A few years ago we received a visit from an old timer who had lived near our property. He showed us where we have a stand of Balm of Gilead trees. (We knew something smelled nice in that area but we didn't know what it was!) He said as a child he and his friends would gather the buds in the spring and turn them into salve that they would then sell.
Balm of Gilead is a clone or hybrid of the Balsam Poplar and it spreads by way of underground shoots. A "black salve" folk remedy made from its buds is reportedly a heal-all for almost everything from aches and pains to cancer, even internal conditions! You can read some of the stories about its curative properties at the Annie Appleseed Project website. What an amazing herbal remedy!
Today when returning from my walk, I passed the Balm of Gilead stand and the intoxicating aroma drew me in. I couldn't resist plucking a few of the (very sticky!) buds and bringing them back to the house. (It would have been better had I done this earlier in the Spring, but there were still plenty to pick for my little experiment.) I then looked up a website that explains how to make an oil from the buds. The delightfully scented oil can be used for massages, as an anti-inflammatory, as an antimicrobial, and it is also analgesic. I plopped the buds into a jar and covered them with olive oil as the website suggests, then covered the jar. I have to stir the solution once a day for six weeks, then strain it and it is ready to use! I can leave it in the jar longer, even for a year! The longer, the better it is!
It is wonderful to be able to take advantage of what nature offers us. I truly believe that every affliction that plagues the body can be cured with herbs, but the drug companies don't want you to know that! I will post updates on my blog as my little experiment progresses.
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