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Author Topic: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap  (Read 1268 times)

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Offline T-Rex

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Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« on: March 24, 2019, 01:02:31 PM »
I've been making a healing salve from cottonwood buds infused into a carrier oil, and thickened with beeswax.  

I also used to make maple syrup.

So, now I'm thinking how much easier my salve would be if I could just tap the cottonwood trees and collect the sap rather than deal with a million buds.

Has anyone tried this?  If so, can the sap be used as is?, or should it be boiled down like maple syrup?

I'm going to go out now and put a tap in a tree to at least see what comes out.
Confucius say:

Man who confuse shillelagh for fairy wand; see pixie dust, also.

Offline T-Rex

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Re: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 05:28:02 PM »
I tried tapping a couple trees today.  They were absolutely dry.  Either it can't be done; or the technique or timing is different than maples.
Confucius say:

Man who confuse shillelagh for fairy wand; see pixie dust, also.

Online doc henderson

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Re: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 09:38:33 PM »
I have read about but never tried syrup from Walnut trees.  Do you want to make syrup, or replace the bud balm with cottonwood sap. infused?  Most medicinals are not well researched (many people have used them, not many scientist have studied them) and therefore I am not sure we know if the bud derived stuff has a health benefit,and if it does, is that ingredient also in the sap.  And is there anything else in the sap, that we do not want in our balm.   :P  would not hurt to try and let us all know.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline T-Rex

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Re: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2019, 09:30:19 AM »
I too, have heard about the walnut syrup.  Even though I do have a few dozen black walnut trees on my property, have not tried it either.  Probably because the toxic juglone scares me a bit.

As for the cottonwoods, to infuse the bud sap into the carrier (olive oil, in my case), you simply place one part of buds into two parts of oil and let sit for anywhere from several weeks to a year.  I can't imagine getting anything but the sap and it's salicylic acid into the infusion.

I am just looking for a shortcut for picking all those buds, by going after the pure sap.
Confucius say:

Man who confuse shillelagh for fairy wand; see pixie dust, also.

Online doc henderson

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Re: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2019, 09:58:52 AM »
Sure. so you are thinking of adding sap to the infusion.  could crush up an asprin in the mix.  nearly pure acetasalasilic acid.   aspen bark has an spf of 2 so as most saves with natural cures, the concentration is very low and some would argue in effective.  I know it has been used for years, prob. American indian origins.  Best regards T-Rex
ps. I am a traditional doc and have no first hand knowledge r.e. this remedy.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline 47sawdust

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Re: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2019, 12:51:41 PM »
T-Rex,
My wife also makes various medicinal salves. St.Johns wort and Calendula with an olive oil carrier.She maintains that the medicinal goodies are indeed in the buds and not in the sap,so I guess hard work is the only answer.
What is the cottonwood salve used for?
A woman by the name of Rosemary Gladstar has a very good book on medicinal herbs etc.
Best regards,Mick
Mick
1997 WM Lt30 1999 WM twin blade edger Kubota L3750 Tajfun winchGood Health Work is my hobby.

Offline barbender

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Re: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2019, 01:53:04 PM »
I know balmy is harvested and used extensively for balms, ointments, maybe even perfumes (hence the name, Balm of Gilead). I've never been sick enough to go out and touch that pungent sticky nasty stuff😊 I think the goodness is generated out in the buds themselves. You could still make some extra nummy Balmy syrup from the sap though, no doubt😁
Too many irons in the fire

Offline T-Rex

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Re: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2019, 12:04:20 AM »
It appears that collecting sap is just a pipe dream.  Two days, now, and not a single drop.

I guess I'll stick with the buds.  A little goes a long ways. and I always have left over stuff every year, even after giving away tons, as gifts.  

No one that I know has chapped hands, or lips, and most of us don't put up with joint pain for too long.

Doc, no, my plan wasn't to add sap to the infusion.  I had hoped to replace the infusion with either pure sap, or  a boiled down concentrated sap.  Now it looks like I'm the sap since I can't get the stupid trees to cooperate.

