Latin name: Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.
Botanical family: Pinaceae
Growth habit: Tree
Vernacular name(s): balsam fir (Eng.)
sapin baumier (Fr.)
pikew-ahtik, nupukasik, pikowahtik, napakasit, napukasituk, napukasi (Cree)
sta'kwin (Malecite)
a'ninandak', ini'nandok, ne-naig-wah-dayg, jîngo'b (Ojibwa)
kokôkwank (Abenaki)
cigubi, irimucit (Atikamekw)
ilnasht, innâsht (Innu)
Gum :Applied over cuts, burns, impetigo, sores, scabs, abscesses, ulcers, grip, insect bites, boils, swellings, infections and cuts as a healer [44; Mi'kmaq 60, 62; Ojibwa 84, 87; Algonquians 63; Algonquin 68, 69; Atikamekw 73; Malecite 65; Innu 72; Cree 80; Dene 17]. Used to stimulate appetite [Innu 72]. or for cough, cuts, constipation and to favour childbirth [Montagnais 71]. Used as an antiseptic for itching or scabies [Abenaki 67]. Used to treat sore eyes [Ojibwa 87]. , or snow blindness [Cree 80]. Boiled and drunk as a cough and cold medicine [Ojibwa 86; Atikamekw 73; Cree 80]. Used as an emetic [Algonquin 75]. , for menstrual irregularity, or skin problems [Cree 95]. Burned and the fumes inhaled to treat convulsions [Ojibwa 47]. Combined with bear grease as a hair ointment [Ojibwa 47]. Combined with crushed bark to treat soreness of the chest resulting from cold [Algonquians 63].
Sap :Used internally as a remedy for gonorrhea and for cold in the chest [Ojibwa 44]. , or as a cure-all drink [Dene 13]. Used for snow blindness [Cree 81]. or to treat skin disorders, cuts, burns and bee stings [Cree 96]. Poultice used in arthritis and muscular pain [Cree 96].
Branches and needles :Boiled and mixed with grease to be used against stomachache and constipation, sometimes along with Lycopodium [Montagnais 71]. Dried and mixed with animal fat to be applied to burns [Cree 81]. Boiled and steam used to treat flu [Dene 13]. , cold and sore throat [Cree 81]. Used as a pillow in sore throat and cough [Cree 81]. Used for making poultices and as a source of laxative tea for women after childbirth [Algonquin 69]. Placed upon live coals and the smoke inhaled for colds [Ojibwa 87]. or asthma [Cree 13]. Tea from tops or combs to cure colic [Mi'kmaq 43]. Applied to sore areas, or boiled, cooled and rubbed on chest and back to treat asthma [Cree 81]. Pounded and put on the chest to relieve pain [Cree 81].
Cones :Boiled and the liquid is used as a tea to fight nausea [Montagnais 71]. Juice used as a laxative, or buds or young cones steeped with bark of young hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and oak (Quercus rubra) taken as a cure for diarrhoea [Malecite 65].
Bark :General medicine [Cree 42]. , part of a compound applied topically for pain relief, and another compound preparation drunk after childbirth [Cree 13]. Tea used as a "women's medicine" [Cree 96]. Used to prepare a decoction to induce perspiration [Ojibwa 44]. or diaphoresis [Algonquians 63]. Dried bark with pitch blisters ground and mixed with lard to make a poultice applied to infected wounds or for arthritis [Cree 13]. , or grated with other plants and the resulting powder mixed with water to make a paste applied to infections and boils [Cree 13]. Used against anorexia and shiver [Montagnais 71]. Infusion used for tuberculosis [Cree 95]. Bark steeped and given in initial stages of gonorrhoea [Algonquians 63; Malecite 65]. Boiled and mixed with Caribou wheat (Eriophorum sp.) for cancer treatment [Dene 17]. Poultice used to treat facial paralysis, skin disorders, cuts, burns and bee stings [Cree 96].
Inner bark :Eaten to treat stomach problems [Dene 17]. Boiled to a jelly used for treating burns [Algonquin 75; Cree 80]. , sores and swellings [Algonquians 63]. or drunk as a general tonic for cold, influenza, etc. [Algonquin 75; Cree, Dene, Metis 13; Dene 17]. Used in diabetes [Cree 82, 83].
Roots :Used for heart disease [Algonquin 69]. Decoction taken for chest cold, pain, and backache, as an emetic and against tuberculosis [Cree 13]. Decoction sprinkled on hot stones and steam used to ease rheumatic joints [Ojibwa 47].
Buds :Boiled and drunk against "inward disorders" [Cree 78].