Scientific name: Alnus glutinosa

Common names: European Alder, Fever Bush, Winterberry

Ayurvedic names: burjabandhu

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    جار الماء (jaaru al maa’e)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Fabaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Leaf, bark


Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 40 to 50 feet

Actions:  Astringent, emetic, haemostatic, mucilaginous, tonic

Known Constituents: it encloses around 10 per cent to 20 per cent tannin, lignans, an anthraquinone called emodin and glycosides

Constituents Explained:


Leaves have been used externally to treat swelling(1) and directly in shoes under sore feet(1). 

The fresh bark can be a strong emetic.

Traditional Use:

Clinical Studies:

Alders exhibit several uses in different areas and also offer some nutritional and medicinal values. The bark and leaves from black alder [Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn] are used in folk medicine for the treatment of inflammatory processes and other health disorders. The study assessed if an extract of A. glutinosa stem bark exhibits some biological properties linked to improving the inflammatory state, which could partly justify its ethnopharmacological use. Therefore, various aspects of antioxidant activity as well as the effect on tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) production were evaluated. 

The phytochemical study revealed the presence of terpenes, saponins, tannins, flavonoids, and anthraquinones (by high-performance thin-layer chromatography). The betulinic acid content in the extract, determined by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (validated method), was 0.72±0.027%. In addition, high amounts for total phenols as well as flavonoids were determined.

The extract exhibited a 2,2′-diphenylpicrylhydrazyl radical scavenging capacity similar to that of ascorbic acid and had a significant effect on superoxide anion scavenging, superior to that of ascorbic acid. It was also able to protect HeLa cells from induced oxidative stress. In the TNF-α assay, levels of this citokine were depressed by the extract in HL-60 cells. 

To test the effect of the extract on cell proliferation, a 3- (4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl) -2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay was performed. According to the results, the antioxidant properties displayed by the extract of A. glutinosa stem bark, together with the effect on TNF-α levels, suggest that these activities, linked to a successful reduction in inflammatory processes, may support, in part, its ethnopharmacological use.

Another study examined the crude aqueous ethanol extract of the cones of Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn. that was obtained and further partitioned between water and various organic phases. The active water and butanol phases were subjected to assay-guided (DPPH) fractionation using repetitive RP HPLC until individual compounds were isolated. Their antioxidative activities, measured as SC(50) values, were evaluated. The chemical structures of the isolated compounds were elucidated with the help of mass spectroscopy, H NMR technique, UV spectroscopy, and chemical approaches. One novel ellagitannin, glutinoin, along with two known compounds, pedunculagin and praecoxin D, were isolated and found to contribute to antioxidative activity of the A. glutinosa cones extract. 


Acero N, Munoz-Mingarro D. “Effects on Tumor Necrosis Factor-a Production and Antioxidant Ability of Black Alder, As Factor Related To Its Anti-Inflammatory Properties.” 2012 March. 

Ivanov SA, Nomura K, Malfanov IL, Ptitsyn LR. “Glutinoin, A Novel Antioxidative Ellagitannin From Alnus Glutinosa Cones With Glutinoic Acid Dilactone Moiety.” 2011 October.