All members of the willow family can be used to make a healing salve. Cottonwoods and aspens work best. In this area black poplar buds more daily harvest and more potent than other related species. Collecting buds in the winter is more tedious although provides a salve that is more concentrated in salicylates, the basic component of aspirin.
This oil soothes skin irritations such as eczema, cuts, rashes, burns, psoriasis, insect bites and stings, sunburn, athlete’s foot, dry and scaly skin, and chapped hands or cheeks. As an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-rheumatic ointment, poplar salve helps to relieve the aches and pains of sore muscles, bruises, and arthritis. Some find it to be a mild sedative, rubbing a bit of balm under the nose at bedtime. Massaging a bit on your chest if you are suffering from a cold. People with aspirin or tree allergies should use this with caution.
We collected black poplar buds this morning and they are soaking right now in olive oil…any vegetable-based oil will do. For now they are sitting on a warm wood stove. They will be simmered later in the day and left to steep over night. Wax from our bees will be added tomorrow and it will be bottled for use and sale.
A traditional medicine in North America it is also known as Balm of Gilead and found in Christian scripture. This healing salve is like spring in a jar!