Mountain pine resin
Smell and taste: resinous and like turpentine.
Blooming period: May, and the time of seed maturation in October of the second year.
Habitat: Scots pine is very widespread throughout Europe, and grows in lowland and hilly areas all the way to high mountain areas.
Therapeutic parts of the plant and therapeutic effect: it is the same as in spruce (No. 103), except that the therapeutic properties of individual plant parts are somewhat stronger. Pines have long been considered medicinal plants. Pines from the Himalayas were already known 5 000 years ago for their healing properties in folk medicine of the Far East. In China, pine was called “sōng”, as is today, and pine needles were used as incense in the rooms where someone died. According to the old Chinese understanding, the fine smell of pine resin attracts the spirit of the deceased to his house, so he stays and dwells among the surviving relatives. Many medicinal ointments have been prepared from pine resin mixed with herbs. The tea for blood cleansing used to be prepared by lightly cooking small green cones, and a thousand-year-old interpretation full of poetry was applied here as well: “Blood must smell (i.e. it must be clean) in order to awaken the spirit”.
Therapeutic and active substances: as with all conifers, essential oil is the most valuable therapeutic substance, which can be obtained in the most abundant quantities from the Scots pine, and especially from the mountain pine. Pine oil contains phellandrene, cadinene, and pinene. The existence of significant amounts of vitamin C have been proven in needles, and the amount of vitamin C is highly dependent on the type of pine, its habitat, age, the season when the needles are collected, and the degree of needle chopping. Needles picked in the spring (April) have a very high percentage of vitamin C; needles chopped just before making tea have up to 60 percent of it, while the finely chopped ones have up to 80 percent more vitamins than the whole needles.
Pine needles, like all conifer needles, should preferably be used immediately upon harvesting, because most of vitamin C is lost during the drying process, and the needles, stored for more than a year, are completely worthless.
Folk medicine recipe: young shoots of pine should be picked in the early spring. They are used to prepare an infusion in the ratio of 1 part needles to 10 parts water, and it is used either as a tea sweetened with honey for the chronic catarrh of the respiratory tract, hoarseness, cough, mild bronchitis, or for inhalation (as an inhalant).
The so-called forest syrup recipe: 2 kg of fresh pine shoots are boiled with 9 liters of water, and left covered for 2 days. The mass obtained is then filtered through a cloth and squeezed. The liquid is then lightly boiled with the addition of 1 kg of sugar and 0.5 kg of honey and, while still warm, filled into glass jars (not bottles) which are then tightly closed with double parchment paper or cellophane. Care should be taken to collect young shoots only in sunny weather. The real extract of pine needles is used for rubbing the areas on the skin affected with lichen, and the extract is left to dry on the skin. Only on the second day should the glaze-like layer be rinsed. Patients with rheumatism and gout should undergo the following treatment for a few days in the spring: Collect 30 g of fresh pine shoots daily and steam with 1 liter of hot milk. Let it stand for 1 hour, then strain and sip the whole quantity during the day. For cramps caused by gallstones, take 5 g of freshly collected pine resin, dissolve it in 20 g of ether, and consume 5 to 10 drops on a sugar cube once a day.
Note: Other species of pine such as
1) Pinus nigra Arnold — Black pine
2) Pinus austriaca Höss — (Synonyms: Pinus laricio Poir. var. austriaca Host — Pinus nigricans Host) — pine, deaf pine, black pine — are applied in the same way as the Scots pine.
3) PINUS MONTANA MILL. — Mountain pine
Synonyms: Pinus mughus Scop. — Pinus pumilio Haen. — Pinus uncinata Ram.
Common names: juniper pine — dwarf pine — mountain pine — mugo pine — creeping pine — scrub mountain pine — bog pine — Swiss mountain pine.
Description: mountain pine grows in a wide European subalpine zone, mostly in the upper forest belt. This pine rarely has the shape of a tree. It usually grows irregularly branched and leaning to the substrate.
Mountain pine oil and its properties are especially effective as an inhalation agent in all inflammatory conditions of the respiratory tract as well as in lung diseases. If a small child suffers from rickets and has difficulty walking, baths of mountain pine needles should be prepared daily for 2-3 months, in which the child should bathe for about 15 minutes.
Bath preparation: 4-5 handfuls of sliced dry needles are placed in 5 liters of hot but not boiling water, so this infusion of needles is left on a hot stove for about half an hour. The infusion should not be cooked, but should be kept as hot as possible. It should then be filtered and poured into the bath.
This bath is also useful for adults who have weakened after a long illness. Persons prone to gout or rheumatism should especially use these baths often. When preparing a bath for adults, the amount of needles should be doubled as more bathing water is needed.
In patients suffering from catarrh of the lungs or bronchi, the essence of black pine should be sprayed to improve and disinfect the room air as it helps the expectoration and facilitates breathing.
The oil of black pine and its varieties (Oleum Pini Pumilionis) are best purchased in pharmacies only.
PINUS CEMBRA L.
Common names: Swiss pine — Arolla pine — (Austrian) stone pine — mountain pine.
The parts of this pine used in folk medicine against lung diseases are the so-called pinoli (pine nuts), that is, very fatty and nutritious seeds found in pine cones, which are delicious and good to eat. Four parts of pinoli are finely chopped, mixed with 3 parts of burdock root (No. 19) and steamed with boiling goat milk. It is taken during the day in 1 to 2 meals.