Friday, June 29th, 2012

Today we’re highlighting the pitchand how it can be used medicinally. Here’s the how~to for making a medicinal oil of Pine.

Pine pitch is a sticky and slow moving substance that oozes out of the pine tree when its bark is wounded. The tree produces this sap to ward off any infections or insects when it’s inner bark is exposed to the open air. Interestingly, it does the same thing for our own bodies, being an antiseptic to protect us from infection. It is a perfect example of the wisdom and connectivity of the natural world and of the fundamental concept, the doctrine of signatures.

This doctrine teaches that when we look at the presentation and the function of a certain plant, fungus, animal or other member of an ecosystem, we can see what kind of medicine they bring to that area. I believe, that this concept can be applied to our own bodies as well, since we are also a member of that ecosystem! Now that we are aware of the doctrine of signatures, we can look at the antiseptic function of pine pitch and the health of the pine tree, and conclude that this medicine will have a similar affect on our own bodies. There are quite a few different usable parts of the pine tree; including the inner bark, the needles, the pitch/sap, the pollen, and the nuts. Today I am focusing on the pitch, and the most obvious thing to note about pine pitch is that it is extremely sticky and gets stuck onto whatever you place it in and will also stick to fingers, clothes, hair and tools. So it makes sense that medicinally, pitch can be used to pull out that aggravating deep-rooted splinter that’s been bugging you after a day of foraging in the forest.

Medicine from the Wild…

To make this medicine, I went around and collected a large amount of pine sap, and put it in a jar as I went.

After I gathered a good amount, I returned home and filled up a 1 liter Mason jar halfway with my sap , and then covered it all with organic olive oil until the jar was full to the brim. I then placed the jar on a windowsill that gets long exposure to the sun everyday for about 2 weeks. Another option would be to place it near a wood-burning stove or other source of consistent heat.

Make sure you shake it everyday to get everything nice and infused!

After 2 weeks, strain out the pitch with cheesecloth and collect the forest-infused oil! You can then go on to make a salve or blend it with other oil mixtures!


In the Poppy Swap marketplace, you can find a number of pine products hand~crafted for you by our swappers. Today we are going to feature White Pine Salve from Gaia’s Garden Herbals and Love My Breasts massage oil from Indigo Botanicals! Click on the links to read more about these products and the herbalist behind the pine!

Gaia’s Garden White Pine Salve

Indigo Botanicals Love My Breasts Massage Oil


06/29/12 | Category: Green Dirt, Poppy Swap, Recipes and Ramblings

One Response to Wild Pine Pitch Oil: Tree Medicine with A Purpose

  1. Susan Marynowski says:

    Just a little more about pine resins! Pine pitch is properly referred to as “resin” or “oleoresin” (or sometimes “colophony”). It is NOT the same thing as sap. The sap system of the tree is what feeds the upper leaves and branches of the tree (it is a water-based sugar solution and only runs in the layer of the tree directly under the bark). The resin system of pine trees, on the other hand, is a completely separate system of channels throughout the wood of the tree that produce the defensive resin. Pine resins were historically distilled into components: turpentine (the essential oil of the pine wood, also called terebinthe) and rosin (the less volatile portions of the resin that dry into a hard cake). Pine tar is yet another derivative that is created by heating pine wood in a closed kiln (a process called pyrolysis) to create a dark, viscous form of the resins useful for many purposes. Substances derived or created from pine resins are used in a multitude of ways and were the go-to choice for the basis of many medicines, chemicals, and fragrances before the petroleum industry took over.

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