This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Alnus Pharm. Paris. Alnus rotundifolia glutinosa viridis C. B. Betula Alnus Linn. Alder: a tall coniferous tree, common in watery places; with very brittle branches; roundish, crenated, clammy leaves; a rugged blackish brown bark; and reddish wood.
All the parts of the alder tree are more or less astringent and bitter. The bark is a strong styptic, and might, doubtless, be applied to the same purposes as the other substances of that class, though at present rarely or never made use of medicinally, unless sometimes among the common people in somentations and epithems.
Tournefort reports (a), that in the Alpine countries, it is customary to procure a plentiful sweat, by covering the patient all over with bags of alder leaves heated; and that by repetitions of this operation, rheumatisms, and scia-ticas, are commonly cured. In this way of application, it is apparently the heat and moi-sture, and not any peculiar quality of the alder leaves, that is the medicine. * Dr. Murray, of Gottingen, recommends from his own experience, the leaves of alder chopt and heated over the fire, as the best remedy with which he is acquainted for dispersing milk in the breasts (b).