Signs of Spring
It is almost that time of year to be collecting Poplar buds, those sticky, spring- scented little buds that are incredibly healing in their properties as an anti-inflammatory and help to ease the aches and pains of arthritis and antiseptic properties, which makes them ideal to use infused as a massage oil, in a healing salve and in soap making. Poplar buds have a rich sticky resin that has an intoxicating scent, like sweet warm honey which incidentally, honey bees are known to use the sticky resin to seal up drafts and to protect their hives from intruders such as ants and rodents. Some of the amazing gifts this tree has to offer!
A healing salve known as Balm of Gilead is made by heating good quality oil, such as virgin olive oil or organic coconut oil, infused with poplar buds in a stainless steel pot. Make sure it is a pot that you do not mind getting sticky and using for this purpose only as some of the resin will harden and be extremely difficult to remove. Leave the oils and buds for several hours on the lowest heat, stirring from time to time, do not allow to boil, then strain out the buds and add a little beeswax, pour into containers and you will have a wonderful salve that can be used for burns, rashes, chapped lips, sore and inflamed joints.
We are fortunate in this valley to have poplar trees growing everywhere! I always like to bring a few paper bags on my morning walks to harvest these buds from the lower branches. The buds snap off easily, but make sure to limit your harvest to 4-5 buds per branch to allow for tree growth and re harvesting the following year.
I identify poplar trees (cottonwood) by their upright amber buds, the distinct smell, the white-greyish bark and the knobbly branch tips, like arthritic fingers, which oddly enough, this tree helps to ease the pain associated with. Poplar trees are a symbol of strength, endurance and the will to defeat obstacles, visit this tree when these qualities are needed in your life.
Today I am inspired to create a Leaf, Bud & Flower body butter inspired by poplar buds! I am infusing them in organic cocoa butter oil as well as willow leaf and inner bark, dried yarrow, calendula petals and dried clove for a warming, soothing, rich deliciously scented cream of honey and spice.