Pine tree needles, sap potent medicine

By Sari Huhtala

Nature lovers and hikers will appreciate the fact that forests are flourishing with medicine year-round; medicine that can help with conditions like pneumonia, not to mention a natural antibacterial ointment, much like the pharmaceutical Polysporin ®. This natural ointment is easy to find and requires practically no effort to apply.

Pine pitch, the resin that oozes from pine trees and can be found on pinecones and the trunk of the tree, is potent antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory medicine. For infections caused by foreign objects in the skin, like slivers, it works like a charm. I tried it on what I assumed to be a sliver, which showed signs of infection in the crease between my thumb and forefinger, and within no time it had cleared up. I had the same healing experience with a scrape on my finger that was inflamed.

I simply picked up a pinecone and pulled a bit of the sticky pitch off of it, and placed it on the infection. Then I ignored it for the rest of the day. By the end of the day there was no sign of infection and no inflamed skin. It took a bit of effort to completely remove the resin off my skin, but it was well worth it. Store a couple of extra pine cones with the sap on them, bagged, in a medicine cabinet for use during the winter months.

The pitch is known to act as an astringent to draw out slivers.

The pitch and pine needles are also said to be effective for eczema, boils, cuts and abrasions and acne due to their antimicrobial activity. Use the pine needles in a facial steam or toss in bath water.

The pine tree has long been revered as nature’s medicine. Need a quick vitamin C boost, or an energy boost? Drink some pine needle tea, or make tea with the pitch. Like other herbal remedy teas, use pine needle tea in moderation. It is also recommended to avoid it during pregnancy. Simply steep a handful of needles in a tea pot with boiled water, then enjoy.

When inhaled as a steam, pine needles, which have a similar property as camphor, act as an expectorant, helping to clear respiratory airways and lung congestion. Due to its antiseptic qualities, pine needle tea can help with conditions like croup, pneumonia, tuberculosis and whooping cough, according to The Boreal Herbal.

(This information is not intended to replace medical treatment. Please seek the advice of a trained medical professional when treating illness or disease.)

Sari Huhtala is the creator, publisher and editor of Alive and Fit Magazine. She has over 25 years experience in journalism, and is a mother of 3 adult children. She has spent over 20 years navigating a healthy path for her family, one health hack at a time, as a single mom feeding her kids healthy on a shoestring budget. She has over 15 years experience as a certified fitness specialist and personal trainer and over 10 years as a reiki practitioner. She has also studied shamanism, and offers wildcrafting foraging workshops.

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