The medicinal and therapeutic benefits of Evergreens

PinePinus strobus, White Pine

Parts used:

Needles/ leaves, Bark, Cones/ seeds, Pollen

Pine needles re loaded with vitamins  A & C

The story of French explorer, Jacques Cartier (cir 1535), who explored the new world for France in the early 16th century was said to have been forced to winter over in the Great Lakes/ Saint Lawrence seaway when his ships were frozen in winter ice. His crew starving and dying of scurvy were about to be lost to a foot note in history when the indigenous peoples of the America’s came to his aid. the Native Americans showed him how to boil the leaves of the white pine tree to make a tea. this tea is loaded with vitamins  A & C.   This survival tea of pine needles saved their trip and their lives.

Pine needle tea:

Simple as boiling chopped pine needles in a pot/kettle of hot water.   It will taste slightly citrusy.   Sweeten to taste with honey. 

Pine bark:

The inner cambium layer of the bark is a rich source the important anti-oxidant, “Picnogynol’, the same substance that is in Grape Seed extract.  Tinctured White pine bark is a natural Rx for treating ADD/ ADHD. (with Omega 3 EFA).

Pine bark is also edible. In lean times, the inner layer of pine bark is scraped, dried and ground into flour to supplement wheat flour it can be and has been used as animal fodder in winter.

Pine Resin/ Sap:

Can be used as an waterproof adhesive and waterproofing / repairing seams on clothing or a tent.

Pine resin is highly anti-microbial. It may also be used as waterproof wound covering (small cuts, abrasions, blisters).

Pine Tar:

Pine tar has a long history of being a wood preservative (ships, boats), also as a coating on hemp and manila ropes used outdoors or at sea.

My blend of pine tar and Calendula oil is a very effective leather dressing.  I call it “Horn & Hoof”. I use this blend as a protective and anti-septic coating on the horns and hooves on my livestock (Goats).  It’s a very antiseptic preservative and softening agent on my goats hooves, especially after trimming.

To make Horn & Hoof, I blend infused Calendula oil with pine tar. It’s also wonderful as a leather dressing / waterproofing for my boots or leather sheaths for knives and gun holsters.

Rod with his helper Sam_blog

Rod with his helper and taster, Sam

Juniper:  Common, Juniper, Dwarf Juniper, Ground Juniper

Used in small doses in a medicinal tea, Juniper is an effective diuretic, which speeds filtration of the kidneys. It also reduces and prevents kidney stones. Word of caution here in that too high a dose of juniper can cause over stimulation of the kidneys and cause some inflammation (nephritis).

Juniper as tea or tincture helps to lower blood pressure. Used for these purposes, Juniper is best used when tinctured/ extracted with grain alcohol (Brandy) because it is easier to control the dosage. Specific herbal preparations made with Juniper are used by herbalists to internally and topically for the treatment of rheumatism and gout.

Juniper berries are a wonderful flavoring and preservative for wild game meats. (I love to use juniper berries when preparing pork loin or venison loins).

Another caution is juniper is not to be used by diabetics as it tends to spike blood glucose levels

Cedar : Juniperus virginicus, Red Cedar

Parts used: Berries, needles/ leaves, cones

cedar berries 2_blog

Cedar berries

According to master herbalist, John Christopher, Cedar berries can be used to control specifically type 2 diabetes. Cedar berries used as a tincture with other herbs, stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin. The berries also can be used to control sugar/ glucose spikes after meals in diabetic patients.

This is to be used with caution as cedar berries are rich in Thujone oil which in some people may cause stomach irritability and upset with gas, nausea and vomiting.

Not recommended when pregnant

Cedar berries can be used topically to treat Eczema, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis by making a topical balm. This is done by covering  the berries in a slow cooker (crock pot) with Lard, (Crisco or Olive oil can be substituted) Simmer on low for 24 hours. Strain the oil off and decant in a wide mouth jar and keep refrigerated. This soothing, cooling balm is applied directly to the effected arthritic areas or break outs of eczema, psoriasis.

Fir  Tree: Balsam Fir, Canadian Balsam

Parts used: Bark, Resin, Needles

Medicinal remedies using fir trees have a long history of healing since medieval times (Friars Balsam).  Parts of the fir tree can still be used as an astringent, pain relief, to reduce fevers and as an anti-microbial antiseptic. Teas and aromatic diffusers can be helpful to treat the lungs and respiratory issues, including colds, coughs, asthma.

