The Black Alder-Tree

Descript : This tree seldom grows to any great bigness but for the most part abideth like a hedge-bush, or a tree spreading its branches, the woods of the body being white, and a dark red colet or heart; the outward bark is of a blackish colour, with many whitish spots therein; but the inner bark next the wood is yellow, which being chewed, will turn the spittle into a saffron colour. The leaves are somewhat like those of an ordinary Alder-tree, or the Female Cornet, or Dogberry-tree, called in Sussex Dog-wood, but blacker, and not so long. The flowers are white, coming forth with the leaves at the joints, which turn into small round berries, first green, afterwards red, but blackish when they are thorough ripe, divided, as it were, into two parts, wherein is contained two small round and flat seeds. The root runneth not deep into the ground, but spreads rather under the upper crust of the earth.

Place : This tree or shrub may be found plentifully in St. John's Wood by Hornsey, and the woods upon Hampstead Heath; as also a wood called the Old Park, in Barcomb, in Essex, near the brook's sides.

Time : It flowers in May, and the berries are ripe in September.

Government and virtues : It is a tree of Venus, and perhaps under the celestial sign Cancer. The inner yellow bark hereof purges downwards both choler and phlegm, and the watery humours of such that have the dropsy, and strengthens the inward parts again by binding. If the bark hereof be boiled with Agrimony, Wormwood, Dodder, Hops, and some Fennel, with Smallage, Endive, and Succory-roots, and a reasonable draught taken every morning for some time together, it is very effectual against the jaundice, dropsy, and the evil disposition of the body, especially if some suitable purging medicines have been taken before, to void the grosser excrements. It purges and strengthens the liver and spleen, cleansing them from such evil humours and hardness as they are afflicted with. It is to be understood that these things are performed by the dried bark; for the fresh green bark taken inwardly provokes strong vomitings, pains in the stomach, and gripings in the belly; yet if the decoction may stand and settle two or three days, until the yellow colour be changed black, it will not work so strongly as before, but will strengthen the stomach, and procure an appetite to meat. The outward bark contrariwise doth bind the body, and is helpful for all lasks and fluxes thereof, but this also must be dried first, whereby it will work the better. The inner bark thereof boiled in vinegar is an approved remedy to kill lice, to cure the itch, and take away scabs, by drying them up in a short time. It is singularly good to wash the teeth, to take away the pains, to fasten those that are loose, to cleanse them, and to keep them sound. The leaves are good fodder for kine, to make them give more milk.

If in the Spring-time you use the herbs before mentioned, and will take but a handful of each of them, and to them add an handful of Elder buds, and having bruised them all, boil them in a gallon of ordinary beer, when it is new; and having boiled them half an hour, add to this three gallons more, and let them work together, and drink a draught of it every morning, half a pint or thereabouts; it is an excellent purge for the Spring, to consume the phlegmatic quality the Winter hath left behind it, and withal to keep your body in health, and consume those evil humours which the heat of Summer will readily stir up. Esteem it as a jewel.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.