This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
COMMON NAME. Winterberry.
MEDICINAL PARTS. The bark and berries.
Description. -- This is an indigenous shrub of irregular growth, with a stem six or eight feet in height; bark grayish and alternate branches. The leaves are ovate, acute at the base, olive green in color, smooth above and downy beneath. Flowers small and white; calyx small and six-cleft; corolla divided into six obtuse segments. Fruit a berry.
History. -- Black Alder is comon throughout the United States and England, growing in moist woods, swamps, etc., flowering from May to July, and maturing its fruit in the latter part of autumn. It yields its virtues to water by decoction or infusion. The bark has a bitterish, sub-astringent taste, and the berries have a sweetish taste.
Properties and Uses. -- It is tonic, alterative, and astringent. It is very beneficial in jaundice, diarrhoea, gangrene, dropsy, and all diseases attended with great weakness. Two drachms of the powdered bark and one drachm of powdered golden seal infused in a pint of boiling water, and, when cold, taken in the course of the day, in doses of a wineglassful, and repeated daily, has proved very efficacious in dyspepsia. Externally the decoction forms an excellent local application in gangrene, indolent ulcers, and some affections of the skin. The berries are cathartic and vermifuge, and form, with cedar apples, a pleasant and effectual worm medicine for children.
Dose. -- Powdered bark, half a drachm to a drachm; decoction, a teaspoonful three or four tims a day.