Alder is a alterative tonic with very wide-ranging impacts that help holistically restore homeostasis when consumed daily. The way it does this cannot be fully explained, but we can point to some specific elements: it helps us regulate blood sugar levels, stimulates effective digestion and soothes gut issues, relieves chronic inflammation, and helps lymph move through our body. It is arguably an adaptogen, too, helping our bodies respond effectively to stress.
Alder can help resolve many skin conditions when taken internally or used topically, or both. Because of its broad systemic effects it can help resolve health issues that are simply manifesting as skin problems, but it is also a highly effective medicine for soothing or curing problems that are only skin-deep.
Alder is an excellent support for our lymphatic system, which is a central part of our immune system. Generally Alder is a very helpful medicine whenever we are facing immune challenges, like infections, especially because it also has some degree of antiviral action.
Alder is a dental pain reliever, and due to its antimicrobial and astringent qualities it is also helpful overall for oral health when used as a dental chewing stick or as an ingredient in tooth pastes or tooth powders.
Like many tree barks, the high concentration of tannins and other chemicals used to protect the tree trunk from herbivores, fungi, bacteria, and viruses makes Alder bark a good antimicrobial, astringent, anti-parasitic, and digestive bitter.
In addition, like its water loving cousins Cottonwood and Willow, it is helpful for pain relief (especially dental pain). It can be used as a wound healing poultice. It has been used traditionally to treat both diarrhea and constipation, which makes sense given both its astringency and tendency to help normalize digestion.
There is traditional use and scientific evidence for its usefulness for preventing or treating cancer, and there is some scientific evidence that it may be helpful in reducing asthmatic airway inflammation / excess mucus production. There is some scientific evidence it can reduce tissue damage from strokes, and that it may be useful for reducing male pattern baldness.