The Medicine of Pine

Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor

 

 

My kindergarten school picture is the first evidence of a lifelong love affair with trees, and pine in particular. My dad had planted a little grove of white pines (Pinus strobus, Pinaceae) in our backyard. I spent my afternoons playing in their whorled branches, unwittingly collecting resin in my locks while leaning my head against their sturdy trunks. My mom cut out the sticky parts, resulting in a hairstyle that could only be rivaled by the likes of Pippi Longstocking.

There are over one hundred species of pine worldwide, and most have recorded medicinal uses. Cultures around the globe have used the needles, inner bark, and resin for similar ailments.1,2,3 Internally, pine is a traditional remedy for coughs, colds, allergies, and urinary tract and sinus infections. Topically, pine is used to address skin infections and to lessen joint inflammation in arthritic conditions.4 Native people across the continent—including the Cherokee, Chippewa, Iroquois, Apache, Hopi and countless other groups—have used over twenty species of pine in a similar medicinal fashion.1

Along with its myriad medicinal applications, pine is a source of lumber, food, essential oil production, and incense. There are a few species of pine in North America and a handful of species in Eurasia that yield the familiar edible pine nuts. Pine is essential commercially for its lumber and pulp, which is used to make paper and related products.

Many species of pine are considered cornerstone species, playing a central role in their ecological community. See my article on longleaf pine here. Finally, many species are planted ornamentally for their evergreen foliage and winter beauty.

Read complete article at: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ The Medicine of Pine

 

LEGAL ALERT: FDA sends warns 15 companies for allegedly selling CBD products that violate the FD&C Act (FDA)

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

FDA sent warning letters to 15 companies for allegedly selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD) in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). In a press release, the FDA stated that based on the lack of scientific information supporting the safety of CBD in food, it cannot conclude that CBD is generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Previously, the FDA had primarily maintained that CBD was prohibited in conventional food products because substantial clinical investigations were initiated and made public on a drug containing CBD. FDA continues to explore potential pathways for various types of CBD products to be lawfully marketed and plans to provide an update on its progress in the coming weeks.
FDA highlighted specific concerns in the warning letters, including:
  • Products intended to treat a disease or otherwise have a therapeutic or medical use, and any product (other than food) that is intended to…

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How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Immune Health

Good Witches Homestead

Each year as winter approaches, I reliably find my patients asking me about the best herbal remedies to use during the cold weather months. One of the most common questions I encounter is, “What nutritional preparations can I use to help keep my family strong and healthy throughout the sniffle season?”. There’s a wide array of herbs well-suited to addressing specific and general winter wellness goals, but one of my favorite, tried-and-true choices for general immune support is the elderberry.

And while there are lots of ways to enjoy the healthful benefits of elderberries, one of the best-loved is that longtime herbal apothecary staple, elderberry syrup.

Elderberry Syrup Benefits

The berries, flowers, and bark of the elder (Sambucus) plant have long been prized by herbalists across the globe, and modern studies have also substantiated the berries’ ability to help maintain normal, healthy functioning of our immune system*. This makes elderberry an…

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For the home herbalist, the easiest and safest way to use the plant is by making a poultice of the seeds.

RICHO CECH

On the walk home from school, there on the corner of Hutchinson and River, stood a stately tree with heavy arms holding aloft a rounded crown of green, an English Horse Chestnut tree that made in mid-spring a fantastic display of upright, conical flower clusters and in fall, dropped spiny balls that split apart to reveal the shiny, mahogany-colored seeds we called buckeyes.  Ginny was wearing shorts, and as the more athletic of us two, was elected to climb up and see if she could shake down some seed balls, which didn’t tend to fall on their own until after frost.  Her tennies gripped the light bark of the tree as she scrabbled, ignoring the scratches to her knobby knees.

“Ginny knows how to shimmy!” I called out. “Quit trying to make a rhyme and give me a leg up,” she winced, reaching for the lowest branch.  I stood below and held both of my palms up for her to step on, and thus assisted she swung herself onto the limb. She called down, “I’m getting the willies!” “Just shake,” I exhorted, and she did.  Several of the treasured orbs came bouncing down onto the grass. I started to pry one apart, soon to be interrupted by a gasping call, “Help!” I looked up to find Ginny hanging from the branch, her arms stretched as straight as clothespins.  Some kids called her “Skinny Ginny” but I never did, because I was her friend.  She didn’t want to drop — it was too far.  So I stood and extended my palms as before, to give her a boost down.  Just then she slipped off the limb and came crashing down on me, and we both ended up flat in the grass, unhurt and laughing.  The nuts jumped out of the husk when we whacked them on the sidewalk.  I put one in my pocket, but kept my hand there, massaging the soothing surface with my thumb.  Buckeyes were good luck, everybody knew that.  These treasures sometimes accompanied me to school, but eventually ended up rolling loudly in the bottom of my socks drawer, or bouncing in the laundry.  My mom didn’t mind. Little did I then know how conspicuously this tree would serve me later in life.

