Balsam, White

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Balsam, White

Botanical Name: Gnaphalium polycephalum
Family: N.O. Asteraceae

Synonyms: Indian Posy. Sweet-scented Life Everlasting. Old Field Balsam. Gnaphalium Obtusifolium or Blunt-leaved Everlasting. Gnaphalium Connoideum. Fragrant Everlasting. None-so-Pretty. Catsfoot. Silver Leaf.
Parts Used: Herb, leaves, flowers.
Habitat: Virginia, Pennsylvania and New England.

Description: Leaves lanceolate; stalk tomentose, panicled; flowers tubular, yellow, glomerate, conical, terminating; stems single, 9 inches high. Corollas yellow, flowering July to August. Leaves have a pleasant aromatic smell and an aromatic, slightly bitter, astringent, agreeable taste. The Antennaria Margaritacea or Gnaphalium Margaritacea, or Pearl-flowered Life Everlasting, has the same properties as White Balsam.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Astringent. Beneficial for ulcerations of the throat and mouth; warm infusions used to produce diaphoresis; also of service in quinsy, pulmonary complaints, leucorrhoea. Can be used internally and as a local application, likewise used as fomentations to bruises, indolent tumours. An infusion given in diseases of the bowels - haemorrhages etc. The fresh juice is reputed anti-venereal and anti-aphrodisiac; the cold infusion vermifugal; the dried flowers are used as a sedative filling for the pillows of consumptives. A tincture is made from whole plant.