We are blessed with an abundance of poplar trees on our land. Poplar buds have been used for centuries to make medicine, sometimes called Balm of Gilead. Powerful for many different topical ailments, my primary motivation in making this is for its treatment of burns.  It was brought home to me the other day that we’re lacking a good burn cream in our medicine cabinet. Time to fix that! Poplar buds are best harvested in the spring when they’re just starting to swell with luscious juices. That is, right now. image You don’t get much when you’re determined not to strip more than one branch per tree, but luckily I only needed about half a cup. image They’re super sticky – gloves highly recommended. image I’m working mostly from Beverley Gray’s Boreal Herbal. Cannot say enough good things about this book!!! If you live in the boreal ecosystem and are at all interested in wildharvesting, go forth and purchase it ASAP. image I don’t own a double boiler so I’m heating my infusion in a mason jar in a pot of hot water. image 1 part poplar buds to 2 parts olive oil. Once the water starts to simmer I remove it from the heat and let it cool to room temperature with a coffee filter over the top to let any excess water evaporate. (If I had cheesecloth I would have used that instead but I don’t, so we make do) image Then I put the lid & label on (label very important, always label your concoctions!!) shake it and put it in the cupboard to infuse over the next month. I’ll shake it again periodically as I remember. image A month from now I’ll strain it and use the infused oil to make my salve.

See Part 2 for the actual making of the balm.