Sweet Gum Tree: the warm protector

joint-salve-herbs

An example of ideal ingredients for a topical salve to provide relief for cold, clammy arthritic conditions (comfrey leaf, sweet gum balls, cayenne peppers, bear’s foot root, comfrey root).

Common Name:  Sweet gum
Latin Name:  Liquidambar styraciflua
Family:  Hamamelidaceae (Witch hazel family)
Parts used:  green balls, leaves, bark, resin
Tissue or system affinity:  lungs, throat, joints, immune system
Taste:  aromatic, slightly bitter
Energetics:  warming, slightly drying
Actions:  anti-viral, expectorant, astringent, drawing

Uses:  topically, the resin can be used to draw out infection; topically, the green balls can be crushed and infused in oil to make an oil or salve for cold, clammy arthritic joints; internally, the green balls and leaves in tincture or tea form can be used to expectorate phlegm from the body during a cold or flu; internally, the green balls and leaves can be used as a tincture (preferred) or tea to combat viruses

Other info:  Sadly, sweet gum is often referred to as a “trash tree” because it grows fast as a first succession tree to recover damaged land.  It is far from that and a great medicine and plays a special role in our environment to repair and regenerate disturbed areas (especially after logging).

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