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One of the common names for Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifera) is Balm of Gilead. So how did a north american tree get named for an ointment that was found in the middle east? It seems that when Europeans first came to North America, the native peoples shared a balm with them as a treatment all types of aches and pains and other discomforts. The English settlers named these healing buds "The Balm of Gilead" after the "Healing Balm of Gilead" that is mentioned in the Bible because the balm made from the buds of the Balsam Poplar had so many healing properties.
Our Balsam Poplar, aka Balm of Giliead (Populus balsamifera; Populus candicans; Populus tacamahaca), is not the same as Balm of Mecca although it has been called that by some. I've been told that it has similar properties to Balm of Mecca, Commiphora gileadensis (syn. Commiphora opobalsamum), but is a completely different species and not the same. Also, Balsam Poplar is native to North America while Balm of Mecca is native to the Middle East / Africa. So, it seems that there are two Balms of Gilead, the old world Balm of Gilead, Commiphora gileadensis (syn. Commiphora opobalsamum), and the new world Balm of Gilead, Populus balsamifera; Populus candicans; Populus tacamahaca. The term Balm of Gilead might refer to either so, if making a purchase, be sure that the one you're ordering is the one you actually want. Ours is the North American Balm of Gilead which is said to have similar properties but that is unclear.More Info: The name "the juice flowing from the balsam-tree". Its rarity, combined with the magic of its name, have caused the latter to be adopted for several other species.
The Balm of Gilead herbal salve is made from hand picked buds and stems of the Balsam Poplar tree. To create the healing salve, the Balsam Poplar essential oil or an infusion of the buds can be mixed with a combination of bees wax and base oil. Balm of Gilead is traditionally used as a soothing relief balm for comforting minor aches and pains of arthritis, tendonitis, over exertion and many other painful conditions and can also be used as a chest rub for colds and flu.
- Do not take essential oils internally.
- Do not apply to eyes, sensitive areas or mucous membranes.
- Do not apply undiluted to skin (for directions on proper dilution refer to an aromatherapy text).
- The information on this website is not intended to diagnose or prescribe.
- Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children should not use essential oils without first consulting an appropriately trained healthcare practitioner.
- The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA.
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