Forums HomeGrown Herbalist Student Forum Medicinal Herbs Pine Needles (tree leaves)

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    • #22493
      DebBee
      Student

        It seems so weird to think I can go outside and pick the pine needles off the tree and make tea. Any pine will do? White pine? Red pine? Do I have to dry them? Cut them up? Smoosh them? And I hear in an emergency you can eat the bark, but that sounds pretty awful.

        Does the same apply to other trees like gingko or red maple?

        "I Collect Smiles!" DebBee 🐝

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      • #22543
        Dr. Patrick Jones
        Homestead Instructor

          Yup. Many trees are amazing medicinals. As herbalists, we have a tendency to look down at all the medicinal plants but we need to remember to look up because most tress are quite good too.

          I’m writing a book about medicinal trees right now. There are also a number of trees in the Individual Plants lessons. There is a video there on pine.

          Red and White pine have had most of the research but folks have used most species over the years. Don’t use them during pregnancy or lactation.

          Also, be aware that any needles or branches you remove from a tree will never grow back. So pick them off a spot that won’t be ugly later. I usually just remove a branch and then pick the needles off of it. That’s better than having a permanently bald tree.

          Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

          Total of 20 users thanked author for this post. Here are last 10 listed.
          • #22930
            Lynda Steinke
            Student

              When are you expecting the tree book to be available? When I order your other 2 books would be nice to add this one to the order. To make the best of shipping to Canada as it is far more than the price of one book!

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            • #23410
              Lacey Cook
              Student

                so I have ponderosa pine where I live, is this a safe pine to use?

                • #24117
                  Teri Anderson
                  Student

                    Ponderosa and yew are toxic.  Don’t use!

                    • #24388
                      Lacey Cook
                      Student

                        why is the ponderosa pine toxic? almost all the pine trees in this part of the state are ponderosa

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                        • #24403
                          Sandra Powell
                          Student

                            The only references on Ponderosa pine being toxic that I can find are about a diterpene called isocupressic acid found in Ponderosa and some other conifers. It is toxic to some livestock and can cause cattle to abort their calves. I found nothing about humans. I have often chewed on the needles while hiking and never had any ill effects (that I know of!) I’ll keep looking.

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                            • #24465
                              Lacey Cook
                              Student

                                That is what I was thinking too. I couldn’t find anything about humans use

                                 

                      • #24390
                        Lacey Cook
                        Student

                          So I am confused on why the Ponderosa pine is toxic? Almost all the pine trees where I live are Ponderosa. If I can’t use this that is so sad! I was excited to try this

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                        • #28338
                          Rebecca Mayes
                          Student

                            I am amazed at all the plants around me that have so much nutritive and medicinal values.  I had always considered myself to more knowledgeable than average, but I am realizing there is so much to learn.

                            • #28910
                              Dr. Patrick Jones
                              Homestead Instructor

                                I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

                                Isaac Newton

                                 

                                Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

                          • #22827
                            Brenda Traill
                            Student

                              Really looking forward to your medicinal tree book!

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                            • #22829
                              Sharon
                              Student

                                Doc, I know that pines and spruces are very beneficial, and likely BEST in the spring – but for a tincture, are they any good now since now is when the cold and flu season is most likely to happen.  Obviously I’ll wait if now is just a really bad time to make any…  Also, are there any noticeable differences in the pines and spruces?  Also anxious for your tree book!

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                                • #23465
                                  Dr. Patrick Jones
                                  Homestead Instructor

                                    Spring is great but if I needed pine January, I’d be out picking it. Most of the research has been done on pine but Native Americans used spruce too.

                                    Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

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                                • #22864

                                  Yup. Many trees are amazing medicinals. As herbalists, we have a tendency to look down at all the medicinal plants but we need to remember to look up because most tress are quite good too.

                                  I’m writing a book about medicinal trees right now. There are also a number of trees in the Individual Plants lessons. There is a video there on pine.

                                  Red and White pine have had most of the research but folks have used most species over the years. Don’t use them during pregnancy or lactation.

                                  Also, be aware that any needles or branches you remove from a tree will never grow back. So pick them off a spot that won’t be ugly later. I usually just remove a branch and then pick the needles off of it. That’s better than having a permanently bald tree.

                                  Ponderosa pine… I *think* that’s what we have in my area. My Mama has one over 2 stories high that was once our Christmas tree. Will that one work be ause I saw something about ponderosa being high in some toxin?

