Balm of Gilead BudsIf you remember the old gospel hymn There is a Balm in Gilead, you know something about populus candicans, or Balm of Gilead Buds. While the effect of these natural herbs on the "sin-sick soul" is open to interpretation, many people in various parts of the world have used this substance to combat skin complaints for centuries.
As the Latin term Populus candicans suggests, Balm of Gilead Buds are derived from a species of the poplar tree, which is indigenous to North America, where it is better known as the cottonwood tree. The resinous, aromatic unopened flower buds are harvested and made into dried herbs. These quality bulk herbs are then used as an ingredient in ointments and skin creams; the actual amount of Balm of Gilead Buds in such ointments is usually about 15 - 20%.
It is possible to make your own ointments by blending olive oil or something similar with bulk herbs. Dried Populus candicans used in skin cream and ointments or who plan to use a commercially prepared skin cream with this ingredient should be cautious if they are allergic to aspirin; Balm of Gilead Buds can cause a similar allergic reaction in such people.
Poplar buds, Balsam Poplar, Mecca balsam