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Harness The Healing Power of your Christmas Tree! - 4 Ways to Use Pine

4 ways to use pine

Now that Christmas is over, the day rapidly approaches when millions of people will haul that tree to the curb for trash. True, a few will send it for composting. But there are other uses for that tree! Here is our list of 4 great ways to use pine and get just a little more from your annual holiday decor!  Pine, especially pine needles, is a multipurpose herb with many uses for both your health and your home, and you probably have it sitting in your living room right now!

What’s So Great About a Pine Tree?

Nearly all pine species have been used for medicinal purposes since the Middle Ages. White pine tends to get all the glory, but the other pines and most conifers also have medicinal qualities. 

Generally speaking, pine is anti-bacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anxiolytic. Plus, it’s packed with vitamin C. Below is a breakdown of the medicinal properties of some of the most common Christmas tree varieties. 

Pine Trees

White Pine, Scotch Pine, Ponderosa Pine

Anti-bacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic.  Internally, pine is traditionally used as a remedy for coughs, colds, allergies, and urinary tract and sinus infections. Topically, it can be used to treat skin infections and to lessen joint inflammation in arthritic conditions.

Spruce Trees

Blue Spruce, White Spruce, Norway Spruce

Analgesic, antimicrobial (bacteria and fungal), antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and astringent. It is helpful\ for reducing fevers, treating bladder infections, and healing wounds and sores. 

Fir Trees

Douglas Fir, Balsam Fir, Fraser Fir, Nobel Fir

With anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antioxidant, antimicrobial (bacterial, viral, and fungal), expectorant, and sedative properties, it is helpful in treating colds, asthma, headaches, and inflammatory conditions.  

Cypress Trees

Leyland Cypress, Arizona Cypress

Anti-inflammatory, astringent, and hemostatic. Useful for issues with the circulatory system, bleeding, and inflammation of the veins. High in tannins and anti-bacterial. 

With so many medicinal properties in the conifer family, it’s easy to see why walking in an evergreen forest can open your lungs, free your breath, and set your mind at ease. It’s important to note that not all conifers are considered pines. While many conifer needles have valuable properties similar to that of pine, there are some, such as the yew tree, that are toxic. Most true pines are safe to use internally, but Ponderosa Pine should be avoided during pregnancy.

5 Ways to Use Pine

Now that we’ve covered the plethora of medicinal qualities for the most common Christmas tree varieties let’s get down to how we can use them beyond decor! It’s likely that your Christmas tree has dried out during its holiday stay, making it perfect for each of these projects. Simply collect your pine needles, give them a good rinse, and allow them to dry for an additional 24 hours before you begin any of these projects.  

#1 - DIY Pine Cleaner

Store-bought “Pine Sol” contains a chemical called Toulene that has been linked to birth defects, hormonal imbalances, pregnancy complications, and even certain types of cancer.  Avoid the yuck, and use your Christmas tree to make a safer, all-natural alternative.

To make a DIY pine cleaner, simply fill a mason jar with your pine needles, add a few pieces of lemon peel if you like, and top with white vinegar.  Give your jar a shake and place it in a sunny window for 7 to 10 days, shaking every day or two. After the maceration period, strain the solids from the jar and rebottle the liquid.

You can dilute this cleaner 50/50 with distilled water, if you need additional antibacterial power, add 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol or vodka then fill the rest of the way up with water. Use it as a chemical-free, anti-bacterial cleaner on nearly every surface in your home! 

#2 Pine Needle Cough Syrup

If your family tends to get coughs and colds, Pine needle cough syrup is a great thing to keep on hand! Pine needles are anti-bacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic, and they are also a natural decongestant and expectorant. 

To make a pine needle cough syrup, all you need is pine needles, water, and raw honey! Find the complete tutorial for this simple home remedy over on Grow Forage Cook Ferment

#3 Pine Needle Tea

The needles of each variety of Pine, Fir, Cyprus, or Spruce are high in vitamin C, so high, in fact, that they were used to keep scurvy away in the past. 

One of the best ways to use pine needles is to make a refreshing pine needle tea. To make a lovely herbal tea, simply pour boiling water over the gently crushed needles, steep in a covered cup or bowl for 15 minutes, and enjoy. Note: when brewing medicinal teas, you should always do so in a covered container to avoid loss of nutrients in the escaping steam. 

#4 Pine Needle Salve

Pine needles have strong analgesic, antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, making them perfect for use in medicinal salves. You can find a simple-to-follow Pine Needle Salve tutorial on the Laura Taylor Blog.

The Christmas Gift That Keeps on Giving! 

If you’ve never thought about using your Christmas tree beyond aesthetics, we hope we’ve changed your mind and encouraged you to use your tree's bounty and medicinal properties to your full advantage. The humble pine has so much to offer, from home cleaning to home health!  The health benefits alone make saving some of those pine needles worthwhile, but there are so many other reasons to go along with that. Who knew that such a common tree could have so many uses? If you plan to get more from your Christmas tree than just decor, tell us all about it in the comments below. From our homestead to yours, we wish you a happy holiday season, and until we see you next year, 

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4 Ways to Use Pine

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