Herbal preparations made with Fir sap/ resin can be made into a topical wound covering. It can be used to treat headaches, toothaches, abscesses, and to reduce fevers.

Recipe for Balsam Syrup:

2 cups distilled water

approx. 8 ounces of fir needles or tips of branch with new twig shoots

1 cup of raw honey

Make a decoction by slowly bringing to a boil, the twigs and needles in the distilled water. Let simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.

Strain off the liquid ‘Tea”

Add the raw honey and blend/ mix thoroughly

Bottled and stored in refrigerator, it will last for months.

Dose: 1 TBS before meals.  May dilute with warm water.

Clove and it’s Theraputic Values

Here are some of my notes on the use of Clove buds. A common kitchen spice but with some very under used, undervalued therapeutic qualities.   *Please note the addendum on ‘Depression”.


Off. Name: Eugenia Caryophylatta
Aromatic, Analgesic, Anti-fungal, Anti-bacterial, Anti-viral, vermifuge.
Although prized as a cooking spice and even burned for incense for centuries because of its highly aromatic and cleansing qualities.

Some pertinent side notes on the therapeutic uses of Cloves.
Clove is the unopened buds of a large tropical evergreen tree, primarily from Madagascar, Zanzibar but now, the Philippines, Asia and So America.
The essential oil from clove buds has been used for centuries as an remedy for toothache because the oil, (Eugenol) is highly analgesic when it comes in contact with the mucosa (membrane lining) causing numbness to the affected area, thus diminishing tooth/ gum pain. Also In folklore, Keeping 2 clove buds between tongue and cheek then sucking on the two clove buds will reduce cravings, ie: alcohol, tobacco.
In Chinese Medicine Clove has historically been used to treat Diarrhea, ringworm, athletes foot for it’s anti-fungal qualities.

Although the primary therapeutic uses of clove is usually as an adjunct to other herbal preparations. Clove is one of those herbs that are synergistic in nature allowing other herbs to work well. Traditional uses include placing one or two buds of Clove to steep in a tea or glass of warm water as an effective Digestive aid, reduce Nausea and stop vomiting. Because Clove being a Both Gram Negative AND Gram Positive anti-bacterial, it has a high capacity of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and even anti-viral uses as a medicinal adjunct.

 Clove Oil, (Eugenol) has been used by dentists, (until recently) for root canal and dental surgury. Essential oil of Clove placed one drop at a time on a cavity, tooth ache, even tooth or gum abcess is highly effective in reducing pain immediately and controling gum infection. (This application really works when you can’t get to a dentist right away) The effects are immediate.

 Clove’s anti-fungal, vermifugal abilities also have been used to kill and dispel worms and parasites from the digestive tract by killing the eggs of the parasite when used as a hot infusion/ tea.

A single Clove bud dropped into a hot/ warm infusion of a regular cup of tea provides a stimulating/ warming uplifting feeling, settling stomach complaints, aiding nausea. Studies have shown that Clove can be as effective as St. Johns wort in the treatment of Depression. I use Clove  as one of the primary ingredients in an herbal tincture specifically for the natural treatment of Depression.

Also:  I have a quick fix for Sinus infection, Bronchial cough and expectorant for congested lungs, using Clove. 

 Place in a small glass or ceramic bowl:

 6 oz. warm tap water

1/4 tsp of Cinnamon

1/4 tsp of ground Clove or 5 Clove Buds

1/4 tsp of fresh Grated (preferred) or powdered Ginger

1/2 tsp Thyme herb (Also a powerful anti-septic)

 Heat in the Microwave for two minutes.  Place on table, next to a chair.

 ** Add 2 drops of essential oil of Eucalyptus.  Immediately sit with face over the bowl and cover head with a towel. Breathe vapors deep.

 This will trigger an immediate cough response as the vapors will break break up sinus and bronchial congestion.

 Breathe the vapors deep and repeat as necessary.

 (I will cover the bowl or place in a sealed jar and place in the refrigerator. Can be reheated and used for another day or two) Just add another drop of the eucalyptus as this is lost in the vapor.

Immediate and remarkable relief

 Comments?  Questions?

 Please add to comment section, or contact TinMan at Belfire Botanicals