I know what I make is a cheap imitation of commercial aspirin.  (Or, is aspirin an imitation of the traditional remedy?).   But, if I can avoid it, I prefer the milder external salve to save my poor stomach.
Confucius say:

Man who confuse shillelagh for fairy wand; see pixie dust, also.

Offline 47sawdust

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Re: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2019, 03:11:25 AM »
T-Rex,
I don't know anything about what triggers a sap run in any tree besides maple and birch.Perhaps Dr. Gene Wengert or WDH,both forum members and wise about trees.
Good luck and thanks for an interesting topic.
Mick
1997 WM Lt30 1999 WM twin blade edger Kubota L3750 Tajfun winchGood Health Work is my hobby.

Offline luap

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Re: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2019, 02:09:39 PM »
It appears that collecting sap is just a pipe dream.  Two days, now, and not a single drop.

I guess I'll stick with the buds.  A little goes a long ways. and I always have left over stuff every year, even after giving away tons, as gifts.  

No one that I know has chapped hands, or lips, and most of us don't put up with joint pain for too long.

Doc, no, my plan wasn't to add sap to the infusion.  I had hoped to replace the infusion with either pure sap, or  a boiled down concentrated sap.  Now it looks like I'm the sap since I can't get the stupid trees to cooperate.

I know what I make is a cheap imitation of commercial aspirin.  (Or, is aspirin an imitation of the traditional remedy?).   But, if I can avoid it, I prefer the milder external salve to save my poor stomach.
Here in the Upper Penninsula ,June is the traditional time for peeling the bark from Aspen. The sap flows very readily at the time the black flies and deer flies want to suck you dry. I assume cotton wood is similar species but don't know.

Offline lxskllr

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Re: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2019, 12:01:13 PM »
Perhaps you could try a substitute, like willow bark. If you have some available, it should be quicker to harvest than buds. Make a test batch, and see if it gives the results you're looking for.

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Re: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2019, 12:12:15 PM »
the problem is that we do not really know what chemical is in the buds that seems to make the medicinal work.  and if it is also present in the sap or if there are bad things applicable to the sav.  None of this is known due to lack of scientific study, more from tradition and anecdotes.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Balm of Gilead/Cottonwood Sap
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2019, 05:34:32 AM »
I was working with an engineer at our mill on collecting tulip poplar sap.  He did most of the maintenance and repair work at the mill.  So, he always had dirty hands that were hard to clean.  One day he was planing some green poplar boards with this son, and they discovered that their hands became really clean.  So, he wanted to collect tulip poplar bark.  

We tried to tap tulip poplar, but it was a little late in the season and he got very little.  We never tried it early in the season.  We found an alternative by getting gallons of it at the mill.  We sawed quite a bit of tulip poplar, about a third of our production.  We chipped all the waste from the logs.  We didn't have a shaker for screening the chips.  They were simply chipped and blown into a chip trailer.  We had a cutout door in the blower pipe to help clean it out when it jammed.  Sap would pour out of that door in the spring.  We would get several gallons a day.  Fresh logs were the key.

He then took the sap and had a local soap maker put the sap into soap.  It worked great.  The soap maker found that all her equipment got clean.  It was something that never happened before.   Our research showed that tulip poplar produces a natural benzene.  The research was from the late 1700s.  Some people are allergic to tulip poplar sap and can cause a rash.  

We tried a few other techniques, but the chipper was the best source.  We also were processing nearly 10-15 tons a day to get a couple of gallons of sap.  We never needed any more than that, so we didn't pursue it at a commercial level.  But, crushing seemed to be a method to retrieve sap.  We thought about using humidification kilns to cook the sap out, but I think that would have been more water than just sap.  We had such a kiln, but we weren't using it at the time to test the off flow.

We also sold quite a bit of tulip poplar for plywood core.  The buyer said they actually gather sap and sell it for multiple uses.  They do that for several different species.  You might want to search out a source to give your theory a try before going into the sap business.  A few sawmills might be able to get you some fresh slabs to give crushing a try.  
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