                                • #22918
                                  Mark Carrel
                                  Student

                                    Great, looking forward to the medicinal tree book.  I did not realize the the needles would not grow back after being picked.  I have a ‘big’ pine tree in my yard that looks tastier by the moment.  A limb (or several) off of it would not be noticeable.  I’ll try that.

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                                    • #24082
                                      Dianne Taylor
                                      Student

                                        I loved this, “we have a tendency to look down at all the medicinal plants but we need to remember to look up because most tress are quite good too.” I think one of the biggest takeaways I’ve learned from my studies is that ALL parts of a plant can be useful.  Who knew????  Ok, you did.  Thanks for teaching us!!! 😀

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                                    • #23259
                                      Sharon
                                      Student

                                        I know that pines and spruces are very beneficial, and likely BEST in the spring – but for a tincture, are they any good now since now is when the cold and flu season is most likely to happen.  Obviously I’ll wait if now is just a really bad time to make any…  Also, are there any noticeable differences in the pines and spruces?  Also anxious for your tree book!

                                        1 user thanked author for this post.
                                      • #23324
                                        Hannah Bison
                                        Student

                                          How closely related are pine and fir? My property is loaded with doug fir, there’s not many pine trees in my area.

                                          I am looking forward to your medicinal tree book as well.

                                          • #23467
                                            Dr. Patrick Jones
                                            Homestead Instructor

                                              Douglas fir was used historically for respiratory things and for arthritis. I haven’t used it and their isn’t much research.

                                              Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

                                          • #23329
                                            Gwen Wilson
                                            Student

                                              Looking forward to your new tree book as well.  The more I learn, the more I want to learn. Thanks

                                            • #23486
                                              Sharon
                                              Student

                                                What about Pinyon Pines (slowest growing pine in the world I think!).  I’ve been told it has the most “mellow” taste of all the conifers and you remember how my stupid taste buds are!

                                              • #23550
                                                Laura Scott
                                                Student

                                                  Is it OK to post a recipe for Pine Needle Tea?  I have one!

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                                                  • #23639
                                                    Dr. Patrick Jones
                                                    Homestead Instructor

                                                      Absolutely. :0)

                                                      Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

                                                  • #23652
                                                    Sharon
                                                    Student

                                                      Are Pinyon Pines as good as the other pines (or spruce) and is there a noticeable taste difference?

                                                    • #23716
                                                      Laura Scott
                                                      Student

                                                        Pine Needle Tea  (I would like to credit this recipe but honestly cannot remember where I found it)

                                                        3 TBS chopped fresh pine needles (new growth preferred; I used White Pine); 2 tsp cardamom pods crushed; 1.5 tsp grated ginger; 2 cinnamon sticks – or 1, I prefer 1 – 2 star Anise pods; 1 tsp whole allspice; 6 cups water; honey/cream

                                                        Add everything to H2O in a pan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer at least 20 minutes. Strain. Add honey and/or cream to taste.

                                                        Kind of like a ‘piney’ chai!

                                                         

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                                                        • #23739
                                                          Lacey Cook
                                                          Student

                                                            excited to try this!!

                                                          • #23884
                                                            Dr. Patrick Jones
                                                            Homestead Instructor

                                                              looks tasty. :0)

                                                              Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

                                                          • #23889
                                                            Dr. Patrick Jones
                                                            Homestead Instructor

                                                              Pinyon and all of its other pine cousins in the Pinus genus (as well as spruce and fir) have been used historically for respiratory applications and other effects. I’ve only ever tasted red pine and white pine. Both of those incidentally, are the ones with most of the research.

                                                              Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

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                                                            • #24299
                                                              Sandra Powell
                                                              Student

                                                                Pinyon needles don’t have a strong taste and make a nice tea. I like to add Brigham Tea also, especially when the juniper are pollenating (yellow dust on EVERYTHING).  And the pinyon nuts are incredible in oatmeal, cookies, bread, and stuffing!

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                                                              • #24307
                                                                KingdomKeeper
                                                                Student

                                                                  Getting ready to do a basic plant class for a group of kids in our co-op.  We are going to start with pine so I really appreciate this thread.  Though we don’t have a whole lot of pine in our area here in Washington state.  We have lots and lots of fir trees, but even more cedar.

                                                                  • #25834
                                                                    Dr. Patrick Jones
                                                                    Homestead Instructor

                                                                      Cedar is medicinal but not related to pine (it’s Juniper’s cousin) so has very different properties.

