Balm of Gilead
Names : Poplar buds, Balsam Poplar
Habitat : Cultivated in Europe & N. America.
Part Used : Closed buds.
Constituents : o Phenolic glycosides; salicin, populin (benzoyl salicin) and
o Volatile oil, the major constituent of which is a-caryophyllene, with cineole,
arcurcumene, bisabolene, farnesene, acetophenone and others.
o Miscellaneous; alkanes, resins, phenolic acids, gallic acid tannins and other
Actions : Stimulating expectorant, anti-microbial, vulnerary.
Indications : As it soothes, disinfects, and astringes the mucous membranes,
Balm of Gilead is an excellent remedy for sore throats, coughs and laryngitis,
and is in fact considered to be a specific for laryngitis that is accompanied by
loss of voice. It may be used in chronic bronchitis. Externally it can be used
to ease inflammations due to rheumatism and arthritis, as well as for dry and
scaly skin conditions such as psoriasis and dry eczema.
Kings Dispensatory says that Poplar buds are reputed stimulant, tonic, diuretic,
and anti-scorbutic. A tincture has been beneficially employed in affections of
the chest, stomach, and kidneys and in rheumatism and scurvy. With oil they form
a useful external application in bruises, swellings, wounds, some cutaneous
diseases, rheumatic pains.
Combinations : Coltsfoot, Red Sage and White Horehound combine well with it to
enhance its actions on the respiratory system. Chickweed or Calendula will aid
its work topically, reducing any irritation that may occur.
Preparations & Dosage : Infusion: pour one cup of boiling water onto 1
teaspoonful of the buds and leave to infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be
drunk three times a day or more often until effective (if you can deal with the
Tincture: take l-2 ml of the tincture three times a day. Usually used as a syrup
to make more palatable.
The herbalist by David Hoffman, (c)1993 David Hoffman, Hopkins Technology