Yum Hey What's for Dinner Mom?: Cottonwood Bud Balm


Cottonwood Bud Balm

Also called the Balm of Gilead. If you want to make this wonderful balm now is the time to gather your buds. Umm yes okay if you live in Alaska now is time to gather your buds and get busy. If you live anywhere else gather buds before they leaf out while they are fragrant and smell deliciously of spring. Cottonwood Bud Balm can be used to treat minor muscle aches or just as really good deep moisturizer. I use it as a moisturizing healing balm for my poor chapped spring hands and on my kids cheeks for chapping too. It won't last too long even if kept in the fridge, so it truly is a spring thing.

I spent an sunny spring hour picking buds and two hands off hours letting it get melty over a double boiler. The original recipe came from this book

which I HIGHLY recommend for anyone in the Pacific Northwest. It's packed full of amazing recipes, foraging tips and hand drawn plant parts that really show the difference in plants. Okay it also has photos too. I've yet to find a plant that wasn't in the book, believe me I tried!

Cottonwood Bud Balm

1 cup of cottonwood buds
1 cup of lard
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of beeswax
fabric to strain through
jars or tins to hold your balm

pick the cottonwood buds--make sure you either pick your own or get permission  to pick your neighbors, try not to pick every bud from a branch this will hurt the tree--yeah I know they are just cottonwood trees but it's good practice when foraging, use it always and you'll never kill something by over picking it

put them in the top of the double boiler, I used a pyrex bowl over a pan of boiling water, along with the lard, the oil and the beeswax
melt everything together, reduce heat, cover and let infuse for at least 2 hours
strain through a piece of muslin or a couple layers of cheese cloth
then pour into tins or jars


melting together
strained and tinned

The smell of this balm is heavenly, it smells of fresh air, spring and earth energy. It feels alive and we love it. I'm glad to have a use for those silly sticky little buds that annoy so many folks. It really helps bring the outdoors in and even extend that spring feeling right on into summer.

Peace and Love--



  1. I don't think we have cottonwood here. and I'm glad to hear that you've had a sunny spring morning! I hope that sentiment doesn't jinx your weather.

  2. bwhahhahah just read the forecast is for SNOW next week--hoping that's BS :)


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