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The tall black poplar tree has a long, straight appearance. It is mainly found near rivers and lakes. This is a long-living tree (it can reach 300 years of age), though it has been attacked, especially in Europe, by fungi, insects, and parasite plants such as mistletoe in the last decades. Therefore, black poplar forests and plantations are being decimated. Trees also become ill. However, despite that, it preserves its medicinal properties, which have been known since ancient times.

black poplar tree medicinal uses
Black poplar tree leaves

Healing Properties and Indications

The leaf buds of the black poplar tree, and in a lesser proportion, the bark of the branches contain essential oil, flavonic and phenolic glycosides (salicin and populin), and tannin. Its properties are as follows:

  1. Sudorific, febrifuge, and diuretic: It provokes perspiration, decreases fever, and increases urine production. This is especially helpful for treating fever diseases and whenever a depurative effect on the body is required.
  2. Anti-inflammatory and antirheumatic: When used internally, it is recommended for rheumatic attacks, polyarthritis (inflammation of several joints), and rheumatic aches in general.
  3. Balsamic and expectorant: It is administered for acute and chronic bronchitis and all types of bronchial catarrh. It reduces the inflammation of the bronchial mucosa and promotes a thinner mucus, which is thus more quickly eliminated.
  4. Charcoal: The wood of black poplar is highly adequate to obtain charcoal.
  5. Externally applied, populeous ointment is a remedy that has proven effective for hemorrhoids. It has been present in European pharmacies for three centuries and is still an excellent treatment to alleviate congestion and hemorrhoid pain. Moreover, it is vulnerary; that is, it heals skin wounds and bruises. It is also applied, though its effectiveness has not been proven for hair loss.

Poplar Tree Scientific Facts

  1. Other names: Poplar
  2. French: Peuplier noir.
  3. Spanish: Alamo negro, chopo negro.
  4. Environment: The black poplar tree is common in humid forests all over Europe and cultivated in Europe and America.
  5. Description: Deciduous tree of the Salicaceae family, growing up to 30 m high, with the dark green leaves, petioled, slightly toothed, and triangle-shaped. It is a dioic species: some leaves have male flowers, other ones have female flowers.
  6. Parts of the plant used medicinally: The young buds in Spring, the bark, and the wood.

How to use Black Poplar

  1. Decoction with 30-40 g of young buds of black poplar per liter of water, boiling for 10 minutes. Pieces of bark can also be added to this decoction. Strain, sweeten with honey and drink three to four cups daily.
  2. Populous ointment: Prepared with 50 g of young buds of black poplar, mashed, and mixed with 150 g of fat (Vaseline, butter, etc.). Heat in a double boiler for 2-3 hours, then strain through a fine gauze. Apply three or four times daily on the affected area.
black poplar tree buds
A decoction of the black poplar tree young buds, well strained and sweetened with honey is a good remedy for bronchial and lung afflictions, due to its balsamic and sudorific properties, besides being febrifuge, and diuretic.

Other Poplar Trees

There are some 30 species of poplar trees. All of them have similar medicinal properties, though with effects of variable intensity.

  • White poplar (Populus alba L.), whose leaves are silver on the underside, unlike those of the black poplar, which are dark green.
  • Shaking poplar (Populus tremula L.) has lighter colored leaves on the underside, with a long petiole that allows them to be wind-shaken.
  • American poplar trees (Populus balsamiferous L. and Populus candicans L.) are species native to America, with whose young buds the Gilead blam is obtained. The Gilead balm’s preparation, properties, and applications are the same as those of the populeous ointment.

Black Poplar Tree Charcoal

Charcoal made from the black poplar tree wood, finely ground, acts as a powerful absorbent of toxins in the digestive tract. The most critical applications of charcoal are the following:

white poplar tree facts
  • Antidote for poisoning with plants or substances.
  • Antidiarrheic and antitoxic for gastroenteritis, colitis, intestinal fermentation, and putrefaction, which cause flatulent or fetid dyspepsia.
  • Toothpaste: When brushing teeth with ground charcoal, these become white, and the inflammation of gums reduces. Charcoal eliminates the plaque and food particles that accumulate on teeth and under the gums.

Though not an herb, charcoal is still invaluable in several ways. It is pure carbon and can absorb (not absorb, but bind) twenty-nine of thirty of the most dangerous poisons, neutralizing them. Charcoal is primarily obtained from hardwood and is produced by slow combustion in the relative absence of oxygen.

In case of an emergency, and you do not have any charcoal on hand, you can burn a piece of hardwood and chip or scrape the charcoal from the charred wood. After moistening with water, put it through a food grinder. Commercial sources are mainly made from coconut shells. (Charcoal briquettes or burnt toast are not charcoal). Treatment with superheated steam can produce “activated” charcoal, capable of a much more significant adsorptive effect. This is because more of the charcoal has been exposed.

Charcoal has a great surface area because it has millions of micropores with surface areas ranging from four hundred to over 1800 square meters per gram. There are fifty million charcoal particles in one pound. Charcoal cannot absorb all poisons, but it can bind with and thus neutralize a lot of them. Here are a few of the poisonous items it can absorb:

1. Industrial toxins2. DDT
3. Dieldrin4. Strychnine
5. Malathion6. Parathion
7. Medical drugs8. Aspirin
9. Barbituates10. Cocaine
11. Opium12. Nicotine
13. Morphine14. Penicillin
15. Sulfas16. Inorganic chemicals
17. Mercury18. Phosphorus
19. Chlorine20. Iron
21. Lead22. Silver

In any acute poisoning, the best thing to do is induce vomiting, followed by a hefty dose of activated charcoal diluted in water to make most substances harmless. If injected with any toxin, you’ll need about 30 to 60 grams (½ cup) of charcoal combined in water and should be taken immediately.

Charcoal is also helpful in treating intestinal gas (about a spoonful in half a glass of water, followed by another glass of water). It is also advantageous for those suffering from diarrhea. For people with unusual chronic bowel inflammations and colitis, a slurry solution made from charcoal can be made by stirring activated powdered charcoal into water. Then use only the cloudy solution, which results after the liquid has been set for a couple of hours.

This “slurry enema” will reduce inflammation locally, giving considerable relief. Externally, you can use it as a poultice on wounds, skin infections, and above-inflamed body areas.

Powder: Take ½ to 1 ½ teaspoon in ½ to one cup of water—swallowed, spread onto a poultice, or taken as a slurry. Tablets: Four to eight chewed in the mouth and then ate.


  • George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 760, 761. Print. [black poplar tree]
  • Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 152.

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