Balsam Fir

Latin Name

Abies balsamea

Family

Pinaceae

Chemotype

Pinenes, Carene, Bornyl Acetate

Distilled Component

Needles

Traditionally Known Properties

Respiratory antiseptic, mucolytic Cough suppressant Air antiseptic Antispasmodic Anti-inflammatory Analgesic (administered locally), rubefacient, anti-arthritic. Tonic and general stimulant

Precautions

Avoid during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Dermocaustic (potential skin irritant if not diluted). Dilute with vegetable oil (maximum 20%) or cream (10%).

Anecdote

In France, fir is commonly used to build coffins, hence the expression "to smell of fir", meaning that one does not have much longer to live. The Balsam Fir is the ideal Christmas tree; once cut, the tree holds on to its needles. Brother Marie-Victorin, the famous botanist, related that fir resin was one of the essential components of the popular French-Canadian pharmacopoeia. In the days of the Jean- Talon administration, this resin was also used in the manufacturing of footwear and in shipbuilding.