Herbs

POPLAR, Populus tremuloides

There are many kind of poplar trees in this country. Besides the trees we know as poplars, there are the cottonwoods and the aspens which are also poplars. They all have the genus, or surname, of populus. The poplar tree we will discuss mostly is the quaking aspen, populus tremuloides.


I knew a man who, at one time, had malaria which he got in the South Pacific during the war. The malaria didn't bother him much anymore, but he always seemed to feel tired and run down. Even after a good meal, when he felt that he had been well fed, he felt listless and tired. It was suggested that he start taking quinine again in case he was being affected by malaria. However, this only made his ears ring. Someone suggested that he take some tea made from the quaking aspen bark to help the malaria.


The quaking aspen tea was quite bitter and he didn't like it very much, but he drank it any way. He said it made his stomach feel more settled and he seemed to have more energy. He also said he didn't seem to sweat as much, so maybe it was helping his malaria. He said after taking this quaking aspen tea and some other herbs, he felt better than he had in years.
Almost everyone has carved their initials in the tender, smooth, white bark of the quaking aspen. They grow in groves on hillsides in and around pine forests. The leaves, which tremble constantly, are almost round or ovate with finely toothed edges. In the fall, the leaves turn kinda orange and then a bright yellow which adds much color to the fall scene. Most of the poplar or cottonwood trees are easily recognized in the spring, because the seed is borne by a catkin or a seed pod that looks like a long wooly worm that is hanging from some buds. This catkin or worm -like seed pod grows longer and looser until it breaks open and the seed comes out on a little tuft of cotton that floats on the spring breezes and covers the ground with what looks like cotton. That's why some are known as cottonwood trees.


The inner bark, buds and leaves are the parts of this tree that are used. Medicinally, they are used as a stomachic, which aids the stomach and the digestion, as a tonic which tones and builds the body, as an antiperiodic which relieves malarial type fevers and chills, as a balsamic that soothes and heals inflamed parts of the body, as a diuretic to soothe the urinary tract, and as a febrifuge that helps to reduce most fevers. It is the general opinion of most herbalists that the inner bark of the quaking aspen is one of the best tonics for a person who is over fifty years old.


The bark is gathered and let sit for a year, and then the inner bark or cambium layer is removed. With some tress, like the elm, the inner bark is thick and almost sponge-like, but the aspen tree is different. The inner bark in thin brown stringy sheets almst like paper. This can be gathered and boxed up for future use.


The popular tree has been used as medicine for thousands of years. The balsam poplar is sometimes referred to as “balm of Gilead tree” although balm of Gilead can be made from almost any poplar or cottonwood tree. This inner bark is used in Grandma's herbal Over Fifty formula because it is good for older folks. Jethro Kloss says “poplar is better than quinine for all purposes for which quinine is used. It is very useful for disease of the urinary organs, especially if weak.”
The poplar is excellent to aid digestion and to tone up a run down condition, either in disease or old age. It is very good in all cases of diarrhea. Poplar is good for acute rheumatism and good in all fevers, such as intermittent fever. White poplar is claimed by many to have great healing powers. Maybe you should go gather some inner bark. You wont be sorry.
 

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