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.
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:
- 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.
- Anti-inflammatory and antirheumatic: When used internally, it is recommended for rheumatic attacks, polyarthritis (inflammation of several joints), and rheumatic aches in general.
- 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.
- Charcoal: The wood of black poplar is highly adequate to obtain charcoal.
- 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
- Other names: Poplar
- French: Peuplier noir.
- Spanish: Alamo negro, chopo negro.
- Environment: The black poplar tree is common in humid forests all over Europe and cultivated in Europe and America.
- 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.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The young buds in Spring, the bark, and the wood.
How to use Black Poplar
- 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.
- 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.
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
- 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.
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]