Botanical Name: Pinus sylvestris
Pine bark, needles and the essential oil derived from the plants resins are used to clean houses, clear unwanted spirits, prevent cancer, help digestion and even as an herbal viagra. More research is being done to confirm the plant’s benefits and functions. Pines are cultivated for Christmas trees and their scent is calming and cleansing.
Below is an overview of Pine, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Pine.
Western Name: Pine
Also Known As: Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris), Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster), Scotch Fir
Organs/Systems: Lungs, Skin, Joints
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Resin used externally as Rubefacient and Vesicant. Pine oil is also a Diuretic, Irritant, Antispetic, Antioxidant.
Pin Yin: Song
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Lungs, Intestines
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Pine Nuts: Tonify Lung Yin: lubricate the lungs and intestines, stops cough, promotes bodily fluids, treats constipation. Pine bark: Heals Wounds: abscesses, relieves pain, treats arthritis, burns. Pine Pollen: Yin tonic: considered an excellent Yin tonic.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Resin, Bark, Pine Needles, Seeds, Pine Nuts, Pine Pollen
Flavors/Temps: Bitter, Aromatic, Cooling
Caution: Considered safe.
History/Folklore: Among the most important commercial trees. The crude resin of pine is almost entirely used for distillation of Oil of Turpentine, which is a good solvent for wax, fats, sulphur, and largely used to make varnishes used in oil painting. It is also used to make Rosin, used by violinists to rub their bows with, and to make soap.
Pine is also known as a spiritual cleanser and incense. The Iroquois used to burn it as an incense before moving into a vacant house to clean out unwanted spirits and negative energy. It is considered helpful in drawing steady money, clearing mental negativity.
It helps build confidence and stamina. Its scent is said to enhance a sense of freedom. Native Americans were also said to prevent scurvy by making a tea out of the twigs and bark. They used the oil to keep away fleas, ticks and other insects.
Pine bark extract made from the Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster) contains naturally occurring proanthocyanidins, which is the same name for a group of compounds called pycnogenols (also found in grape seeds) which are considered to be a powerful antioxidant.
Pine oil is used in many household products, cleansers, deodorants and soaps. The modern English name Pine derives from the Latin pinus, which is traced back to the Indo-European base “pit” meaning resin. Pines were also called fir trees which comes from the Old Norse “fyrre”. Today the name “Fir” is reserved for the Fir (Abies) and the Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga).
Pine resin is used for horses and cattle internally as a vermifuge and externally to help heal sprains and bruises. Pine bark extract is suggested as an herbal viagra and some claim it is even better at clearing free radicals than either Vitamin C or E. Some species have large seeds called pine nuts that are used for baking and cooking. The soft, moist, white inner bark found clinging to the outer bark is edible and very high in Vitamin A and C. It is eaten raw or ground into powder to be used to thicken soups and stews.
Pine is listed as one of the 38 substances used to prepare Bach Flower Remedies, an alternative medicine promoted for its effective health benefits.
The Chinese use pine pollen from the Pinus massoniana pine, a rare species found in China. It is said to be an overall Yin tonic.
Resin, Vitamin A and C. Nuts are a good source of Manganese.
Adirondack Indians got their name from the Mohawk Indian word “atirutaks” meaning “tree eaters,” because they used pine trees as a food and medicine.
The spiral growth of branches, needles and cone scales are arranged in Fibonacci number ratios, with the spring shoots sometimes called “candles” which foresters use as a means of evaluating fertility of the soil and the vigor of the trees.
Methuselah - 4,600 Years Old
One of the oldest living pines is the Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva), named “Methuselah.” He is estimated to be 4,600 years old. An even older tree, named “Prometheus”, dated at 4,900 years of age, but it was cut down.
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