To me, Pine trees are totally Punkers.
Not only in appearance with their spiky hair and studded cones, but in the most important way as the band the Wrecks sang it so right “Punk is an Attitude” (Youtube video) and “Pine is an attitude” too.
There’s a special attitude and presence about Pine (Pinus spp.) trees in nature – they just stand out in a special way. There’s their quality as an evergreen, that wonderful scent, the strong essence of strength that permeates the areas they are in.
But sadly, just like Punk, their greatness has been co-opted into lack luster products. Pine scented everything; Pine cleaners with no actual Pine, etc. All of which hint at the truth of Pine – it is amazing cleanser. It can actually clean and disinfect with great ease as well as offer spiritual and energetic cleansing. But that’s just a part of it.
In the herbalist purvey is generally noted as an antibacterial, antioxidant, antiseptic, expectorant, demulcent and diuretic and is generally considered a warming agent. The needles and bark have special affinities for the respiratory system making for its frequent use for congestion, coughs, lung infections where it helps to clear mucus and fight infections – it pairs wonderfully with Eucalyptus for all of that. They have been used to ease tonsillitis and laryngitis. And they also work well helping to flush the bladder and kidneys.
I love using it for its skin related properties. The resin is the sap that seeps from wounds in the tree and is part of the tree’s defense against infections and is very antimicrobial and a strong disinfectant because of it. You can use it on skin wounds (chew it for gum disorders and tooth problems!) and its natural drawing action helps with cuts, splinters, boils, abscesses and insect bites. While the needles and bark can be used to make infused oil which is great for the skin – soothing, healing and greatly calming energetically. I also make a hair oil with pine, nettles and lavender – which is nothing short of amazing!
Pine needle baths are warming and a great thing to enjoy in winter just throw some in your bath water – or in satchels to put in the water if you don’t want to clean them up out of the tub. But not too close to bedtime or it might energize you too much. I find that Pine needle tea imbues you with a wonderful sense of serenity.
Pine also is filled with nutritious goodness. The needles are rich in vitamin A & C and plantation slaves used boil the needles with molasses as a vitamin and mineral tonic. Let’s not forget pine nuts which are chock full of minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Some Native American tribes frequently ate the bark and made teas from it and the needles for those reasons. The Adirondack Indians name comes from the word “tree eaters.”
In the spiritual realm Pine is a symbol of immortality and the branches often used to cleanse worship areas. The Iroquois use the bundle of five needles (White Pine) as a symbol of the Five Nations joined together and tell a story that I love:
“I, Dekandwi’d1, and the union lords now uproot the tallest pine tree and into the cavity thereby made we cast all weapons of war. Into the depths of the earth, down into the deep under-earth currents of water flowing to unknown regions we cast all the weapons of strife. We bury them from sight and we plant again the tree. Thus shall the Great Peace, Kayd”narh6′kS’wa, be established.” (Certain Iroquois Tree Myths and Symbols by Arthur C. Parker. American Anthropologist , New Series, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Oct. – Dec., 1912), pp. 608-620)
Pretty nifty huh? It cleansed the evils of war and violence.
Pine is wonderful. Spend time getting to know it and work with it and you’ll love it too.