I‘ve found that Pine, an oft used winter herb to prevent cough & flu and respiratory conditions, is also an excellent herb for springtime. For more on pine check out Susun Weed’s article below. Years ago I went up to visit her for an herb walk & she introduced me to the healing wonders of weeds. I refer to her book, Healing Wise, often.
Though I’ve encountered pine over the years i first really noticed it a few months ago when we started to study it in my herb training class at Third Root Community Center. Almost 6 weeks ago we tore up white pine needles & peeled the bark from branches that the rangers had pruned. Their scent was refreshing & uplifting, & their resin stuck to my fingers. In a few days the vinegar will be ready & I can’t wait!
Since then pine has been showing up at every turn. When I went to a women retreat in the woods I found pine branches strewn over the ground just outside the front door. I picked it up & immediately recognized my new healing ally. I gathered as much as I could fit in my already stuffed suitcase & brought it back by bus & subway home to Brooklyn. My herb teacher, Jacoby Ballard, suggested I make a honey with this batch. I continued studying & searching around on the internet and realized I could just infuse the needles for a tea.
I find that herbs show up when you need them. Right away the uses for pine appeared. A client complained of respiratory concerns, grief & a disconnect from nature. I combined pine with mullein & lavender & made him a tea & prepared him a pine bath. I was asked to an abundance intention circle & used the pine to clear grief, & to invite peace & abundance in. Then my husband got a severe respiratory infection & I gave him baths & teas. Within a few days he was well. This weekend we went on an herb walk in Prospect Park & I filled my bag with my friend pine.I now have new pine remedies to wait for; a big jar of vinegar, a honey, & a sap tincture.
Here’s a few pics of my remedy making
Go out and find pine in the park or woods. Make a pine tea, sit & set your spring intention. Take a few minutes to breath its scent in. On the inhale invite it attract abundance into your life & on the exhale to clear & detox anything from your circulatory system that keeps you from being abundant. ( i.e. grief, anger, resentment, fear). Boil it with lavender & use it in a bath or floor wash to clear your home & draw abundance in all its forms…money, love, family, joy, pleasure.
Kiana Love~Founder of Be Wild Woman
Kiana helps women to reclaim their body’s wild wisdom & love feeling sexy
Susun Weed’s Herbal Ally Series – Pine Keeps You Fine
© Susun S. Weed
If you live in any of the temperate regions of the world, whether at sea level or high in the mountains, some pine tree is likely to be growing very near you. If you live in the desert, you may have to get to the mountains before you find a pine. But wherever you live, north or south, east or west, so long as it isn’t the tropics, you will find pine trees. And since they are evergreen, you can find them easily right now, in the deep of winter, when deciduous trees are bare of leaves. So the next time you take a walk or go for a drive, be on the look out for pines.
Why? Because pines are useful – for things as diverse as medicine, food, caulking boat seams, winter decorations, and pine-needle basketry – and because pines have many stories to tell. The people of the Great Peaceful Nations (Iroquois Confederacy) still honor the “Great Pine of Peace”, where they buried their weapons. I sometime refer to the “Pine of the Great Mistake”, for there might not be white people living in North America except for the gift of the Native Peoples, who told the Europeans they needed to eat pine needles during the winter to ward off disease.
That’s because pine needles are rich in vitamin C. Hundreds of years ago many people died of lack of vitamin C, not directly, but indirectly, from opportune infections that thrived because their immune system lacked critical vitamins. Pine needles still provide vitamin C to help us stay healthy in the cold season. They can be chewed, brewed into a tea, or, my favorite, prepared as a vinegar.
I preserve all the vitamins found in fresh pine needles by soaking them in apple cider vinegar for six weeks. I fill a wide-mouthed jar with pine needles and pour room-temperature, pasteurized apple cider vinegar over them until they are completely covered. A plastic (or non-metal) lid and a label with the name of the plant and the date completes the preparation. I call this tasty vinegar “home-made balsamic vinegar” and you will be surprised at how much it tastes like the store bought stuff – “Only better,” say many, with a smile.
Soft pines, like my favorite medicinal pine, Eastern white pine (Pinus strobes) have less harsh “pitch” than hard pines such as Monterey (P. radiate) or Ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa). They make internal medicines that are mild-tasting yet fast-acting. When I visit out west, I use another soft pine – pinon pine (Pinus edulis) – to make a tasty, health-promoting pine needle vinegar.
Don’t worry if you don’t know a soft pine from a hard pine, or even what kind of pines grow around you. Pines are safe so experiment with them. If you choose a pine with too much pitch, your preparations will taste like turpentine or a strong cleaning product! It will be obvious to you not to use it – or to use it in tiny doses.
Did you ever see “Pine Brother’s” cough drops? They’re still sold, although they no longer contain the pine that gives them their name. Pine sap, like many resins, is strongly antibacterial. Pine sap medicines slightly irritate the lungs, increase the effectiveness of coughs, kill bacterial infections, halt coughing, and improve breathing.
You may have said nasty things about pine sap if you ever got it on your clothes, for it leaves a hard-to-remove black stain. But tinctures, honeys, and salves of pine sap/pitch are uniquely effective medicines.
Pine resin is a component of propolis, a mixture of tree saps collected by bees.
Tincture of pine sap (or propolis) is easy to make and a useful ally to have on hand to counter winter miseries such as colds, coughs, and bronchitis. For this remedy you will need 198 proof alcohol, sometimes called grain alcohol, or Everclear. This high proof alcohol contains no water, and pine sap “fears” water (“hydrophobic” is the technical term). Vodka, the alcohol I prefer to use to make tinctures, contains quite a bit of water – 80 proof vodka is sixty percent water; 100 proof vodka is fifty percent water – so the pine sap will not dissolve in it.
Collect pine sap from wounds in the trees, or scrape it off pine cones. Barely cover the sap with 198 proof alcohol in a tightly-lidded jar. Label with the name and date. Your remedy will be ready to use in six to eight weeks – in 5-10 drops doses.
Pine sap honey is made by cooking the two ingredients together until they merge, then cooling the goo in individual globs on waxed paper.
Direct applications of pine sap or liberal use of a pine sap salve is a renowned healer of all sorts of wounds. The bark from pine saplings can be used in place of a cast to stabilize broken bones, and as a binding in place of stitches to help grave wounds mend.
Even the pollen of pines is medicinal. Stephen Buhner, herbalist and speaker for the earth, reports that pine pollen is exceedingly high in testosterone. Ingestion of the pollen itself, or the tincture of the pollen in dropperful doses, seems to gradually increase libido in those susceptible to its action.
Find a pine nearby. Inhale that special pine scent. Let you heart and spirit be invigorated and uplifted with the gifts of the pine. Let the green blessings of the Earth nourish you deeply.
Vibrant, passionate, and involved, Susun Weed has garnered an international reputation for her groundbreaking lectures, teachings, and writings on health and nutrition. She challenges conventional medical approaches with humor, insight, and her vast encyclopedic knowledge of herbal medicine. Unabashedly pro-woman, her animated and enthusiastic lectures are engaging and often profoundly provocative.
Susun is one of America’s best-known authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women’s health. Her four best-selling books are recommended by expert herbalists and well-known physicians and are used and cherished by millions of women around the world. Learn more at www.susunweed.com.