The Month of Alder

Latin Name
Alnus Glutinosa(Black Alder found in Europe)

Common Names
Scottish Mahogany, Irish Mahogany, King of the Forest, Tree of the Fairies

Celtic Name
Fearn

Dates
March 18 – April 14

Constituents
Between 16-20% tannins in young shoots and the bark of the trees. The bark also contains phenolic glycosides, lignans, emodin, and triterpenes. The leaves contain flavonoid glycosides, specifically hyperoside, and resin.

Medicinal Uses
As an astringent, tonic, antiviral (especially for herpes), haemorraghic, antibacterial, emetic, vulnerary, febrifuge, anti diarrhoeal, lymphatic, and possible anti inflammatory.

The leaves were traditionally added to a bed to treat rheumatism. They are just as easily added to a duvet for the same effect.
They are also used to treat inflammation and burns, especially inflammation of the breast.

As an astringent, it is used to treat bruising, swelling, mouth ulcers, and sore throats. It is also used to combat eczema, acne, and impetigo. The cones are used to treat heamorrhage and haematuria.

Can be used to cleanse the blood and tissue, and well treats rhinitis.

The whole plant is used to be rid of fleas in the house.

Associations
Moon, Mars, Fire and Water, lapis lazuli, amethyst, ravens, hawks, seagulls, purple, Odin, Bran, King Arthur, Apollo, Astarte, Aphrodite, Pan, Lugh, Orpheus, Branwn, Arianrhod, fox.

Magical Uses
As it is associated with both the Moon and Mars, and Water and Fire, there is the obvious connection with balance between the emotions and with actions. It’s also used when you need to face all that you’ve avoided recently.

Because of it’s fantastic dyeing properties, it has strong associations with spinning and fabric making.

Making whistles of the shoots is quite easy as the pith of a shoot is simple to push out, making it possible to create Panpipes with the shoots and cutting them at different lengths, then tying them together. This holds great sway over the four winds and Air Elementals, in fact, “whistling up the wind” is said to have started with Alder whistles.

Because it is a tree that allows access to the faerie realms, it is not good fortune to cut one down, as it is a charm against malevolent fairies. Water sprites are said to protect the tree, so again, be wary of cutting it down.

A really fascinating property of the tree is because of its love to be near water (you’ll find them growing near rivers/streams), when the wood is emerged in water, it does not rot, in fact, it becomes incredibly hard, almost as hard as ebony.

Cicely Mary Barker – The Alder Fairy

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