Benefits Of Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea) For Health

Benefits Of Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea) For Health

Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea)

Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea) is known as Balm of Gilead, Balsam Canada, Balsam, Balsam Fir, Balsam Fir Canada, Balsam of Fir, Bálsamo de Canadá, Baume de Galaad, Baume de Galahad, Baume de Gilead, Baume du Canada, Canada Turpentine, Canadian Balsam, Eastern Fir, Fir Bal...

The balsam fir or balsam tree as it is commonly known is a cone shaped tree with a majestic appearance that can reach heights of up to sixty six feet or twenty meters when fully grown. The balsam fir possesses a trunk that is dotted all over with resinous vesicles; the bark is smooth with a grayish color. Dark and evergreen flat shaped needles are borne on grayish green branches; the needles are whitish on the side facing down.

Benefits Of Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea) For Health
Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea) Tree Picture

Balsam fir is monoecious. In spring, 1 year before pollination, male (staminate) and female (ovulate or pistillate) strobili differentiate from flower buds. The strobili are microscopically recognizable at this time. Male strobili usually are distinguishable before the female strobili because they initially develop more rapidly. Flower buds usually open in late May or early June before vegetative buds.

Historically, it has been used for burns, sores, cuts, tumors, heart and chest pains, cancer, mucous membrane swelling (inflammation), colds, coughs, warts, wounds, and as a pain-reliever. This tree was almost a veritable dispensary for all kinds of herbal medicines for many of the Native American peoples, almost every part of the tree supplied a different kind of herbal medicine and it was universally used by all the native populations in North America. Native people obtained the aromatic resin from the bark and used balsam fir as a salve for treating all kinds of cuts, to alleviate sores. These early Americans also consumed the resin to treat all kinds of colds, to reduce persistent coughs and to deal with asthma. Native Americans also used bits of the root and chewed them for treating oral sores and other problems in the mouth.

Benefits Of Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea) For Health

The traditional uses of the balsam fir was for its antiseptic and stimulatory effects, herbal medications made from the tree have been traditionally in use in North America as well as Europe for disorders such as congestion, to treat all kinds of chest infections including bronchitis. Balsam fir was also used for the treatment of urinary tract conditions such as frequent urination and disorders like cystitis. Balsam fir based topical medications were also used in treating external problems, these medications were rubbed on the chest or even applied as a herbal plaster for treating respiratory infections of all kinds. The herbal medicine of the present day does not rely on balsam fir as a major natural medication anymore.

Benefits Of Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea) For Health
Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea) Leaves Picture

Historically, Native Americans have applied balsam fir to the skin as a poultice to treat burns and wounds. During the Civil War, balm of balsam fir was reportedly used to treat combat injuries. The essential oil of balsam fir has been used for coughs and colds.

In many places around the world, balsam fir bark resin is prized and used mainly for it very effective antiseptic qualities and healing abilities especially for the treatment of topical disorders. Used mainly to treat topical problems of all kinds, the balsam fir is used in the form of a healing and analgesic protective covering to deal with all sorts of burns, to treat bruises and to heal general wounds on the skin. The resin is believed to be one of the best natural remedies for the treatment of a sore throat and is extensively used in the treatment of sore nipples by many women.

Folk medicine makes use of the buds, the resin or the sap for the treatment of corns and warts and even to deal with serious disorders like cancer. Besides being a potent antiseptic agent, the resin also possesses anti-scorbutic, diaphoretic, tonic and diuretic qualities. The resin is normally consumed in the form of propriety mixtures for the treatment of persistent coughs and to treat digestive disorders like diarrhea, however, balsam fir is purgative when taken in excess amounts. The gummy sap of the balsam fir was made into a warm liquid and traditionally drunk as a natural treatment for the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea. An anti-scorbutic effect is also found in a tea made from the leaves of the balsam fir.

The tea made from the leaves of the balsam fir is used in the treatment of persistent coughs, in treating common colds and in bringing down fevers. To get the best product, the young shoots and the leaves of the balsam fir must be harvested during the spring time and stored for use at a later time. Many different parts of the balsam fir were widely used in the traditional medical systems of various Native North American tribal groups. Balsam fir resin was also traditionally used as an antiseptic healing agent for external application to all kinds of bites, sores, wounds and injuries on the body. The resin was often inhaled in steam or smoke as a treatment for headaches. The balsam fir resin was also normally consumed to help in treating colds, in alleviating sore throats. Many other disorders were also treated using the resin.

Balsam Fir oil has been applied directly to the skin for the treatment of bacterial infections, hemorrhoids, and muscle pain. Balsam Fir may add to the effects of antibiotics and anticancer drugs. In foods, Balsam Fir is used to flavor foods and beverages.

In manufacturing, Balsam Fir is used in cosmetics as a fixative and fragrance and in ointments and creams. Balsam fir is also used as cement for lenses and prepared microscope slides.

Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea) and Special Precautions & Warnings:

Avoid in individuals with known allergy or sensitivity to Balsam Fir. Balsam Fir may cause an allergic skin reaction (called contact dermatitis) when used as a perfume.

Not enough is known about the use of Balsam Fir during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Historically, Balsam Fir was used to cause abortion. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Balsam Fir may act as a laxative and may cause nausea when taken in large doses.