Herbs Guide

Black Alder

Family Name: Betulaceae

Botanical Name(s): Alnus glutinosa

Popular Name(s): European Alder, Owle, Common Alder

Parts Used: The bark and leaves

Habitat: Black Alder is found in Europe, Asia and North Africa.

Description: Black alder is a deciduous tree growing up to a height of 20-30 m. The plant is characterized by its 5-10 cm short-stalked rounded leaves, which are 6-12 cm in length and wedge-shaped at the base. Its flowers are segregated by sex into separate catkins. The female flowers are reddish-purple in colours which develop into hard cones containing seeds.

Uses: Black alder is used as an astringent, emetic and hemostatic. A decoction of its bark is used as a gargle for sore throat and pharyngitis. Boiling of inner bark in vinegar produces a useful external wash which is used in skin problems.