Per Florida's State Park webpage, the state of Florida once encompassed a vast 27 million acres of virgin forest, but today that number has been drastically reduced. Florida has depended on the business of forestry since the early 1800s. As people settled in the state, they began to discover the wealth of natural resources available to them.
Many of the towns of northern Florida were built around sawmill operations. The major exports of the first railroads to be built in the state consisted of logs, lumber, cross ties and other products of the forest. The invention of circular sawmills began an era of lumbering that lasted nearly a century.
Towering slash and longleaf pines, spreading live oaks and massive cypress trees were all harvested over the following centuries to make everything from furniture to ships. In the early 1900s the turpentine industry took off, as millers discovered that resin tapped from slash and longleaf pine trees in Florida could be used like those in Europe to make pitch to caulk ships, as well as uses in other products such as paint, medicines and cosmetics. The naval industry depended on this industry until the 1920s when lumber again became more profitable than resin.
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.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. 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.
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.
Medicinal Use of Pines
Pine Needles: The fresh needles and buds, picked in the springtime, are called “pine tops.” These are boiled in water, and the tea is consumed for fevers, coughs, and colds. The needles are also diuretic, helping to increase urination.
Pine Bark: The inner bark contains more resin and is more astringent than the needles. It has been used historically as an antimicrobial wash or poultice and infused in bathwater for muscle aches and pains. It’s also boiled in water and ingested as a remedy for coughs and colds.
Pine Resin: The resin, also called pitch, has many local first-aid uses—it’s used as an antimicrobial dressing on wounds and to pull out splinters. Pine pitch, prepared as a salve, can be used to draw out splinters, glass, and the toxins left from poisonous insect bites. Pine resin salve is helpful to lessen muscle aches and joint inflammation.
Pine Needle Salve is a fantastic addition to your herbal kit. It contains antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties making it highly effective in treating eczema, psoriasis, acne, rashes and other skin irritations.
The oil relieves swelling and redness and boosts the immune system giving it the ability to fight off skin infections and promote healing. Just massage into the affected area.
Pine needle tincture is made from the needles of pine trees. It’s a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which means it can help the body fight free radicals and prevent cell damage. Pine needle tincture has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In TCM, pine needle tincture is used to improve digestion, reduce inflammation and manage pain.
The famous Greek father of medicine – Hippocrates used pine needle teas way back in 400BC for bacterial infection and to support immune function. In ancient Egypt, people would add pine needles to their cooking to kill food bacteria. In Turkish folk medicine, Pinus species have been used to treat rheumatic pain and for wound healing.
The simple addition of a pine needle tincture into your daily routine can help aid the body in cleansing many free radicals and other bacteria that can build up and produce disease.
In modern medicine, pine needle tincture is sometimes used as an astringent to help heal wounds and skin infections. It may also be used as an expectorant to help thin mucus in the lungs. Finally, pine needle essential oil has been found to kill thirteen species of airborne bacteria.
Before using any herbs, check for appropriate dosage, drug interactions, and contraindications. Information contained herein is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prescribe. Please consult your primary care physician regarding your specific health concerns.