Friday, August 6, 2010

Populus balsamifera

"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?" ~Jeremiah 8:22

Two days in a row of heavy wind and intense thunder storms this week caused a bit of damage across the city including power outages, flooding and fallen trees. Luckily I only suffered minor flooding in my humble basement apartment and the trees in the park next to my house held up well. We did lose quite a few balsam poplar (also known as Balm of Gilead) branches.

Cutting through the park after work yesterday I noticed poplar buds all over the downed branches. The branches, buds and all came home with me and I spent a bit of time in the backyard this afternoon popping the buds off for tincturing.

At this time of year they're not nearly as deliciously sticky and aromatic as the buds I gathered in late winter and the medicine from them will be correspondingly milder. Still, they smell oh so heavenly and I can't wait to see how the tincture turns out!

The 6 to 8ft tall branches I was left with will eventually get used as plant supports in the garden.

Herbalist Ryan Drum has this great post on the harvesting, preparing and uses of poplar buds.

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