                                                                      Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

                                                                  • #24416
                                                                    Cindy Roberts
                                                                    Student

                                                                      When are you expecting the tree book to be available? When I order your other 2 books would be nice to add this one to the order. To make the best of shipping to Canada as it is far more than the price of one book!

                                                                      I have really found that rubbing pine needle tincture on my knees is helping the arthritis in my knees as is taking Dr. Jone’s Chaga tincture!

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                                                                    • #25495
                                                                      Sharon
                                                                      Student

                                                                        So is it ONLY the needles, or the piece of a branch and/or the little baby pinecone at the end of the branch.  Just harvested some today, and really anxious to get going, but don’t know what to include/exclude.  And I think I remember Doc saying that vodka will work fine.  Thanks in advance!

                                                                      • #25506
                                                                        Sharon
                                                                        Student

                                                                          Hubby and I think that the little things that look like a baby pinecone on the end of the tip are actually FUTURE needles – so in theory, they should be good medicine, right!?

                                                                        • #25690
                                                                          Michelle Koch
                                                                          Student

                                                                            The things that look like “baby pine cones” are literally called “pine tips” and are wonderful.  Use them like you would regular pine needles, or you can make syrup with them.  You can also make a wonderful fermented syrup out of green pine cones!  (Look up “mugolio”) Traditionally made with cones from the mugo pine, the same method can be used with cones from any pine, and has many medicinal and culinary qualities.  I have ambitious plans to make a batch as soon as I possibly can!

                                                                            • #25832
                                                                              JC Stevenson
                                                                              Student

                                                                                ..

                                                                              • #25836
                                                                                Dr. Patrick Jones
                                                                                Homestead Instructor

                                                                                  Yup, that’s right. If they’re pine tips. They’ll be needles someday. If they’re pollen cones (the boy parts) they’re also medicinal …but completely different uses) and if they’re pine cones (girl parts) they’re not what you want.

                                                                                  Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

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                                                                                  • #39538
                                                                                    Sharon
                                                                                    Student

                                                                                      Doc, you mentioned the pollen cones have different medicinal properties, but would you mind elaborating on what the difference medicinally between the needles and the pollen cones?  I was planning on using them together both for tea as well as tincture, but if they have different properties, should I just use them separately?  Thanks in advance.

                                                                                      • #39555
                                                                                        Dr. Patrick Jones
                                                                                        Homestead Instructor

                                                                                          Here ya go:

                                                                                          Pine (Pinus spp.)

                                                                                          Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

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                                                                                          • #39589
                                                                                            Sharon
                                                                                            Student

                                                                                              So another couple of questions on pine parts.

                                                                                              1. Since we are senior citizens now and the “benefits” from the pollen cone that you mentioned in the video is not of importance here – would we be better off to just tincture the pollen cones with the needles and use it more or less as a nutritional tonic daily for general health?  For both of us, our blood sugar levels are well in the normal range, so that seems like a good thing here.
                                                                                              2. But since it has androgenic properties, is it ok for us ladies to use internally on a regular basis?
                                                                                              3. Also, since the resin is mentioned as being medicinal, but also used to make turpentine – would it be beneficial (since I already have some) to use pure gum turpentine made by locals in GA with trees on their property as part of the tincturing process?
                                                                                              4. Is a pine tincture the most “bang for the buck” medicinally over other things like tea, powdered needles, fresh needles in a smoothie, etc?
                                                                                              5. This one might be kind of a lame question, but is there a “better way” to harvest the needles from the tree so it DOESN’T end up with ugly places later?  There must be a good technique for it…

                                                                                              Thanks in advance for your time and answers!

                                                                                              • #39613
                                                                                                Dr. Patrick Jones
                                                                                                Homestead Instructor

                                                                                                  Mine in Bold

                                                                                                  1. Since we are senior citizens now and the “benefits” from the pollen cone that you mentioned in the video is not of importance here – would we be better off to just tincture the pollen cones with the needles and use it more or less as a nutritional tonic daily for general health?  For both of us, our blood sugar levels are well in the normal range, so that seems like a good thing here.

                                                                                                  I’d just use the pollen as a daily tonic and save the needles as needed for illness.

                                                                                                  1. But since it has androgenic properties, is it ok for us ladies to use internally on a regular basis?

                                                                                                  The dose for nutritional tonic is markedly less than the dose for androgenic effects.

                                                                                                  1. Also, since the resin is mentioned as being medicinal, but also used to make turpentine – would it be beneficial (since I already have some) to use pure gum turpentine made by locals in GA with trees on their property as part of the tincturing process?

                                                                                                  I wouldn’t.

