The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869
TAG ALDER, SWAMP ALDER, SMOOTH ALDER
Description: Natural Order, Betulaceae. The alder shrub grows in thickets in swampy ground, reaching a height of from eight to fifteen feet. Leaves from two to four inches long, one to two and one-half inches wide, obovate, thick; catkins two to three inches long, in terminal clusters, pendulous; flowers reddish-green, appearing in March and April.
Properties and Uses: The bark is the medicinal part, and is readily acted on by water. It is mildly astringent, and slowly stimulating to the cutaneous and renal secretions. It is good as an alterant in the treatment of scrofula, scrofulous and cachectic ulcers. The profession have by no means given to the article the attention it deserves; but have sent abroad for sarsaparilla, when the despised alder at their door is probably quite as valuable, especially when combined with suitable stimulants. A strong decoction of the article is a useful wash in scrofulous and venereal ulcers, and in chronic ophthalmia; and the same has been used as a popular drink in sub-acute diarrhea, and will be found a good injection in leucorrhea..
Pharmaceutical Preparations: I. Decoction. Simmer an ounce of the bark in a pint of water till half a pint has been evaporated. Dose, a fluid drachm three or four times a day. II. Sirup. Macerate three pounds of crushed bark in cold water for six hours; put into a percolator, and add water till five pints have passed over (see Percolation;) put over a slow fire and stir in eight pounds of sugar till dissolved. When cold, add a pint of whisky. Dose, a fluid ounce three or four times a day. Various compound sirups are made, as with dicentra, rumex, etc.
Medical Herbalism journal and medherb.com