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Aspen.

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European aspen endangered in Germany? Like, wow.

I was idly trawling the web, looking at herbal sites, and ended up on the German tee.org herb site.

And because there's recently been a lengthy tread on poplar buds on the ForageAhead -list, I had a look at their aspen entry. (For the botanically ignorant: aspens are Populus species, and so are poplars.)

In the description they say that "European aspen (Populus tremula) is protected". Wow. That's our normal aspen, growing like a weed, found on every lakeshore, in every ditch, all over the place.

Interesting enough, they say to use the leaf buds of this species. I've thought that only resinous leaf buds would work (that's balm of Gilead buds, from balsam and black poplar (Populus balsamifera and Populus nigra), but I think I'll have a look and a sniff at aspen leaf buds, too. The inner bark of aspen is mentioned in pretty much any herbal over here -- leaf buds, nope. It's of course possible that they've taken their data from black poplar and assumed that aspen would be the same. We'll see.

So they say to use aspen leaf buds externally, in salves, for hemorrhoids, sunburn, frostbite, and smaller wounds.

Hmm. Real balm of gilead buds are usually used for their painkilling salicylates, not for their astringent tannins (hemorrhoids and sunburn? That's astringency, not painkilling action).

Of course, real balm of gilead isn't poplar at all, it's a Commiphora. And lest we confuse things even more, there's also a balm of gilead fir (Abies balsamea) and a fake balm of gilead (Cedronella canariensis).

I might try our aspen buds, perhaps, if they smell right.

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