Balsam Fir Essential Oil/Canada(wild harvest

Wisdom of Chief Seattle

Olfactory Properties of Fir Balsam/Abies balsamea(wild harvested)

The fragrance of conifers in general has strong appeal to me as in my childhood we lived in the high desert of Carlsbad, New Mexico and occasionally we use to go up into the southern part of the Rockies to a small town named Cloudcroft where pines and firs grew in abundance. Ascending from the desert into the fragrant conifer forests was a magical experience. Later I was in a similar situation when I worked in the Sacramento Valley in Davis, California as well as helped develop my mom and I's flower farm in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Downieville. Coming out of the hot Sacramento Valley into the cooler higher elevations amidst the regal splendor of the conifer forests that surrounded our homestead and breathing in the rich aromas radiated by these grand trees was again something very special in the life.

When a few drops of Fir Balsam essential oil are placed on the AromaStone, the fragrance of this green, rich, sweet balsamic quickly spreads into the room and within 15 minutes one is in the midst of a redolent conifer forest. The aromas of the different conifer oils have many similarities but each has its own unique characteristics as well but finding a language to demarcate their unique attributes may not be so easy. One will need to find some means or other to register these subtle differences in their internal olfactory memory perfume laboratory.
One special part of the Fir Balsam olfactory life span comes after the strength of the sweet, resinous, green coniferous bouquet begins to recede which is after 60 minutes.
Then a very delicate ethereal sweet slightly minty note remains that is very delicoius and delightful. That quiet note remains in the atmosphere for several hours and breathing it takes one deep into the heart of a high altitude forest where only the quiet breezes, the chirping of birds and the filtered sunlight are one's companions. That aroma has a natural quiet, repose and serenity in it that is a joy to partake of.

Abies balsamea Links

Wikipedia article on Balsam Fir
Monograph on Balsam Fir including description, plants and animals with which it coexists etc
Images of Balsam Fir
Native American Ethnobotany of Balsam Fir
Typical gc of Balsam Fir
Great monograph on Abies balsamea including uses folk medicine
Ethnobotanical uses amongst Native People
Fenaroli's handbook of Flavor Ingredients monograph

Balsam Fir in Literature

The early morning breeze was still blowing, and the warm, sunshiny air was of some ethereal northern sort, with a cool freshness as it came over new-fallen snow. The world was filled with a fragrance of fir-balsam and the faintest flavor of seaweed from the ledges, bare and brown at low tide in the little harbor.
The Country of the Pointed Firs
Sarah Orne Jewett

"Give me of your balm, O Fir-tree!
Of your balsam and your resin,
So to close the seams together
That the water may not enter,
That the river may not wet me!"
And the Fir-tree, tall and sombre,
Sobbed through all its robes of darkness,
Rattled like a shore with pebbles,
Answered wailing, answered weeping,
"Take my balm, O Hiawatha!"
And he took the tears of balsam,
Took the resin of the Fir-tree,
Smeared therewith each seam and fissure,
Made each crevice safe from water.
Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Song of Hiawatha

Dainty old pieces of china, rare bits of bric-a-brac, the very broad and old-time fireplaces filled with cut boughs of the spicy fir balsam, and various antique pieces of furniture lend to the inner atmosphere of Quillcote a fine artistic and colonial effect, while not a stone's throw away, at the foot of a precipitous bank, flows--in a very irregular channel--the picturesque Saco River.
Polly Oliver's Problem, by Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin

For I warn you perfectly frankly that I am distinctly pro-dog and distinctly pro-Christmas, and would like to bring to this little story whatever whiff of fir-balsam I can cajole from the make-believe forest in my typewriter, and every glitter of tinsel, smudge of toy candle, crackle of wrapping paper, that my particular[2] brand of brain and ink can conjure up on a single keyboard! And very large-sized dogs shall romp through every page! And the mercury shiver perpetually in the vicinity of zero! And every foot of earth be crust
and bare with no white snow at all till the very last moment when you'd just about given up hope! And all the heart of the story is very,—oh very young!
Peace on Earth,
Good-Will to Dogs
Eleanor Hallowell Abbottrown

Beauty was all around them. Unsuspected tintings glimmered in the dark demesnes of the woods and glowed in their alluring by-ways. The spring sunshine sifted through the young green leaves. Gay trills of song were everywhere. There were little hollows where you felt as if you were bathing in a pool of liquid gold. At every turn some fresh spring scent struck their faces . . . spice ferns . . . fir balsam . . . the wholesome odour of newly ploughed fields. There was a lane curtained with wild-cherry blossoms . . . a grassy old field full of tiny spruce trees just starting in life and looking like elvish things that had squatted down among the grasses . . . brooks not yet "too broad for leaping" . . . star-flowers under the firs . . . sheets of curly young ferns . . . and a birch tree whence some vandal had torn away the white-skin wrapper in several places, exposing the tints of the bark below. Anne looked at it so long that Diana wondered. She did not see what Anne did
. . . tints ranging from purest creamy white, through exquisite golden tones, growing deeper and deeper until the inmost layer revealed the deepest richest brown as if to tell that all birches, so maiden-like and cool exteriorly, had yet warm-hued feelings.
Anne of Ingleside
L. M. Montgomery

She loved the spruce barrens, away at the further end of the long, sloping pasture. That was a place where magic was made. She came more fully into her fairy birthright there than in any other place. Nobody who saw Emily skimming over the bare field would have envied her. She was little and pale and poorly clad; sometimes she shivered in her thin jacket; yet a queen might have gladly given a crown for her visions--her dreams of wonder. The brown, frosted grasses under her feet were velvet piles. The old mossy, gnarled half-dead spruce-tree, under which she paused for a moment to look up into the sky, was a marble column in a palace of the gods; the far dusky hills were the ramparts of a city of wonder. And for companions she had all the fairies of the country-side--for she could believe in them here--the fairies of the white clover and satin catkins, the little green folk of the grass, the elves of the young fir-trees, sprites of wind and wild fern and thistledown. Anything might happen there--everything might come true.
Emily of New Moon (1923)
Montgomery, L. M. (Lucy Maud), 1874-1942.

Plant Wisdom Links
As we have gone on exploring the relationship between humans and plants the subject concerning the way in which people in all cultures and places have interacted with plants in order to become receptive to their knowledge or plant wisdom that the denizens of the plant world wish to share has come up. These links are concerned with this type of Plant Wisdom. At the core of this type of knowledge is developing the humilty and modesty to realize that there is much more to life than appears on the surface and by becoming attuned with the beauty of the natural world through kindness, appreciation and respect for all life forms our own lives become richer.
A book on Sacred Plant Wisdom of the Native American People
Plant Wisdom: Discovering Phytochemicals
How to communicate with plants
Speaking the language of plants: Communicating with your garden
The Secret Life of Plant-1st in a 7 part series