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Disclaimer: The information on curenaturally.org is intended to improve your knowledge about herbs and their benefits. Articles on this website are not intended to replace medical treatment from your doctor. Always consult your doctor before starting a new treatment regimen.

Page Update 12/04/2019

Health Benefits Of Pine Tree

By Dr.Girgis N.D.

 Originally published on 11/29/2015 

What is referred to as the “Christmas tree” is an evergreen conifer called the Pine tree. The Pine is in the genus Pinus family Pinaceae; there are 125 -170 species of Pine trees around the world. Various Conifers are used for decorating during the holiday season. The most commonly used are eastern hemlock, Scotch pine, spruce, and Douglas fir.

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One of the beauties of Christmas for me—besides its excitement and spiritual value—has always been entering homes and smelling the aroma of the Christmas tree. It smells so heavenly! Although many people cut down a tree during this time (or resort to using an artificial tree), not many know why there is a tradition of using a Christmas tree, nor are they aware of its health benefits. For those of us who prefer a real tree as oppose to a fake one, I have good news for you. A study done by the University of Quebec in Canada, concluded that in order for an artificial Christmas tree to equal the environmental impact of real trees, it would have to be used for 20 years. The scientists’ conclusion was based on greenhouse gas emissions and human health impact, in addition to the resources used. So next time anyone wants to make you feel guilty about using a real tree, make sure they know the facts.




          Many Christmas traditions can be easily traced back through history. For example, various festive foods—apple, watermelon, nuts, and greens—have been part of the winter solstice celebration done by the Zoroastrians (Persians) for millennia. Ancient Romans also celebrated the solstice with a winter holiday feast, and utilized orchard crops ad greens in their celebration. When Romans became Christians, they kept the date of their celebrations, as well as many of their original winter holidays and customs.

However, the exact time that the Pine tree was incorporated into Christmas celebrations is not clear. In this article, various reasons are given for the presence of the pine tree in the homes of millions of Christians across the globe during this time of year. It seems that Germans began bringing Pine trees into their homes and decorating them in the 15th century. In the 18th century, this tradition was brought to Britain when Queen Victoria was married to a German prince. To learn more about the history of the Christmas tree, you can visit : http://www.history.com/topics/ christmas/history-of- christmas-trees


What about its health benefits?

 

As mentioned above, there are 125-170 different types of Pine trees, and some can be poisonous. So before using any pine for health purposes, make sure you consult an expert.

In 1535, a French explorer named Jaques Cartier's ship landed in the St. Laurence river. His men were dying from what is currently known as scurvy. A Native American offered him a white pine tree tea, and that seemed to have saved him and his men due to its rich vitamin C content. In addition, American Indians used twigs in the form of tea for kidney ailments, rheumatism, colds, coughs, and sweat reduction. Cherokee Natives used the resin for ailments of the chest such as sore throat, coughs and urinary tract infections. Its bark was used to tan leather and stop bleeding.


Pine needles are full of anti-oxidant properties due to their rich Vitamin C and flavonoid contents, in addition to high levels of vitamin A and various carotenoids in both pine needles and pine bark. 

            A 2005 study published in the Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture indicated that pine’s anti-inflammatory properties may help prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins. In another study published in the 2014 Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry, anti-oxidant activity that occurred when pine needles were fed to rats with high cholesterol helped to prevent cell death. Pine needles are also anti-bacterial; they are believed to help relieve bronchitis. Also, massaging pine oil in painful muscle areas helps to relieve pain. Pine needle powder is also considered to have good nutritional value.


 

In addition, a study published in the January 2007 Journal of Health showed that walking in the forest amongst trees remarkably improves depression, anxiety, and stress levels. This method is referred in Japan as Shinrin-yoku (walking and/or staying in forests in order to promote health). The study was done using 489 volunteers. The pine tree, with its aroma, has the amazing ability to reduce stress levels. According to the study, shinrin-yoku may help to decrease the risk of psychosocial stress-related diseases. Shinrin-Yoku is now suggested as a stress reduction technique that can be used in both chronic and acute stress.

 


American Indians used the Eastern Hemlock (tsuga canadensis) for colds, coughs, fever, diarrhea, and scurvy (it has a high vitamin C content). It is also was used in rheumatism and to stop bleeding. Native Americans also often used white pines as a poultice for headaches, backaches, inflammations, broken bones, bruises, and to draw out boils. They used it as tea for lung and kidney ailments. They also chewed on pine resin like chewing gum. The resin has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Resin has also been used by Natives to extract splinters. The splinter falls out on its own a couple of days after the resin is applied to the skin.

When making tea with pine needles, it is important to wash them. Almost all types of pines have similar affects, so it does not matter what type of pine needles are used. Make sure to cut the needles into smaller pieces in order to release their contents into the tea more quickly. Steep it in the hot boiling water and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. Drink several times a day.

Warning: some pines are considered TOXIC! For example, all parts of the Eastern Red Cedar, Yew (Taxus), Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa -- also known as Western Yellow Pine), Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla), Bull Pine,and Blackjack Pine are considered toxic. This information is just meant to raise awareness about the beauty and medicinal powers in God-given trees and shrubs. Consult an herbalist as well as your doctor before using any herbs.

Thanks for visiting curenaturally.org.

Ashraf Girgis,ND

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References:


1.       https://www.nytimes.com/2010/ 12/18/business/energy- environment/18tree.html
2.       http://climatechange.medill. northwestern.edu/2016/11/29/ artificial-trees-might-be- needed-to-offset-carbon- dioxide-emissions/

 

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