Balsam is a medicinal and ornamental plant. Among its main health benefits are to improve digestion, fight pain and help control diabetes.
For those who do not know what balsam is, its scientific name is Sedum dendroideum and it is a plant from the Crassulaceae family , which are small plants full of water in their leaves and that have a fleshy and shiny appearance. Most of its benefits are precisely in these leaves, because with them, it is possible to produce tea, oil and natural juice.
5 balm benefits
1- Good for the digestive system
The balm is, above all, a gastroprotective plant. Translating to a simpler and clearer language, it means that it has nutrients and substances capable of protecting the esophagus, intestines and especially the stomach .
Two studies carried out at the Federal University of Paraná proved that the consumption of this plant is associated with a reduction in ulcers. Scientific research has pointed out that this pharmacological action does not affect mucus and levels of antioxidant protein (glutathione) in the stomach. Everything is mainly due to the polysaccharides present in the plant’s composition. In addition, it strengthens the stomach’s defenses, protecting against this and other diseases. ( 1 , 2 ) This benefit is proven by another Brazilian study. ( 3 )
2- It is anti-inflammatory
The leaves of this plant are rich in anti-inflammatory properties . This is what a Brazilian research on the natural and medicinal composition of balsam points out. Again, it is a benefit derived from the polysaccharides present in the plant. They boost the immune system and act against inflammation in the body. ( 4 )
3- Helps to control diabetes
The balm is also anti-diabetic. This effect was confirmed through a study carried out by the Laboratory of Enzymology and Control of Metabolism (LabECoM) of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. According to scientific production, this action happens because of the flavonoids found in the plant’s leaves. ( 5 )
Flavonoids are chemical compounds that can be found in fruits, vegetables and recipes that are derived from natural products such as teas, dry wines and dark chocolates. According to the Brazilian Association of Nutrology, they are associated with combating and controlling diabetes. ( 6 )
4- It is an antioxidant
One more of the powers that Sedum dendroideum, or balm, has in its leaves is its antioxidant action. This means that it helps fight free radicals, malignant substances that hinder the healthy life cycle of cells and increase the risk of serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension . ( 2 , 3 )
In addition to the diseases already mentioned, the consumption of foods with antioxidant action helps to prevent and fight problems such as premature aging, Parkinsonism, Alzheimer’s, degenerative and autoimmune diseases in general.
5- Relieves pain caused by body stimuli
A peculiar role of this herb is its antinociceptive effect. Simply put, this means that the balm has an analgesic effect, but in a different way from medicines and foods that have the same benefit. ( 7 , 8 )
According to a Brazilian study, antinociception is described as “reduction in the ability to perceive pain, being an important component for the body when it is involved in emergency situations” (such as strong blows or deep cuts). The study also points out that this has to do with how neurotransmitters and their receptors are involved in various forms of analgesia. ( 9 )
In summary, it can be said that the balm helps to “deceive” the body in relation to pain. The term “balm” can also be found in the Bible and dictionaries as a synonym for “relief” or “comfort”. This has to do with its antinociceptive capacity.
Recipe: How to prepare balsam tea
Balsam leaf tea is one of the most traditional ways of using this plant for medicinal benefits. Its preparation, however, is quite simple. Follow the instructions below and you will have the best and healthiest medicinal tea from this plant:
- First, wash the leaves thoroughly and make sure they are properly sanitized. Wash under running water.
- In a saucepan, add 1 cup of filtered water and bring to a boil.
- When it comes to a boil, add 3 to 4 balsam leaves.
- Leave on for approximately 5 minutes.
- Then turn off the heat and cover for more than 5 minutes.
- Finally, remove the leaves and discard them. Drink without sweetening.
Importantly, this tea should not be sweetened. By doing this, the drink loses several benefits, such as antidiabetic and antioxidant action. Choose to take it in its natural form. At first it can be strange, as our palate is used to very sweet things, but soon you get used to it and start to feel the true natural flavor of the tea.
Also, this tea must be consumed up to 2 times a day. A single cup in the morning is ideal for obtaining medicinal properties, inclusive. It is ideal that you tell your doctor when you want to start drinking this tea. Then he can recommend the best way to use it for your benefit.
Other ways to use this plant
In addition to tea, there are other ways to get the balm’s benefits. Whether through ingestion or application to the skin, the benefits can be gained in many ways. Check out:
- Topical use : the sanitized leaves of the plant can be crushed and applied to the skin, in regions where there is pain. It is a way to get the analgesic effect .
- Balsam Essential Oil : The oil made from the balsam leaves can be found in health food stores. It is mainly for use on the skin, during massage for analgesic purposes.
- Balsam juice: the juice is made using only the leaves of the plant and water. The measure is 1 cup and a half of water for every 10 balm leaves. Beat in a blender and drink on an empty stomach every morning. You will get the benefits mentioned in this article.
- Salad with balsam leaves : The leaves can also be consumed in daily food. They have almost no flavor, which doesn’t compromise the taste of the food. You can add the salad.
This means that having a vase with balm in your garden, porch or backyard will add more to your home than you might think. In addition to being a succulent plant, easy to grow and beautiful, the small leaves can be a difference in your health and that of your family.
Care and contraindications
During the production of this article, no contraindications were found regarding the use of the balm. The only general care that we recommend is in relation to cleaning the leaves of the plant before using and taking care with excessive intake of the recipes mentioned. Anything in excess is bad, even if it is a plant rich in medicinal properties such as balm.