                                                                                                  1. Is a pine tincture the most “bang for the buck” medicinally over other things like tea, powdered needles, fresh needles in a smoothie, etc?

                                                                                                  Doesn’t matter how you get it into your body. 

                                                                                                  1. This one might be kind of a lame question, but is there a “better way” to harvest the needles from the tree so it DOESN’T end up with ugly places later?  There must be a good technique for it…

                                                                                                  Lop off branches you don’t like and take the needles. That’s how I do it.

                                                                                                  Pine Lesson

                                                                                                  Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

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                                                                                                  • #39638
                                                                                                    Sharon
                                                                                                    Student

                                                                                                      Thanks so much for a speedy reply!  We were out harvesting our state tree (blue spruce) today, and got lots of the pollen cones on the tips, so I’ll tincture them separately.  I assume that both of the tinctures should be in 60% alcohol since the parts are all fresh (though I’ve heard of others using 40% – but for a much longer time in the alcohol).  So is there a lot of the vitamin and mineral content in the pollen cone tincture compared to the needle tincture?  I love the idea of enhancing our vitamins thru the winter!  Curious though (not questioning your advice at all), when I see mention of spruce tips, most of the time it’s mentioned as a tonic – perhaps you could educate me on where these folks are going wrong with using it as a tonic?  And Never, Ever, be offended when I question something please – I am by nature a VERY, very inquisitive person – with no end in sight even at my advanced age!  I know that much information on the internet is just flat out wrong, so that’s why I try to filter everything I read or hear on the web with your actual, factual presentation of the herbs.  I love your real life experiences and  your teaching style for all the wonderful herbs and plants we have been given for our benefit.  Thank you for such a wonderful course and for making yourself available to answer the questions from your students – something many “teachers” won’t do!  I know I likely don’t have enough years left to learn as much as I want to, but your course is making a sizable contribution to my knowledge bank – thanks again!

                                                                                        • #25786
                                                                                          Dee.MW
                                                                                          Student

                                                                                            We love the pine/spruce tips.  I’ve used spruce tips to make ice cream.  It tasted incredibly similar to mint chocolate chip, but I got to call it Tips and Chips ; )

                                                                                            Also great for tea or flavor syrup.

                                                                                          • #25838
                                                                                            Dr. Patrick Jones
                                                                                            Homestead Instructor

                                                                                              Ponderosa pine needles are very similar to other pine needles. Its bad reputation as a toxic, dangerous plant comes from case studies of cattle eating it and aborting.

                                                                                              News Flash: Any pine needle will cause miscarriage and none of them should be used during pregnancy.

                                                                                              So, it’s really not fair that Pinus ponderosa is the only pine species people are wrinkling their noses at. This is a classic example of internet “cut and paste” herbalism where someone reads something and repeats it and it becomes dogma and doctrine in the trade even though it’s completely out of context.

                                                                                               

                                                                                              Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

                                                                                              • #26073
                                                                                                Lacey Cook
                                                                                                Student

                                                                                                  thanks Doc !!! I thought it sounded so off to say that Ponderosa was off limits!!

                                                                                              • #26158
                                                                                                Rae Cousineau
                                                                                                Student

                                                                                                  Glad to hear that about ponderosa pine. It is by far the most prolific in my area!

                                                                                                • #26862
                                                                                                  Dr. Patrick Jones
                                                                                                  Homestead Instructor

                                                                                                    Yew (Taxus spp.) is not a pine or related to pine. It’s deadly poison.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Don't use herbs or combine herbs with medications or use them during lactation or pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

                                                                                                  • #26958
                                                                                                    DebBee
                                                                                                    Student
                                                                                                    Topic Author

                                                                                                      Why do pine trees have such a hard time sewing?

                                                                                                      Because they always drop their needles.

                                                                                                      "I Collect Smiles!" DebBee 🐝

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                                                                                                    • #28236
                                                                                                      heavenlyherbs
                                                                                                      Student

                                                                                                        I recently read that women who are expecting should not use Ponderosa pine or lodgepole pine because they could cause a miscarriage. Although I do not know why. The good species of pine to use are supposed to be white fir, noble fir and balsam fir. I made a tea this last Christmas from our noble fir that was freshly cut. I liked it, first time making pine needle tea.

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        • #39652
                                                                                                          Sharon
                                                                                                          Student

                                                                                                            Doc stated back on Feb 9th:

                                                                                                            News Flash: Any pine needle will cause miscarriage and none of them should be used during pregnancy.

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