Balsam Fir

Latin Name

Abies balsamea

Family

Pinaceae

Chemotype

beta-Pinene, Carene

Distilled Component

Needles and branches

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. 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.