Native Americans also used storax for medicinal purposes, including controlling coughs and dysentery and treating sores and wounds. The uses of the tree extend from structuring furniture to using it as an ornamental tree for the purpose of landscaping. Back to Top The sweet gum tree has long been used for medicinal purposes and as a source of hardwood for furniture. Many of the medicinal properties of sweetgum come from storax as well as essential oils extracted from the leaves. Fruit of the sweet gum tree. The spiky clusters are actually balls of fruit with tiny seeds inside that birds and squirrels snack on. I love gardens, herbs, plants and all things nature and so I have decided to focus my writing on it, since so many of my friends and family on social media have expressed an interest. wide. The sweetgum wood has many uses, particularly veneer, furniture, flooring, interior trim, woodenware, paper pulp and to … Its heartwood is variable and ranges from dark brown to a lighter, reddish brown. Well…..there are some benefits to … The green pods contain small, aromatic seeds which, when chewed after a meal, help with digestion. In addition, another ingenious use of gum balls is for a low breast milk supply. Habitat Their foliage takes on a range of fall colors, including orange, to yellow, red and purple, livening up the landscape. The American sweet gum tree, Liquidambar styraciflua, grows in eastern woodlands from southern Connecticut to northern Illinois to Texas to central Florida. An amazingly iconic and dominate specimen of Australian flora is the Eucalyptus tree or more commonly known as the Gum tree.The name Eucalyptus, being derived from Greek eu – well – kaluptos – covered, a clear reference to its unique flowers. Many people associate sweet gum with their hard spiked fruits that fall everywhere around the tree. May 10, 2017 - Explore Linda Durtschi's board "Sweet Gum tree ball crafts" on Pinterest. According to a North Carolina State University study of sweetgums growing in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, foliage is damaged from phytotoxic levels of troposheric ozone. The Cherokee and Choctaw also combined the resin with strawberrybush to make a beverage of unknown appeal, and the resin, when hardened and sticky, was chewed as a gum. gardngrim@gmail.com 10,000-7000 BC). Helpful. The sweet gum tree has long been used for medicinal purposes and as a source of hardwood for furniture. Getting back to Ashley’s question, using injections on your sweetgum tree is tricky because the timing has to be just right. This is a guide about uses for sweet gum balls. Cherokee Indians used the inner bark to make a green tea infusion as a sedative to calm nerves. Go out with a bucket and fill it with seed pods, and in the spring you may just use some: 1. Missourians have long used the sweet gum’s lumber for cabinets, furniture, flooring and other interior uses. They are typically about 1–1.5 inches (25–38 mm) in diameter and are covered with rusty hairs. The city of St. James has so many trees lining the streets that to this day it is known as the “sweet gum capital of Missouri.” Reasons Our Ecosystem Loves Them. Tea was made to treat nervous patients. ... All Related Articles Agro-Forestry Forest Product Laboratory Articles Tree Pests and Diseases Timber Harvesting Tree Planting Woodlot Management. Recent references from organic websites have noted that the inner bark of sweetgum, boiled with milk, can relieve diarrhea, and oils from the leaves of sweetgum trees have antimicrobial properties against both bacteria and viruses. Sweet gum trees (Liquidambar styraciflua) are a common sight in the eastern United States and in several Central American and southern Mexican regions. Timber from the sweet gum tree is a finely textured, moderately heavy white colored sapwood with a light pink tint. The flowers typically appear in March to May and persist into Autumn, sometimes persisting into the Winter. See more ideas about sweet gum, sweet gum tree crafts, crafts. Seed-rich sweet gum pods make food for squirrels, chipmunks and birds. Natasha Gilani has been a writer since 2004, with work appearing in various online publications. When the balls would fall off the tree in Autumn , it would be quite difficult to walk under the tree and if you were not careful, you would fall , it was like walking on golf balls. Sweet gum fruits are spiky green balls that turn brown through winter and fall to the ground November through May. The tree grows best in deep, moist soil (it can only tolerate very moderate drought), with a pH no higher than 7. The other uses of the American sweetgum include lumber, veneer, and plywood, as well as fuel and pulpwood. By mid-fall, the balls are dead and seedless. In pioneer days, the gum was obtained from the trunks by peeling the bark and scraping the resin-like solid beneath. It is a potent anti-fungal and an effective natural pesticide. The tree is a deciduous fast growing tree in the witch hazel family. I am currently working on some future plans to set up a shop where some of my local herbs can be purchased, but it is still in the planning stage, however I will work with you privately if I have the resources available to me. When do sweetgum tree balls fall? A journal from a conquistador accompanying Cortez recorded observing the Aztec emperor himself enjoying a resinous stick from the tree. Last fall, we stopped in St. Louis, Missouri to visit some friends. The Sweet Gum tree is the sand spur of the forest. This medicinally potent balm has been used to treat various ailments, including skin problems. Foliage The young buds are actually tasty, raw nibble. Extracts from the sap have shown promise in fighting drug-resistant bacteria and hypertension. The leaves are palmate, deeply 