Herb: White Balsam

Latin name: Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium

Synonyms: Gnaphalium obtusifolium, Gnaphalium polycephalum

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of White Balsam:

The whole plant is anaphrodisiac, antiphlogistic, astringent, diaphoretic, expectorant, vermifuge. It is used internally in the treatment of throat ulcers, chest complaints, intestinal and respiratory catarrh etc and is also applied externally as a poultice to bruises, indolent tumours etc. A tea made from the leaves and flowers is a mild nerve sedative, diuretic and antispasmodic. The fresh juice is considered to be aphrodisiac. It is anaphrodisiac according to another report. The aromatic dried flowers are used as a filling for pillows, having a sedative effect which is beneficial to consumptives. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. This has proved to be of benefit in the treatment of sciatica, lumbago and some forms of arthritis.

Description of the plant:


50 cm
(1 foot)

to October


Habitat of the herb:

Pine woods and clearings in dry open habitats.

Other uses of White Balsam:

The plant is used as an insect repellent, it is placed in bedmats, books etc and in the linen cupboard. The flower heads are used as a stuffing material for mattresses.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.

Cultivation of White Balsam:

Pine woods and clearings in dry open habitats.

Known hazards of Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.