Another day with snow and blowing snow and school canceled. What's a home herbalist to do? Make pine needle/sap oil, of course!
How To Make Pine Needle Oil
1. Find some good boots to wear as the snow is quite deep out there! Snow shoes would be fabulous!!
2. Find yourself some lovely pine trees and from different trees and different areas on those trees, cut off a few smaller branches that will be easily cut into small pieces once you get back inside. If you see wounds on pine trees that ended up with sap running down the tree, gently remove that sap, also, if you can without harming the tree. Do not take it from the wound area itself as the tree needs it for protection. I see the wind is picking up outside. You may be able to find some downed branches - great way to get a supply of branches and sap!
3. I typically spread out newspaper or wax paper to catch any mess as the sap from the branches is hard to get off anything. Including your clothes. Beware!
4. Cut branches and needles into small to tiny, pieces. The smaller the better as there will be more surface area for the oil to draw out the sap from.
5. Fill jar or bowl loosely with needles/bark/sap.
(Tip - I also added bee propolis to the pine needles and let that steep with the needles. A little extra boost).
6. Cover with oil of choice.
7. At this point, there is varying opinion on how to process your pine oil. Some people will just let it sit for a couple weeks. I feel that heat is needed to properly pull out the sap/resin into the oil. I have a small little skillet that I set very low with water in it and put the jar in that. (Yep, the one in the photo). I add water as needed (about every 12 hours) and watch the temperature, trying to keep it around 100 degrees F.
8. I typically let mine steep for 4 or 5 days.
9. Strain and use to make salves as you would with any other oil you've made.
To make my salve, I added several drops of vitamin E oil, both for preservation and for skin care, and about ¼ teaspoon of jojoba oil to aid skin absorption. Then beeswax to a proportion of ½ tsp beeswax per 1ounce of oil. (In the summer, I use 1 teaspoon beeswax to 2 ounces oil).
Why bother with all this? Pine resin is what the tree makes to cover its wounds. Thus, it is good for healing our wounds too, being very antibacterial and antiseptic. It increases circulation to the area, also, which may speed healing. It may help to ease pain and may be useful to add to lotions for achy joints from all the shoveling we've had to do!
I'll post more info in the forum under Herb-By-Herb. Good topic for a day like today!
Stay warm and safe everyone.