5 to 7-lobed, rounded, smooth, shining, of a rich green color; the lobes finely glandular, serrate, and acuminate; the veins villous at their bases. Spanish explorers of the American South also noted the resemblance and recorded the tree as they trudged through southern swamps. Email. Native medicine decocts the inner bark of the sweet gum tree as a remedy for influenza, and according to Starkville MS herbalist Mandi Sanders, the Appalachian herbalists use it as well. ( Log Out /  Chief among them, the sweet gum’s fragrant resin was used to flavor a pipe full of an unfamiliar plant called tobacco. Find out about composting gumballs here. Hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 to 9, sweet gum trees have characteristic five-lobed leaves that take on gorgeous colors in the fall. Archeological research of pre-Columbian Aztecs discovered evidence of a large trade of Liquidambar for incense. What to Do With Sycamore Balls?. And why? It has many names, including liquid amber or copalm balsam. Black gum or sour gum tree facts can be rather fascinating for arborists who study this hardy, towering native species. Flag. This means that only one tree is needed for the flowers to be pollinated, and a single tree can produce the spiky fruits even when another sweet gum tree is not in sight. They are used to reclaim former zinc and phosphorous mines. “ Sweetgum salves have a minor antiseptic value, but work well as an anti-inflammatory. If you are interested in working with Sweet Gum but do not have this tree available to you and wish to purchase some, send me a message and I will try to help you out with that. Overall, gum shrinks more than cherry, mahogany, or walnut (8 percent shrinkage from green to 6 percent MC, compared to 6, 3, and 6 percent for the other three species, respectively). Sweet gum is a larval host plant for the beautiful luna moth. The balls are a nuisance and can be a hazard if one steps on them unknowingly, but its a great shade tree. The mildly astringent inner bark is used in the treatment of diarrhea and childhood cholera. They are quite beautiful but not too showy. Gum resin from the trees has anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties and has been used to treat bedsores, topical herpes and angina. Two close relatives of our North American sweetgum are Formosan sweetgum (Liquidambar formosana) of southern China and Taiwan, and Oriental sweetgum (Liquidambar orientalis) of Turkey and the Caucasus. Medicinal Uses of Sweet Gum Most people want to know how to get rid of the tree, keep it from fruiting, or if you can compost sweetgum balls. Save. More recently, storax has proven to be a strong antimicrobial agent even against multidrug resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. These seeds are often called porcupine balls because they are covered in small barbs. It may also have been used as an insect-repellent, although other botanical sources were more effective. Sweetgum balls are anything but sweet but the prickly fruit of sweetgum trees. Their fruit is effective against rheumatic pain. It can be an excellent shade tree in the right location, away from foot traffic where the spiky "gumball" fruits will not be an annoyance. Sweet gum sap has caught the attention of medical researchers, and we know that much of its folkloric uses are now backed with scientific reasoning. She is also a member of the Canadian Writers Association. I hope you will take the time to appreciate this tree in the future the next time you notice one. The branches carry layers of cork. Indeed, the Sweet Gum tree's seedpods are used in magick, and spiritual work for protection, but also more than just for that! Are you looking for an easy and fast way to pick up sweet gum balls?Check out Bag-A-Nut's sweet gum ball harvester. They replied that I could take the entire yard-full. The American sweetgum is often planted as a street tree in suburban areas, but it also can tend to form thickets within forests. May 10, 2017 - Explore Linda Durtschi's board "Sweet Gum tree ball crafts" on Pinterest. There, they sought out a tree with unusual star-shaped leaves and bark resembling alligator skin. Medicinal use of Sweet Gum: A resin obtained from the trunk of the tree (see "Uses notes" below) is antiseptic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, parasiticide, poultice, salve, sedative, stimulant, vulnerary. See more ideas about sweet gum, sweet gum tree crafts, crafts. It grows fast for a rapid harvest, yielding lumber and veneer for furniture-making. The leaves also contain many of the medicinally active compounds. The sweetgum, which also provides the material for hardwood, is one of the most important trees for timber in the country. If the sweet gum balls actually burn, even if it is quickly, I'd be tempted to try using them for kindling or just as a occasional boredom remedy. Sweet gum resin or sap may stick to your teeth. Sweet-gum is known for its unique star-shaped leaves with outstanding yellow, red, and purple fall color. ECOSYSTEM CONNECTIONS —The sweet-gum tree attains the height of 50 to 60 feet, with a diameter of 3 to 5 feet. They tend to be Pyramidal shaped when young, oblong to rounded when mature. They are native to Eastern United States, from Southwestern Connecticut to Florida and are also found in the Mountains of Mexico and Guatemala. There is a ton of information on the medicinal uses, clinical trials and scientific research references that can be found on this site. These seeds are often called porcupine balls because they are covered in small barbs. I have been very excited to learn about their medicinal properties and how to use them. From contributor A: Sweet gum is a great wood, but it cups and twists when it dries. They begin as pale