Pine (Pinus spp.)
Other common names: Balsam fir, white pine, Pinus sylvestrus, and others (various species).
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For a list of medicinal pine species, click here to see an entry by Botanical.com.
Antimicrobial, astringent, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, diuretic, laxative, rubefacient, irritating diuretic, vermifuge, antifungal, expectorant, circulatory stimulant, cholagogue, analgesic.
Sap is best harvested in fall/winter (you can take it when it runs along the bark, tapping is not necessary), needles may be taken any time of year (best taken on a dry spring morning) and the pine nuts can be harvested in fall in the tree’s second year or later.
Part used: Needles, sap, seeds of some species (pine nuts), bark extract of some species (pycnogenol)
Vitamin C, Vitamin A, phytohormones, tannins, quercetin, limonene, terpenes, borneol, bornyl acetate, a and b-phallandrene, a and b-pinene, 3-carene, and others, depending on species.
Used to treat infections, rheumatism, bronchitis, oral irritations, burns, cuts, skin conditions, cough, cold and flu symptoms, hormone balance, exhaustion, kidney/urinary tract infections, abscesses, eczema, removing foreign bodies, cleansing the kidneys, and killing parasites. It has been considered a cancer preventative and treatment by some (consult with a doctor before using if you are undergoing treatments).
Pine needle tea has been used throughout history for a variety of complaints, and the sap has been chewed to kill bacteria and encourage oral health.
The sap can be applied to the skin to remove foreign objects. It can also be made into an infused oil which can be used as an ingredient in salves, massage oils, bath products and other applications. It can be used in steam inhalations for chest complaints. It can kill air-borne bacteria and viruses.
*NOTE: Some pine oil manufactured commercially is not safe for medicinal use. Pine oil that has been steam distilled at a high concentration should be used with caution, as it can have mild toxicity and irritate mucous membranes. Use in moderation.
Those with sensitive respiratory tracts or severely compromised lungs should use caution when using. Do not use if pregnant or nursing, and do not take internally if you have obstructed bile ducts, or kidney or gallstones. Be careful when using the essential oil of pine, as it can cause toxic reactions and irritation. Consult with a doctor if you are taking pharmaceuticals.
I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.
Pine has strong bonds with energy workers, and is reputed to protect healers. Fae folk live in pine trees and there are other beings as well who guard them, so pay respect to the nature spirits when harvesting from this plant. Pine trees around a home are a blessing and grant prosperity and safety. They are also affiliated with numerous gods and goddesses in the Roman and Greek pantheons. Pine trees are also used in transfer rituals – designed for transferring medical complaints into the plant.
Traditionally, white pine was once combined with morphine to make a compound syrup. Also the pineal gland was named after this plant, as the pine nuts resemble this gland.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.