|Name: Alder Buckthorn
Name: Rhamnus frangula
Names: Alder buckthorn, alder dogwood, arrowwood, black alder dogwood, black alder tree, black dogwood, European black alder, European buckthorn, Persian berries
Purgative. The purgative action of buckthorn is said to be similar to that of rhubarb. It works without irritating the system and can be used for all conditions causing or associated with constipation, including liver and gallbladder problems. It produces no constipative backlash after purgation as some other remedies do, neither does it
become less effective with repeated use.
With medical approval, a mixture of equal parts buckthorn, senna leaves, milfoil, and witch-grass root may be used during this time. Buckthorn tea is also said to be good for lead colic, obesity, dropsy, and hemorrhoids.
Buckthorn as a shrub may grow to 20 feet high, as a tree to 25 feet, in swamps and
damp places of the northern and northeastern U.S. as well as Europe. The spreading, thornless branches have green bark when young, turning to brownish-gray when older. The light olive-green leaves are alternate, obovate, slightly toothed or entire, and glabrous. The five- petaled, green flowers grow in axillary clusters, 2 to 6 flowers per axii. The fruit is a three-seeded berry-like drupe that turns from green through red to purplish-black and has a greenish- brown pulp.
The best bark Is from branches that are 3 to 4 years old. Age the bark for at least a year before using; after three years it begins to weaken.
Decoction: Use 1 tsp. bark with 1/2 cup cold water. Bring to a boil. Drink before going to bed. Use no more than 1/2 oz. of bark per day.
Cold Extract: Use 1 tsp. bark with 1/2 cup cold water. Let stand for 12 hours. Drink in the evening.
Tincture: A dose is from 5 to 20 drops.
CAUTION: Fresh bark and unripe fruit can cause symptoms of poisoning. Storage for a year or heating to
212 deg F will render the bark safe. Do not take this herb if you are pregnant.
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