Thanks to Thumbup for the link. 🙂
The average herbalist loves Cottonwood for its sticky, resinous leaf buds that drop in springtime, which lend themselves beautifully to oils and salves for topical treatment of inflammation, pain, and soreness in muscles, joints, tendons and the like. Those of you who have experienced a good Cottonwood salve can say it is a very cooling, soothing relief for what is greatly inflamed, coming in like a calm water to put out a nasty fire. The origin of Cottonwood salves comes from its use by Native North American tribes, who used it also as a wash for wounds, skin afflictions, and various pains….
While I am including a recipe for how to craft a very simple but effective Cottonwood salve, there is a lot more to this towering tree, which shares its ancestry with Willows, Poplars, and Aspens– and with whom it also shares some medicinal qualities. We owe today’s widespread use and production of Aspirin to this family and other plants rich in salicylic acids, the original purveyors of the effects Aspirin is responsible for: pain-reliever and fever-reducer. Historically, this family of plants was used even more on the fringes of traditional folk-medicine as a fever, cold, and respiratory remedy.
If one were to come up with a signature for Cottonwood, I would call it “guardian of the waters.” In herbalism, a “signature” hails from the “Doctrine of Signatures,” the idea that a plant’s effects are reflected in its appearance, function, or environment. Seeing a Cottonwood usually signifies that there is a river, creek, oasis, or subterranean water nearby. Groundwater also tends to store up around the Cottonwood’s roots, and in the desert, seeing a Cottonwood is a sure sign you will find water…
(Photo taken 3/19/2015.)