Monday, January 18, 2010


The balsam fir, which is native to my neck of the woods (New England), is an evergreen conifer.  These trees can provide fire burning materials, shelter, as well as food.  But most importantly they are famous for their resin filled blisters.  The balsam fir pitch is clear, runny, and very sticky.  It is commonly used as a salve for burns and various other wounds.  In fact, balsam fir pitch is so sticky it can be used to glue cuts together, which helps accelerate the healing process and keep the area clean from debris.  You can inhale the resin in steam or smoke when you have a headache.  Or simply consume the resin to treat a cold or soothe a sore throat.  The list of medicinal uses goes on and on.

Here's a recipe for balsam fir syrup I plan on trying out:

2 cups (500 ml) water
8 oz (250 g) balsam shoots
1 cup (250 ml) creamy honey
1 tinted glass bottle

In an enamel and stainless-steel covered saucepan, simmer the balsam shoots for 15 minutes. Let stand for 1 hour. Strain. Add the honey and cook at low heat for 15 minutes. Let cool and bottle. Store in the refrigerator. Consume pure or diluted in water, within 3 months, at a rate of 1 T (15 mI) daily, before each meal. Excellent for coughs, and for clearing the lungs and intestines.
Note: When made with sugar, the syrup will keep for 9 months.

1 comment:

  1. I’ve tried all sorts of coughing syrups, believe me, but none of them helps. Even though Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa does not eliminates the cough I like to stick to this chinese syrup I’ve been taking since I was a kid: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My grandfather is chinese, so I guess my mom got the advice from him. I was really surprised when I found that chinese market selling it here in Belgium. It does have a refreshing, soothing, sweetening effect…as long as it lasts…then back to coughing mode.