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Video: The Use Of Alder For Medicinal Purposes
Features of culture
Anyone who leaves the city limits and ends up near a river, stream, lake or at the edge of a forest will meet this tree or shrub. These are the places alder loves and inhabits.
In total, more than forty species of this plant are known in the world. In Russia, there are a little more than ten of them, but two types are most widespread: black alder (Alnus glutinosa) - a tall tree with black bark and bright green sticky leaves and gray alder (Alnus incana).
The second species is smaller, often a large shrub. The color of the leaves of this plant is grayish-green. Alder belongs to the Birch family. Observant people have probably noticed the similarities between alder and birch - both plants have flowers in the form of earrings. And in alder, as well as in birch, these earring flowers are unisexual. Male flowers-earrings are long, and female flowers are thinner and shorter in birch, and in alder they are also shorter, but they are oval, thickened.
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Gray alder blooms, perhaps, earlier than all other trees and shrubs - in March-April. Black alder a couple of weeks later - in April-May. Alder seedlings (cones, which are well known to all who have been in nature) ripen in the fall.
Some consider alder to be a weed tree, but this is not at all the case. It grows rapidly and matures at the age of 15, but it grows up to 40-50 years, which means that with its help it is possible to develop new barren areas. In addition, unlike all other trees, it enriches the soil with nitrogen.
The fact is that its root system is superficial, and on the roots there are nodule outgrowths with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. And alder foliage quickly decays, also enriching the soil with nitrogen. Therefore, after alder, it is quite possible to plant other tree species on this soil.
Alder wood is quickly destroyed in the air, so it is not used in buildings. But it can withstand the effects of moisture for a long time, therefore, well logs were often made of alder, as well as the supports of bridges over small rivers and streams. Barrels and barrels were made from it for storing sauerkraut, pickled apples and other preparations.
Alder wood is white, but after sawing or felling it turns red - black alder is stronger, gray alder is less. Therefore, alder boards and veneers have a pleasant light brown color. And they are used to make furniture. And sometimes they give out such furniture as made of walnut or apple trees.
Alder firewood - any villager and tributary will say this - one of the best, and burning this wood produces a very fragrant smoke. And alder is the best raw material for smoking fish or meat. Anyone who has ever walked past a smokehouse and breathed in the smoky aroma spreading around the neighborhood would agree with this statement.
Black alder bark is used to make various dyes for cloth, silk and leather.
Alder is also appreciated by beekeepers. After all, this plant begins to bloom very early. And the bees collect their first bribes of pollen on alder flowers.
The healing properties of alder
Since ancient times, our people have used the beneficial properties of this tree to treat certain diseases and ailments. And now preparations from seedlings (cones), bark and leaves of this plant have not lost their popularity. They are used for the treatment of colds, gout, articular rheumatism and as an astringent for stomach diseases, acute and chronic enteritis and colitis.
Alder cones for medicinal purposes can be harvested from November, and they do this until March. Its bark is harvested in winter and spring, and leaves in May-June. All these raw materials are dried and used in water infusions and tinctures. One imperative reminder: Collect medicinal raw materials in environmentally friendly places - away from roads and industrial emissions.
For example, Russians have long used tincture of alder bark to treat diarrhea. For this, 200 ml of vodka was poured into 25 g of raw materials and insisted. In case of malaise, 30 drops of tincture were taken three times a day.
A decoction of cones and bark is used as a hemostatic agent, and infusion and infusion of infructescence is used as an astringent. Even fresh alder leaves can be used to stop blood if suddenly bleeding from the nose in nature, as well as apply them to wounds.
After taking antibiotics, a decoction of alder seedlings is used to normalize the microflora of the gastrointestinal tract. For this, 2 tbsp. tablespoons of dry crushed raw materials must be boiled for 15 minutes in 200 ml of water, then strain the broth and bring its volume with boiled water again to 200 ml. Take warm in 1 tbsp. spoon three times daily before meals.
A decoction of alder bark is used for sore throat and pharyngitis for gargling. You also need to take 15 g of dry crushed raw materials and boil it for ten minutes in 200 ml of water. Then the resulting broth must be insisted for half an hour, strain and bring the volume of the broth to the initial (200 ml). They can also rinse your mouth for gum disease.
Traditional healers have long used alder leaves to relieve pain in articular rheumatism. They put a thick layer of fresh alder leaves on the sore spots on the patient's body and wrapped them tightly with a cloth. The patient was covered with a blanket so that he could sweat. After half an hour, the pain decreased or disappeared altogether.
Photo by E. Valentinov