Earlier this last Autumn I made an oil from dried leaves, bark, catkins and twigs of Alder. After reviewing much of the available ethnobotany on this multi-purpose herb I thought it would at least make a nice wound healing salve if not a downright pain relieving one. I also talked to an herbalist from the NW who uses Alder oil extensively in her pain salve, and to another woman in Alaska who uses Alder leaf poultices very successfully in the treatment of her dog’s paw cancer.
So for the last couple months I’ve been using it every chance I got- on Wolf’s fractured toe, on a contusion with popped blood vessels, abundant hard swelling and copious pain, on sore, tight muscles, on general cuts/scratches/wounds and even on a mildly pulled muscle. I have to say it worked great in every situation, speeding healing, reducing swelling and significantly helping with pain. In fact, it worked so well I plan on making it a standard ingredient for all my salves. Studies and traditional use indicate the plant is also powerfully anti-fungal, though I haven’t used it this way yet myself.
As time allows, I will also write some specific case studies for external use of the oil/salve. For now, I will say that specific indications include tension and stuck energy accompanied by acute inflammation and redness. Mixing it with Rose, Cherry or Larrea will further accentuate it’s cooling, tension relieving properties. Combined with Pine, Cottonwood or Goldenrod, it would also be appropriate for slow healing or old injuries.
Yippee, another wonderful use for a truly phenomenal herb!