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How to Harvest Pine Resin and Create a Pine Salve

There is something about the aroma of a pine tree that reminds me of the holidays. This conifer brings a fresh aroma into our homes when we harvest from this warming tree. Over the holidays my sister-in-law and I foraged on my family's southeast Iowa farm land in search for wounded pine. I was looking for pine resin to make a seasonal pine salve. My intension for the pine salve was originally to be made into a chest salve but it turned into an all purpose healing salve when all said and done.

There are many uses for pine in our homes and for our health. People harvest from this tree in winter to decorate their homes, provide a nourishing tea (high in vitamin C), create seasonal cocktails, garnish foods and make herbal remedies.

It was a cold day as we set out onto out hike, but we were happy for our "girl time" to talk and catch up with life. Before headed outside we always brew warm herbal tea that we keep at "the lodge" (During my 47 day lock-down COVID stay in 2020 I blended so many teas.).

Other items I like to pack for this type of foraging is a plastic bag and knife.

We set out to the woods to find the 50+ year old pine trees my grandpa planted on the edge of one of the fields. There are probably 25 trees and a lot of honey suckle and down limbs in this area which made it hard to maneuver around and see all sides of the trees. We looked up and down for any markings from wounds on the trees. We did finally fine 1 tree that was easy for us to get to that had a gouge in the side where it was wounded. I don't know how long ago the injury happened but the tree produces sap/resin to heal itself.

We headed closer to the farm house and wondered around the scotch pines that started overtaking part of a field. We discovered these trees had so many injuries and the pine resin was pouring out of these old wounds. TIP: always harvest in winter time because the pine resin is easy to harvest when its hard, the warmer it gets the stickier it gets!

Always remember to never take too much from the tree because it is a self healing mechanism of the tree. A good foraging rule of thumb is to take less than 1/3 and leave more than 2/3 for the plant. We took only a small amount per tree and that will be enough for a while!

I made an all purpose healing pine salve with the resin. The healing salve can be used on minor cuts, scrapes, bruises and minor burns. I also infused pine needles in carrier oil to add to the salve for extra healing benefits. The recipe is below. If you want this to be a chest salve to help open the sinuses and penetrate through the skin on the chest then add other essential oils like peppermint, camphor, eucalyptus and lavender.

All Purpose Healing Salve

1.30 oz pine resin

3.25 oz pine needle oil (infusion)

1 oz beeswax

Mix all and melt in a double broiler, once melted add essential oils. Then pour into containers and label.

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