This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
COMMON NAME. Balsam Poplar.
MEDICINAL PART. The buds.
Description. -- This tree, also called Tacamahac Poplar, attains the height of from fifty to seventy feet, with a trunk about eighteen inches in diameter. The branches are smooth, round, and deep brown. The leaves are ovate, gradually tapering, and pointed, deep-green above, and smooth on both sides.
History. -- This tree is found in Siberia, and in the northern parts of the United States and Canada. In America it is in blossom in April. The leaf-buds are the officinal part. They should be collected in the spring, in order that the fragrant resinous matter with which they are covered may be properly separated in boiling water, for upon this their virtues depend. They have an agreeable, incense-like odor, and an unpleasant, bitterish taste. The balsamic juice is collected in Canada in shells, and sent to Europe under the name of Tacamahaca. Alcohol, or spirits, is the proper solvent. The Populus Balsamifera is generally confounded with the Populus Candicans, from whose buds we get the virtues known as the Balm of Gilead; but it is much the superior tree for medical purposes.
Properties and Uses. -- The buds are stimulant, tonic, diuretic, and anti-scorbutic. In tincture they have been beneficially employed in affections of the stomach and kidneys and in scurvy and rheumatism. Sometimes they are applied in that form as a remedy for affections of the chest. The bark is known to be tonic and cathartic, and will prove of service in gout and rheumatism.
Dose. -- Of a tincture of the buds, from one to four fluid drachms; of an extract of the bark, five to fifteen grains, three times a day.
POPULUS TREMULOIDES, White Poplar, or Aspen, the well-known tree, furnishes us with Populin and Salacin; and is tonic and febrifuge, useful in intermittents. It has also good diuretic properties, and is beneficial in urinary affections, gonorrhoea, gleet, etc.