Gray alder (Alnus incana); white alder; alder seraya
A monoecious plant of the birch family. A tree 5–15 m tall or a shrub. Young branches are pubescent, non-sticky. The leaves are ovate-elliptic or ovate-rounded, with a rounded or heart-shaped base, a sharp apex, serrate on the edge; young – densely pubescent on both sides, developed – smooth on top, pubescent, gray below. Pistillate earrings – 3–8 on a common branch, except for the terminal one, sessile. The fruit is a one-seeded nut. Blooms in April. Fruits ripen in September – October.
Spread. It occurs in Transcarpathia, in the Carpathians, in Prikarpattia, in Polissia, and occasionally in the Right Bank Forest-Steppe on swampy forest edges, in marshes, near river banks.
Procurement and storage . Cones (Fructus Alni), young bark and fresh leaves are used. Cones are collected in autumn and winter. Dry under a tent, in the attic or in dryers at a temperature of 50–60°. 40% of dry raw materials are obtained. The shelf life is 4 years. Cones are dispensed by pharmacies. In folk medicine, the bark of young branches (Cortex Alni) and leaves (Folia Alni) are used fresh. The bark is harvested in the spring. Dry bark is stored for 4 years without losing its medicinal properties.
Chemical composition . Cones contain tannins (including up to 2.5% tannin), free gallic acid and flavonoids; leaves – hyperoside, quercitrin, organic acids; bark – tannins and triterpenoids.
Pharmacological properties and use . Alder fruit has astringent, disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, desensitizing and hemostatic properties. In scientific medicine, the infusion or tincture of the fruit is used for gastrointestinal diseases (enteritis, dyspepsia, enterocolitis, chronic colitis, dysentery, peptic ulcer disease of the stomach and duodenum), rheumatic polyarthritis and colds. In gynecological practice, an infusion of bark or suppositories is used for uterine bleeding of various origins, uterine fibroids with hemorrhagic syndrome against the background of inflammatory diseases of the genital organs. Leaves and bark of plants are also used in folk medicine. A decoction of the leaves is used internally as a diaphoretic agent for colds, malaria, gout, and polyarthritis.
Externally, an infusion of the bark or fresh leaves is used for rinsing and lotions in the treatment of sore throats, wounds and ulcers. To relieve the feeling of tiredness in the legs after a long walk, take baths with a decoction of leaves.
Medicinal forms and applications . Internally – tincture (1 part of the plant to 5 parts of vodka) 25-30 drops 3 times a day (ready-made tincture is sold in pharmacies);
dry extract of alder fruit (Extractum fructuum Alni) 0.5–0.6 g 3–6 times a day;
infusion of the fruit (10 g per 200 ml of boiling water) 1/2–1/3 cup 2–3 times a day;
bark decoction (15 g per 200 ml of boiling water) 1 tablespoon 3-4 times a day.