All species of pine trees were once used as foods and medicines worldwide. This large conifer tree grows to 225 feet tall in the wild and lives as long as 600 years. It has dark yellow-green needles between 5 and 10 inches long that grow in bundles of three. The cones are oval and between 4 and 6 inches long. They grow upright, but turn upside down at maturity to release the seed. The bark is dark brown to black. In maturity, it turns yellowishbrown to reddish-orange and has irregularly furrowed, scaly plates.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
British Columbia, Western half of the US except for Kansas, and temperate regions of Europe
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral, diuretic, rubefacient, vermifuge, and treats bladder conditions, poor kidney function, respiratory conditions, wounds, acne, skin fungus
To make an infusion, pour 2 cups boiling water over a small handful of chopped fresh needles. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes, and then strain. For wounds, acne, and skin fungus, apply the sap directly to the affected area. For respiratory conditions, boil 2 teaspoons chopped fresh needles and 1 tablespoons sugar in 1/4 cup water until syrupy. Administer 2 teaspoons per day.
PINE VINEGAR Makes 2 cups
This vinegar is popular in Scandinavia, where it is used for flavoring and as a natural antibiotic and vermifuge. You will need a 16-ounce jar with lid for this recipe. Any type of pine needle may be used.
1 1/4 cups fresh pine needles 2 cups apple cider vinegar
• Pack a jar three-quarters full with fresh pine needles. Pour in apple cider vinegar to fill the jar.
• Tightly screw on the lid, and place on a windowsill to steep for six weeks.
• After six weeks, store in a cool, dark area.
Take a tablespoon per day. This may be used as a rinse or bath for skin conditions.