mature wood, taken as soon as the leaves fall in autumn, outdoors in sandy soil.

Cultivation of the herb:

Rocky shores, slopes and mountains. Singly or in thickets along streams, lakeshores, coasts, and bog or muskeg margins, or on sandy or gravelly slopes or flats, from sea level to 2000 metres.

Known hazards of Alnus viridis crispa:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.