Scientific name: Populus candicans, Populus nigra, Populus balsamifer, Populus gileadensis.

Common names: American Balm of Gilead, Balm of Gilead Buds, Balsam Polar, Mecca Balsam, Poplar

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    بلسم جلعاد (balsam jal’ad)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Salicaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Bud, bark, leaf



Height: 30 to 100 feet

Actions: Expectorant, antiseptic, vulnerary, pectoral

Known Constituents: Oleo-resin, salicin

Constituents Explained:


These are deciduous trees with a generally pleasing fragrance.  It grow to seventy or eighty feet, producing heart-shaped or oval leaves and sticky, resinous buds. There are both European and North American varieties which are now naturalized in many areas of the world. The buds and the bark are collected in spring for medicinal use.

Traditional Use:

It is used for sore throats, dry irritable coughs, bronchitits, and other respiratory ailments. 

The ointment and lotion application to the chest are shorten the duration of colds and flu.

It is applied as salves to scrapes, small wounds, chronic skin ulcers, infected wounds, chapped and itchy skin, sunburn, chilblains, frostbite and hemorrhoids.

It helps relieve arthritis and rheumatism, fevers, anorexia, diarrhea, symptoms of irritable bowel, urinary tract infection.

The bark and leaves are used to treat prostate enlargement.

(Used internally to sooth mucous membranes especially through the respiratory system.  

Externally it is used for inflammation. Sometimes the buds are boiled in olive oil and placed at room temperature to heal wounds and bruises.)

Clinical Studies:

It is reported that there is a fungicidal activity of aqueous extracts from the bark of Populus species. In the laboratory, the bark of Populus candicans has been studied in more detail. It was found to contain several compounds of low fungistatic activity such as pyrocatechol, salicin, saligenin and salicylic acid derivatives, whereas the test results revealed that substances of relatively high activity were also present. 


Klopping HL, Van Der Kerk JGM. “Antifungal Agents From The Bark Of Populus Candicans.”