Pine trees are one of the oldest species on the planet, dating back over 150 million years. Just looking at the year-round green foliage of pine trees can elicit feelings of tranquility and comfort, especially if you live in a climate where these trees are the only source of greenery for half of the year.
Likewise, pine trees embody exuberant energy even when days are long and dark, coinciding with the idea that pine cones (which resemble the human pineal gland) symbolize enlightenment and immortality, according to some ancient cultures.
Modern Pine Uses
Nowadays, pine is favored because it grows fast, making it an excellent natural resource for building materials and as a property barrier. But if you’re not a fan of pine for any of the already mentioned reasons, you’ll surely jump the pine fence when I tell you how great it can be for your health.
You can use nearly every part of a pine tree in some way. Pine trees produce different therapeutic components at different times of the year. I will unravel some of the medicinal mysteries surrounding pine and then show you how to put them together to make a potent anti-viral and health-giving tincture.
To evaluate pine’s health benefits, you must break it down into different parts; each part has a lot to unpack. And each component is distinctive and similar simultaneously. But, for this formula, we will use pine needles for time’s sake. You can, however, add other parts of the pine tree to your tincture. I will cover those briefly in the next section.
Pine Needle Health Benefits
Pine needle benefits are extensive and right up there with medicinal mushrooms and other glorified superfoods. They have up to five times the amount of Vitamin C as an orange and contain enormous amounts of Vitamin A and other potent antioxidants. In addition, the natural terpenes in pine needles lend to their antibacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory capabilities. These features alone also make this evergreen herb excellent for treating viruses, but honestly… that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Pine needles are also high in a natural Suramin called Shikimic Acid. Shikimic has anti-platelet-aggregative properties, which can help reduce blood platelet aggregation. In short, this can help prevent respiratory complications during infection. It’s also a potent antiviral and has shown to be competitive with certain influenza medications like Tamiflu. Likewise, pine needle tincture is effective against colds and coughs and can even help loosen chest congestion.
Shikimic and other valuable phytochemicals in pine needles like Eugenol, Linalool, and Terpineol can help bind to and inhibit spike proteins present in some RNA and DNA viruses through a known process as molecular docking. Pine needles also contain many beneficial constituents like quercetin and chlorophyll, commonly used by herbalists to help blood circulation and even treat anemia.
Other Medicinal Components of Pine
Pine Cones Uses: You can use the young green pine cones and more mature pine cones to make a pine cone tincture, but the more immature cones hold more medicinal value. They should be harvested directly off the tree in late spring to early summer once nutrition levels have reached their max. Pine cones contain therapeutic substances, like polyphenols, tannins, phytoncides, essential vitamins, and iodine. Research in pine cone extract suggests they can inhibit the growth of HIV, influenza, herpes simplex, and tumors while boosting immunity and normalizing neurological responses.
Pine Bark Benefits: The inner bark of the pine tree possesses oligomeric proanthocyanidin compounds (OPCs.) OPCs are known for their rich antioxidant content and have been shown to have antiviral, antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging effects.
Pine Pollen Uses: Pine pollen has assertive anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which help slow aging and diminish inflammatory-related conditions. But perhaps it’s best known for its ability to help regulate hormones in both men and women. It’s also great for workout recovery and for helping relieve depression symptoms.
You can use alcohol, vinegar, or vegetable glycerin to make your homemade pine tincture. Vinegar tinctures last for about a year and, well… taste like vinegar. It would be best if you used raw organic apple cider vinegar. Vinegar tinctures are made the same way as alcohol tinctures.
However, glycerin tinctures absorb slowly and are safe for children. Those who don’t want to use alcohol or vinegar can also opt for glycerin. Glycerin tinctures last about 2-3 years. To use glycerin, follow the same steps as the alcohol tincture, except you have to fill your jar one-third of the way full of scalding hot water. Then fill the jar the rest of the way with organic vegetable glycerin and continue to the next step.
Alcohol tinctures last 1-3 years.
Anti-Viral Pine Needle Extract
You will need:
- A mason jar
- Clear alcohol like Vodka or Grain Alcohol (at least 80-proof) OR other solvents
- Enough dried pine needles to fill the jar (and other parts if desired)
- A ring, rubber band or plastic lid
Step 1. Gather your pine needles and place them in your mason jar.
Step 2. Crush the pine needles a bit with something blunt. The point is to break the needles up so they can release their oils. Plus, it makes them easier to cover with solvent.
Step 3. Cover the needles with your solvent, giving them about an inch of extra liquid. You will need to watch your liquid levels over the next six to eight weeks and add more if necessary.
Step 4. Cover the jar with a cheese cloth and screw the ring on “finger tight.” I didn’t use a metal flat top as it might get rusty. To avoid this, you can use a plastic screw on lid instead.
Step 5. Place the jar in a cool dark place for six to eight weeks. Give it a little shake every day.
Step 6. Pour the liquid through the cheesecloth into a storage container.
Step 7. Add it to a dropper bottle if you want.
How to use this remedy
Put 6-12 drops under the tongue, 1-3 times daily, hold 30 seconds, then swallow. Alternatively, you can add the tincture to water or tea.
Warnings and Cautions
Women should avoid pine during pregnancy.
A few pines are inedible or toxic, especially “non-true” pines (landscape evergreens).
Some pines to avoid are: Lodgepole pine, Monterey pine, and Norfolk Island pine. The leaves are not toxic, but their rich chemicals can cause uterine contractions that may result in miscarriage. You must be extremely careful not to harvest yew (Taxus spp., Taxaceae), a conifer with poisonous needles.
Make sure that you know your pines well before consuming. A good rule of thumb is to stick with White Pine, common Spruces, Red Wood, Fir Pines, and Scotch Pine.
The Bottom Line
This pine tincture is a must-have in your “herbal medicine cabinet.” There are so many wonderful benefits to be had. I highly recommend educating yourself on the health benefits of pine over and above this article, as it genuinely has some remarkable healing capabilities that I can’t convey in such a short amount of time. Moreover, it’s abundant worldwide. Happy healing!
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