Monday, March 16, 2009

Cottonwood Salve and Snow Buntings

If your baby falls asleep in the car consider yourself one of the lucky few. My baby just so happens to be one the members of this joyous club. During the early days of spring it has afforded me the opportunity to go birding mid afternoon.

Much to my enjoyment I have taken advantage of these splendid occasion to glass the glacier country side for migrant arrivals and winter farewell birds. This includes my spot of 15+ Snow Buntings in the West Valley Region of Montana. The males were in a spectacular transition from winter to breeding plumage. Bodies representing the summer plumage and heads adorning their winter colors. They have since departed on their journey to the Alaskan Coast for the summer.

Over the weekend we went looking for Cottonwood branches. I collected the Cottonwood Buds to macerate a medicinal salve for cuts, wounds and pain. Cottonwood buds are very aromatic, like sweet cindered honey, and exude a sticky ochre resin. After several months of soaking in an organic olive oil bath, the oil will be strained and added to a little beeswax. This medicinal salve is commonly known as the Balm of Gilead and highly therapeutic. The buds were collected around the full moon so the medicinal properties are being drawn out by the moons vibration. The branches fall reticently during wind storms as was the case for our collection. This stand of cottonwoods was along the Flathead River. Branches were laying on the icy shoreline that was beginning to melt.

I give the oils a vigorous shake daily. The resin is already making it's way into the oil and smells oh so delicious. Being from the willow family, Cottonwood has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as, cell proliferation constituents. It is best used on painful joints, burned skin and open cuts.

1 comment:

anika said...

Snow buntings- lucky you!! I love the salve idea, you are such an inspiration.

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