To view more pictures on this plant, click the "All Images" tab above.
To view or mark new locations where this plant can be found, click the "Locations" tab above.
To view USDA data, click the "USDA" tabs above.
Scientific Name:Populus balsamifera
Common Name(s): Balsam Poplar, Cottonwood
Parts Used: stem, leaf
wildWoman 1 Aug, 2008
Cottonwood grows across much of Canada and the US. The leaves and bark have painkilling properties similar to willow and can also be used as a poultice against joint pain and arthritis.
Mostly used are the sticky buds though. Collect in late winter when still frozen. The resin is a powerful antiseptic, antioxidant and expectorant. By steeping the buds in warm olive oil, straining the liquid and adding beeswax to thicken, you ca ake Balm of Gilead salve. This helps heal minor cuts and abrasions, is safe to use on animals, and also has a Tiger Balm-like effect when used on a congested nose. Because of the antioxidant properties, i like adding a bit to all sorts of salves as it helps keeping them from going rancid.
A tea (not tasty) can also be made from the buds, this will aid bringing up mucus from the lungs in case of a severe cold or bronchitis.
Balm of Gilead works also great as a deodorant, lip balm and (for some peole) bug dope.