Read complete article at:  Richo’s Blog ~ The Lucky Buckeye

DIY Decongestant Rub

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Use this DIY decongestant rub to drive away persistent coughs.

I’m not going to lie, I actually love the smell of Vicks vapor rub, but in the aim of having a DIY home, I had to give this a go myself and it really does work. The other beauty here is that when you put Vicks under your nose, it kind of burns; this does not! It’s also great for headaches – just put a little on your temples and where the pain is on your forehead.

Yield: makes 150g

Ingredients

  • 150g coconut oil
  • 4 sprigs each of oregano, sage, thyme, and basil, ripped into pieces
  • 15 drops of thyme essential oil
  • 15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • 15 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops of lemon essential oil

Instructions

Gently heat the coconut oil and all of the herbs in a double boiler until the oil begins to…

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How to Boost Your Immune System with Herbs

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

The coming cold and flu season is only one of the hundreds of reasons that immune function should always be at the top of your list of health priorities. The immune system doesn’t just keep sniffles away—it also is the body’s best defense against potentially deadly diseases, such as H1N1 flu, and well-known killers, such as cancer. Your daily habits, including the foods you eat and your exercise and sleep routines, have a significant effect on your immune function. And even if your lifestyle choices are exemplary, environmental toxins, emotional stress, and the wear and tear of aging all conspire to weaken immunity.

How to Protect Your Immune System

The most complex system of the body, the immune system includes the thymus gland, the spleen, bone marrow and a vast network of lymph nodes that are scattered throughout the body. The immune system also maintains a variety of white blood…

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Sage the Savior by Susun S Weed

Good Witches Homestead

Does the odor of sage evoke warmth, cheer, and holiday feasts for you? Sage has long been used to add savor, magic, and medicine to winter meals. Culinary sage is available at any grocery store, and sage is one of the easiest of all herbs to grow — whether in a pot, on a windowsill, or in the garden. So, grab some sage, inhale deeply, and let me tell you more about this old friend.

Sage is Salvia, which means “savior.” As a member of the mint family, it has many of the healing properties of its sisters. Of special note are the high levels of calcium and other bone-building minerals in all mints, including sage, and the exceptionally generous amounts of antioxidant vitamins they offer us. 

Everywhere sage grows — from Japan to China, India, Russia, Europe, and the Americas — people have valued it highly and used…

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Valerian Root Benefits: How to Use Nature’s Wonder Root

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

When Hippocrates had a headache, it’s possible he enjoyed a nice steaming cup of valerian root tea. The ancient Greek physician was one of the first to describe the therapeutic benefits of valerian root.

Since the early days in Greece and Rome, people sought the benefits of valerian for everything from head discomfort to heart health, nervousness, feminine issues, and the blues. Valerian brings some unique mythological history as well. People once used it to keep away troublesome elves — stay away Dobby! — and folklore experts believe it helped the Pied Piper lure rats away from town.

What Is Valerian?

Garden valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is also known as garden heliotrope, Tagar (in Ayurvedic medicine), cut-finger, and all-heal — funny names for a potent plant! The species originally grew in Asia and Europe, but it now grows throughout North America, as well. Its scientific name derives from the Latin…

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Astragalus; Adaptogen Herb for Stress and Balance

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are herbs that help us adapt to changes and stress caused by physical, biological, emotional, and environmental factors. They can assist in restoring balance within the body and help us defend against both chronic and acute stressors.

One of my favorite adaptogens is astragalus.

Astragalus (Astragalus Membranaceus)

Astragalus is an adaptogenic herb often used in Chinese medicine. It is calming to the Central Nervous System (CNS) and has antimicrobial properties. Astragalus helps support respiratory functions making it useful in times of infection and useful for allergies and asthma. This herb thought to boost the immune system, increase energy, and address fatigue associated with chemotherapy and chronic illness.

Due to it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties, along with its immune-boosting capabilities it may be useful in preventing and decreasing the severity of common colds and respiratory infections. Astragalus may also be used with herbs such…

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Warm, Spicy Aroma of Cinnamon

Good Witches Homestead

The warm, spicy aroma of cinnamon wafting from baked goods and hot apple cider is one of the first and welcome signs of autumn. An ancient and beloved spice, we have long valued cinnamon to enliven cuisine, create exotic perfumes, and as a staple spice rack remedy.

Though many species of cinnamon exist, the most common is Cassia {cinnamomum cassia}, known also as Chinese cinnamon, and Ceylon {Cinnamomum zylanicum}, which is a related species of tropical evergreen trees in the Lauraceae family native to East and Southeast Asia. While Cassia is most familiar to the United States, its cousin Ceylon is considered “true” cinnamon and more popular in Europe and Mexico.

cinnamon two types

First appearing in Traditional Chinese Medical texts over 4,000 years ago, cinnamon was used to boost the immune system and unblock yang qi. The Egyptians prized it as food, perfume, and incense while Ayurvedic…

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