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Balsam, White

Botanical: 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.


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Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.

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