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Alder Tree: Associations, Healing & Magical Uses

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Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Scottish Mahogany, Irish Mahogany, King of the Forest, Tree of the Fairies. Celtic Name: Fearn.


The Alder tree (Alnus glutinosa) is rich in tannins, which have astringent properties and make it a valuable resource for tanning leather.

Medicinally, Alder bark has been used for centuries to treat various ailments, such as diarrhea, toothaches, and even as an antiseptic for wounds.

In Celtic folklore, the Alder is associated with the god Bran, symbolizing protection and transition, and its wood was used to make shields and boats.

In magical practices, Alder wands are believed to enhance intuition and divination, making them a preferred tool for witches and druids.


Between 16-20% tannins in young shoots and the bark of the trees. The bark also contains phenolic glycosides, lignans, emodin, and triterpenes. The leaves contain flavonoid glycosides, specifically hyperoside, and resin.

Medicinal Uses

As an astringent, tonic, antiviral (especially for herpes), hemorrhagic, antibacterial, emetic, vulnerary, febrifuge, anti diarrhoeal, lymphatic, and possible anti-inflammatory.

The leaves were traditionally added to a bed to treat rheumatism. They are just as easily added to a duvet for the same effect.

Healing PropertyDescriptionArea/Aspect of Healing
ProtectionProvides protective energies and shields from negativityPhysical, emotional, and energetic protection
PurificationClears and cleanses the environment and energySpiritual, emotional, and energetic purification
SoothingOffers a calming and soothing effectEmotional and mental soothing
BalancePromotes balance and stabilityRestoring harmony and equilibrium
TransformationFacilitates personal growth and transformationSupporting inner changes and growth
Table 1: Alder Tree Healing Properties

They are also used to treat inflammation and burns, especially breast inflammation.

As an astringent, it treats bruising, swelling, mouth ulcers, and sore throats. It is also used to combat eczema, acne, and impetigo. The cones are used to treat hemorrhage and haematuria.

Can be used to cleanse the blood and tissue and well treats rhinitis.

The whole plant is used to be rid of fleas in the house.


Magical Uses

As it is associated with both the Moon and Mars, and Water and Fire, there is an obvious connection with the balance between emotions and with actions. It’s also used when facing all that you’ve recently avoided.

Because of its fantastic dyeing properties, it has strong associations with spinning and fabric making.

Use/PurposeDescriptionMagical Significance
Divination ToolUse Alder twigs for divination or dowsingEnhances intuition and connection to spiritual realms
Protective CharmCreate protective charms using Alder twigs or conesGuards against negative energies and entities
Ritual FirewoodBurn Alder wood in rituals for purification and cleansingCleanses the space and releases stagnant energy
Healing WandCarve and craft a healing wand from Alder woodChannels healing energies and intentions
Sacred OfferingPresent Alder leaves, twigs, or cones as an offeringHonors and invites the blessings of the Alder tree
Table 2: Alder Tree Magical Uses

Making whistles of the shoots is quite easy as the pith of a shoot is simple to push out, making it possible to create Panpipes with the shoots and cutting them at different lengths, then tying them together. This holds great sway over the four winds and Air Elementals, in fact, “whistling up the wind” is said to have started with Alder whistles.

Because it is a tree that allows access to the faerie realms, it is not good fortune to cut one down, as it is a charm against malevolent fairies. Water sprites are said to protect the tree, so again, be wary of cutting it down.

A really fascinating property of the tree is because of its love to be near water (you’ll find them growing near rivers/streams), the wood does not rot when submerged in water but increases in hardness.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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