green, spikey balls in spring and ripen into brown, seed-laden fruits by late summer. Many of the medicinal properties of sweetgum are derived from the resinous sap that exudes when the outer bark of the tree has been damaged. The downside to growing a sweetgum tree is the seed pods. Sweet gum wood is valued for its attractive, interlocked grain. We often played beneath it and I always wondered how old it was and what it must have looked like there years before the neighborhood even existed. A salve can even be made by burning those infernal sweetgum balls down to ash (which is satisfying in its own right) and mixing that ash with bear grease or lard. It has wonderful medicinal uses and health benefits. The red gum would be the darker heartwood of the sweet gum trees. It may be clear, reddish, or yellow, with a pleasant smell like ambergris. This is a guide about uses for sweet gum balls. It can reach heights ranging from 60 feet to 100 feet tall. The do not thrive well in Northern or cold climate zones. As a monoecious plant, a sweet gum bears male and female flowers. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Sweet gum seeds are eaten by many species of birds, including goldfinch, purple finch, sparrows, mourning doves, wild turkey, northern bobwhite, and wood duck, as well as by squirrels and chipmunks. It is chewed in the treatment of sore throats, coughs, asthma, cystitis, dysentery etc. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or use of herbs or plant materials for medicinal use. Their treat was the sap of the native sweet gum tree (Liquidambar styraciflua). Mr. Earl Carter, a Lumbee healer, treats cuts with Sweet Gum leaves. The Spaniard recognized its similarity to the well-known Asian species (and close kin) that exuded the same resin. The Sweetgum Ball’s wood is second only to the Oak. In parts of the deep South it is called alligator wood, gum tree, or incense tree. South Carolina Civil War surgeon and botanist writes that sweetgum incense was used in Mexico as an “excitant of the mucous system” and antimicrobial for infections of lungs, intestines and urinary tract. The first historical reference to the Sweet Gum tree comes from the author and soldier, Don Bernal Diaz del Castillo, who accompanied Cortez in 1519 and was a witness to ceremonies between Cortez and Montezuma, who both partook of a liquid amber extracted from a sweetgum tree. Sweetgums, while quite abundant in North and South America and Asia, died out on the European continent during the Ice Age. The leaves of the black gum tree are an elongated oval shape that offer a brilliant fall show. Roots The reason? The neighborhood was never the same after that, it still saddens me that anyone would destroy of a tree of such magnificent size and beauty. Who knew?! The leaves flutter easily in the slightest of breezes and form a rounded canopy. Sweet Gum : Medicinal Uses The resin also serves many medicinal purposes. The Witch’s Burrs or Gum Balls of this particular tree were enormous in size, I don’t think I have ever seen another Sweet Gum Tree in my lifetime that has been this size. I am a former Nurse of 20 years and am considered by my friends to be what some call a Solitary Green or Hedge Witch. Externally, it is applied to sores, wounds, piles, ringworm, scabies etc. For coughs and respiratory congestion due to colds, the gum can be taken for expectoration or for sore throat. This stately tree, reaching heights up to 150 feet, makes an imposing sight in the outdoors. A decoction from the inner bark is traditionally (Cherokee) used to calm the nerves. Witches burr are actually seed pods from the sweet gum tree, which is found in the southeastern part of the United States, Mexico, and Central America. On their lawn, Sweet Gum Balls were strewn all around. It is also used to make baskets, railroad ties, crates and pallets. While I don't go around sporting a pointed hat and flying on brooms, I do have a passion for alternative healing and learning about the medicinal and magical properties of plants. The tree’s gum resin, for which the tree is named, exudes from the bark of the tree when wounded. Sweet gum is a deciduous, forest-dwelling tree, growing as high as 150 feet, the tree is covered with rough, gray bark; but the branchlets are reddish-brown and often have corky ridges. It is covered with a gray, deeply furrowed bark, with corky ridges on the branchlets. Mature leaves are 4 to 7 inches (10 to 18 cm.) Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties are useful in both contexts. Sweet gum seeds are eaten by many species of birds, including goldfinch, purple finch, sparrows, mourning doves, wild turkey, northern bobwhite, and wood duck, as well as by squirrels and chipmunks. Personally, I am surrounded by Sweet Gum Trees and I am looking forward to working with them medicinally in the near future. Edible gum also called as Indian edible gum | ghatti gum is a natural resin got from axle wood tree. Today, the active ingredient of the infertile sweetgum seeds, which contain high amounts of shikimic acid, is used in the preparation of Tamiflu, but other than that is more of a bane in the landscape. Change ). Storax, also referred to as styrax, is produced by damaging the outer bark of sweetgum trees. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Sweet gum trees have very shallow root systems and often times on older, larger trees their root systems will protrude from the top soil. Gum Tree Gum Tree Spiritual Meaning and Medicinal Uses. It is also used internally for sore throats, coughs, colds, asthma, bronchitis, cystitis, vaginal discharge, strokes, and is it indicated to have an effect on some cancers. In their yard, they had a Sweet Gum Ball tree! 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