BALSAM FIR Resin, leaves Abies balsamea (L.) Mill Pine Family
Spire-shaped tree; to 60 ft. Flattish needles, to 11?4 in. long, in flattened sprays; stalkless. Needles rounded at base, each with 2 white lines beneath. Cones 1–4 in. long, erect; purple to green, scales mostly twice as long as broad. Bark smooth, with numerous resin pockets. Where found: Moist woods. Canada, south through New England and along mountains to Va. and W. Va.; west through n. Ohio to ne. Iowa, Mich. Uses: Canada Balsam, an oleoresin, is collected by cutting bark blisters or pockets in wood, July–Aug. Used as an antiseptic, in creams and ointments for piles, and as a root-canal sealer. Diuretic (may irritate mucous membranes). American Indians applied resin as an analgesic for burns, sores, bruises, and wounds. Leaf tea used for colds, coughs, and asthma. The oleoresin is pale yellow to greenish yellow; transparent and pleasantly scented. Its primary commercial application has been as a sealing agent for mounted microscope slides. Warning: Resin may cause dermatitis in some individuals.