When I was younger we would go to my Grandpa’s ranch over Labor Day Weekend, for a family reunion. He had mile long driveway off of a county road that wound around a meadow, and just as you came around the bend you could smell the beautiful smell of the giant cottonwood tree that stood at the edge of the homestead.
It’s time to make Balm of Gilead
The first time I made Balm of Gilead, the smell of the cottonwood resin brought back a fond memory for me of wonderful days playing with cousins, fishing contests with uncles, horseback riding and floating the icy cold river on inner tubes, campfires, and camping.
Learn to make your own Balm of Gilead
I enjoy making a lot of my own concoctions and using them. Balm of Gilead has been claimed to be antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and also work as a pain reliever. I like to infuse it into coconut oil and use it also as a carrier oil with some of my favorite essential oils. I have given Balm of Gilead to some of my friends and family that suffer from arthritis. It has really worked for some of them. (I am not a doctor and I am not prescribing this for anyone. This is just something I like and do.) Most of my friends have learned how to make their own.
Warm spring days are enjoyable to go and pick the buds from Cottonwood Trees, or a tree in the Poplar family. I would like to share with you how I make Balm of Gilead.
It is time to start watching those little buds
Since we live in a high altitude in the mountains our Cottonwood buds are not quite ready yet but people in lower elevations can pick now. It does take a while to pick the little buds but will be well worth it in the end. Look for buds on branches of Cottonwood trees or a tree in the poplar family. You can also take the buds off of the branches that have fallen through the winter. Be ready for some sticky fingers. These little buds have a sticky resin on them just before the leaves emerge. This is when they are perfect. You need to get them before the leaves pop out.
How to make your own
You can use any size glass jar that you would like. I fill the jar half full with the buds and then I fill the jar with oil leaving about an inch from the top. I like to use coconut oil. When you first pour the oil over the top of the buds it will look more clear. I put the lid on the jar making sure it is tight. Then I set the jar of buds and oil on the counter or somewhere I will see it. I flip the jar over every time I walk by. Actually, it is kind of entertaining to watch the little buds float to the top. (The secret is out, yes I am easily entertained.) I do this for about the first week. Then I flip it once a day after that. I like to put it in a place out of the sun.
After it sits for at least three weeks or more it should be ready. This is what it will look like. You can see that the color of the oil turns a pretty rich golden brown. I love the smell when I open up the jar. Smells just like that big old Cottonwood tree on my Grandpa’s Ranch.
The next step is to strain it. I use butter muslin with a strainer underneath. I strain it into a glass bowl. After it has strained for about 15 minutes, to make sure I get all of the oil out, I use my wooden spoon to push the buds down to squeeze the rest out.
I pour it back into the bottle after I have used a spatula to clean the bottle out good and put a label on it. I put it in a cool dark place to store it. I like to use these little dropper bottles to put what I am going to use. The dropper makes it easy to get the amount I would like to use out of the bottle without spilling it.
Enjoy your Balm of Gilead. Please feel free to share with someone that might enjoy making their own. I always love to hear your thoughts. Please leave the comments below.