Black alder.

Botanical name: 

Plate 01. Alnus nigra. Frangula.

Also see Buckthorn.

THE black alder is a little shrub: The shoots are brittle, slender, and covered with a brown bark; the leaves are roundish, of a bright green, and veined; they terminate in a point. The berries are large and black, they are ripe in autumn; the flowers which precede these are small and inconsiderable, they are whitish and stand on short stalks.

The shrub is frequent in moist woods, and the berries are sometimes mixt among those of the buckthorn by such as gather them for sale, but this should be prevented.

No part of the black alder is used in medicine except the inner rind; this is yellow; and is a good purge; the best way to give it is in a decoction. Boil an ounce of it in a quart of water, and throw in at least two drachms of ginger and some caraway-seeds; let the patient proportion the quantity to his strength: it is excellent in the jaundice. In Yorkshire they bruise the bark with vinegar, and use it outwardly for the itch, which it cures very safely.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.