Alder Medicine | SustenanceNW
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Alder Medicine

Of all the medicines we are studying, Alder is easily the most commonly overlooked. It is an incredible medicine: mild enough to take as a daily tonic, potent enough to have serious value, applicable for myriad concerns, capable of soothing symptoms and helping resolve root causes - but so, so overlooked.

Saturday Replay


0:00 - Breath & Symbolism
Alder is water medicine - it loves to grow by water, and works on our lymph and blood. We think cleansing, and clarity. Symbolically we tie alder to the b.r.a.m.b.l.e. point of Alternating Action, and in the map we tie it to the triangle of Self Actualization.

24:13 - Rain Moon. Poetic apothecary. See card
Collecting knowledge of lots of plants, versus lots of ways to use one plant. Alder as a marvelously useful plant that is largely overlooked. "All that is gold does not glitter; not all who wander are lost. The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by frost."

34:47 - Bare Tree Moon. Lymphatic system. See card
Alder is a good medicine for the lymphatic system, which cleanses the inside of our body and is intimately connected to our immune system. When discussing mental models of how our medicines work, we need to humbly remember that "The map is not the territory."

57:06 - Freeze Moon. Smoke medicine. See card
Smoke can be a highly potent way to get medicine into the respiratory tract, and Alder leaves make a fine herbal smoke. Smoke medicine comes with downsides and is best used in a limited way, for serious issues. "There are none so blind as those who will not see."

1:26:35 - Darkness Moon. Oregonin. See card
Alder bark gets much of its famous red color from Oregonin, a very powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant constituent.

1:46:46 - Glimmer Moon. Inflammation. See card
Inflammation is an important and natural process for healing, but when it is extreme or chronic it can cause serious problems for us. "Every stick has two ends."

2:05:21 - Budswell Moon. Oral health. See card
As a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, Alder is a useful medicine for the maintenance of good oral health. It can give some amount of relief from the pain of a toothache.

2:22:52 - Spring Moon. Tannins. See card
As a basic mental model, tannins help tissue stay tonified and tight. This can be a helpful action for skin, gums, and our gut, as long as we don't overdo it.

2:27:34 - Bloom Moon. Triterpenoids. See card
This is a hugely variable family of chemical constituents, and includes steroids, soaps, and many more. Alder has important medicinal triterpenoids that are minimally water soluble, and best extracted with oil or high proof alcohol.

2:32:46 - Berry Moon. Oil Pulling. See card
Oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic practice of swishing and pulling oil through the mouth to treat various oral issues. We can boost the medicine of this practice by using infused oils, like an Alder infused oil.

2:38:00 - Drying Moon. Immune system. See card
For our purposes here, our mental model of working with the immune system involves (1) increasing the mobility of the immune system (flexibility, power, responsiveness, control), and (2) assisting it by providing good terrain in terms of other bodily systems working and good nutrition and water, and (3) assisting it in the work directly with direct antiviral/antimicrobial medicines, appropriately applied.

2:44:47 - Harvest Moon. Dental sticks. See card
Imagine a farmer chewing on a stalk of grain... now just switch that for an Alder stick. Using a dental stick we can get non-water-soluble compounds stuck on the teeth, and mechanically removing biofilm. Catkins are also very useful for chewing and scrubbing teeth with.

2:51:40 - Apple Moon. Dental pain relief. See card
Alder bark can be chewed or extracted into medicines to provide a simple dental numbing effect. It cannot fully remove the pain of a toothache, but it can be very effective at dulling the worst of it.

2:55:10 - Yellowing Moon. Tonic medicines. See card
Tonic medicines are something we do day in and day out, and while they may make a big difference, their fundamental action is like that of the creeks filling up the ocean.

Friday Replay

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