Metaphysical Properties Of Balm of Gilead
Official Name: Commiphora opobalsamum
Other Names: Balesan, Balsam Tree, Balsumodendron Gileadensis, Bechan, Mecca Balsam
Metaphysical Powers: Love, Manifestations, Protection, Healing
Common Magickal Uses and Folklore
- Carry the buds of the balm of Gilead to mend a broken heart or to attract new love.
- Steep them in a red wind for a simple love drink.
- Burn as a material basis for spirits, and also carry for protective and healing purposes.
- Many plants carry this name. Be sure to know what you are buying or picking.
The sticky buds of Balm of Gilead are extremely useful. North American Indians have long utilized their healing properties to treat protracted coughs, whooping cough, and, used like Friars Balsam, to clear the upper respiratory tract. But their real secret value lies in their excellent ability to soothe aches and pains, whether they stem from tissue damage such as sore muscles, bruises, or burns, or rheumatism. The balsam is not water-soluble, so it is necessary to extract it either with fat, by macerating it in oil or cocoa butter in a warm place (do not boil. Otherwise, the buds might get burnt), or to prepare an alcoholic extract (tincture). However, it should be noted that some people develop an allergic reaction, which is more common with the tincture than with the ointment. This is probably due to the salicylic acid that is extracted in alcohol but not in fat. So, if you are allergic to aspirin, you will likely react to Balm of Gilead tincture as well. It offers excellent healing powers to fight viral, bacterial, and fungal infections such as athlete's foot or herpes simplex for those that are not allergic. Bees use the sticky resin of poplars as 'bee glue' to seal and protect their hives against intruders. Mixing the resins they collect with waxy substances they excrete, they form a substance known as 'Propolis,' which is hailed as a great healing substance with antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties. However, one can extract the same benefits from Balm of Gilead in its natural form, which may help those allergic to bee products, but not to salicylic acid.
Magical Uses of Balm of Gilead
Balsam Poplar or Cottonwood is one of the most sacred trees in Native American plant lore. Many tribes regard them as a kind of spirit conductor, conveying messages of the spirit world through their rustling leaves. Sacred objects, like the Hopi Kachinas, were fashioned from Cottonwood. Cottonwoods were associated with fertility. Cottonwood is not a European tree, but indigenous species of Poplar also played a role in folk magic, albeit a minor one. In European plants, lore poplars are considered protective, especially against lightning and snakes.