Ontario Herbalists Association

Promoting safe & natural healing with plants since 1982

Pinus strobus
by Monika Ghent, RH

Parts Used:
a) The young twigs (including leaves) including the last 1-2 cm of the previous year’s growth (characterized by older grayish or brownish bark) harvested from a region of the tree that obtains direct sunlight for part of the day. The twigs are harvested in July.
b) Bark
c) Resin
d) Pollen
e) Cones
f) Roots

1. Tincture/tea (young twigs including leaves):
General Therapeutic Properties: (underlined are primary properties, not underlined are secondary properties)
Analgesic, Adrenal tonic, antiallergenic antibacterial, anticarcinogenic, anticatarrhal, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, antiemetic (emetic in large doses), antifungal, anti-inflammatory (local, neural, systemic), antioxidant, antirheumatic, antispasmodic (digestive, general, respiratory), antiviral, aperient, appetite stimulant, astringent, bitter, bronchodilator, carminative (warming), cholagogue, decongestant, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant (relaxing, secretolytic, stimulating), febrifuge, hemostatic (antihemorrhagic, styptic, uterine), immune stimulant, lymphatic, nervine (amphoteric), pancreatic, relaxant, rubefacient, tranquilizer, uterine (tonic), vascular tonic, vasodilator (neural, peripheral), vulnerary.

Primary Indications:
a) Conditions of the upper respiratory system (head colds, sinus infections, sore throat, mouth ulcers);
b) Conditions of the lower respiratory system (coughs, chest colds, bronchitis, pertussis, asthma, pleurisy, tuberculosis);
c) Conditions of the digestive system (poor digestion, flatulence, bloating, liver congestion, leaky gut, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis);
d) Conditions of the vascular system (poor peripheral circulation, hemorrhage, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, arteriosclerosis);
e) Urinary tract infections and inflammation.

Secondary Indications:
a) Stress-related conditions (fatigue, adrenal exhaustion, poor concentration, poor memory);
b) Conditions of the female reproductive system (menorrhagia, dysmenorrhea).

Formulating: 15-20% (10-25%). Astringency 5, bitterness 1, emmenagogue 0-1, pungency 1.

Dosage and Duration Restrictions: Class 2. Use in formulations only, up to 25%. Continuous use should not exceed four to six months at chronic dosage levels, two to three weeks at acute doses. Combination with a demulcent is recommended to reduce gastrointestinal irritation.

Tincture: 1:5 fresh (33% alcohol/11% glycerine (dry:30%/10%) – 825ml vodka, 110ml glycerin, 65ml water per litre of menstruum) (dry: 750/100/150)

Needle tea: bronchial dilator, vasodilating, expectorant, and warming. The amount of vitamin C is reported to be five times the amount found in a lemon. One cup of tea made from one ounce of needles should provide roughly four times your daily allowance of Vitamin C. Effective against scurvy. It is also high in fat-soluble vitamin A.
To make a tea, infuse one handful of needles in a pint of hot water, covered, for 15-30 minutes, strain and drink.

Steam inhalations: Add needles or bark to a bowl of hot water for bronchitis, lung congestion, tightness, head colds, sore throats.

Gargle: Gargle a double strength tea for sore throats, candida infections, sore gums, gum infections.

Baths: Add 1 – 2 L of a strong tea to the bath for sore joints, arthritis, and pain that comes on with barometric pressure and storms.

→ Poultices: A poultice made from the pounded inner bark is used to treat cuts, sores and wounds. The wetted inner bark can be used as a poultice on the chest in treating strong colds. Warm the fresh boughs until soggy and place on sore joints.

Cough syrups:

  • White Pine Bark Cough Syrup:
    Put ½ cup of coarsely ground bark in a 1L jar and cover with 2/3 cup boiling water. When cool, add ½ cup whisky, seal the jar, and let it soak overnight – shake the jar occasionally. The next day, strain it, and to the liquid add 1 cup honey. Shake until homogenous. Transfer to a sterilized amber round bottle. Dose: 1 tbsp for adults and 1 tsp for children as needed.
    Raw honey is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiallergenic, expectorant, immune stimulant.
  • Tincture and Honey Cough Syrup:
    Use 1 part white pine tincture to 3 parts raw honey. Liquefy the honey by placing the jar in hot water, stir in the tincture. Bottle in dark sterilized bottles. Dose: adult – 1 tsp as needed; child – ¼ to 1/3 tsp as needed. You can use the pine on its own or combine with other herbs.

Pine Vinegar: A mild balsamic-like vinegar that helps to fight or ward off colds. Add fresh pine needles to apple cider vinegar in a glass jar 1:5. Use a plastic lid to prevent corrosion. Let the vinegar macerate shaking daily for at least 3 weeks before straining and using. Add honey to create a tasty oxymel or infuse with other cold-fighting herbs such as Elderberry. Pine vinegar can be used as a balsamic substitute or taken as a winter-time tonic.

2. Oil infusion: 1:5 fresh; 1:8 or 9 dry. Vitamin E 100IU for every 50ml infused oil added when make and when press. EO: 1 – 2 drops per 1ml base oil. Properties same as for tincture.

Pain/massage oil.

Salve: 3p oil, 1p wax.

Suppository: 40 g cocoa butter, 40 g coconut oil, 60ml infused oil, 5-400IU Vitamin E

3. Resin (oleo gum resin):

  • Oleo gum resins are a mix of resin, gums, and volatile oils. Oleo = oily or fatty in nature or look; gum = partly soluble in water; resin = partly or wholly soluble in alcohol. Therefore, an oleo-gum-resin has a nature that is partly soluble in water and alcohol and looks oily.
  • Gums are “hydrocolloidals” (polysaccharides, or complex sugars that interact with water and depending on the quantity of water available can behave as a gel or liquid) that bind, thicken and emulsify.
  • Resins perform a number of functions: They seal over wounds like a scab protecting the tree from pests and infections; they contain antimicrobial properties that help prevent decay and fungal infections; and they also seem to decrease water loss during droughts or plant injury.

Properties: They tend to be high potency astringents, anti-microbial, immune stimulant, antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, decongestant, rubefacient, styptic, vermifuge, vulnerary.

Uses: used externally

For colds, flu and congestion: They help break up phlegm, open breathing passages, reduce irritating and dry coughs, deepen the breath, calm the mind and encourage a restful sleep. Used for lung congestion, bronchitis, laryngitis.

Used for sore muscles and joints: It stimulates surface blood flow which helps remove toxins from muscles and joints, help invigorate tired muscles, ease aches and pains, reduce swelling and inflammation in joints and reduce the pain of sprained and strained muscles and from rheumatism, broken bones. Used as a salve or plaster.

Used to heal the skin: It soothes irritated skin, speeds healing and reduces the chance of infection. Used for burns, wounds (including slow healing wounds), skin infections (including fungal), acne, cold sores, weeping eczema, trophic ulcers, spider and other insect bites and stings, infections.

Drawing agent: As a poultice to draw out to “draw out” boils, abscesses and embedded deeply lodged foreign objects such as wood splinters or glass. It often works far better than Plantain which is better for pulling out venom and other poisons. They work together very well for bringing boils to a head. Apply a generous amount on the area and wait. Usually, the foreign object will swell to a head and pop its way out within 48 hours.

Stops bleeding: apply a soft glob (heat if necessary) to help stop bleeding.

Band-aid: (Butterfly stitches handout): Acts as natural stitches that will hold the edges of a wound together at the same time providing antiseptic medicine that will reduce and prevent infection.

Odour Control: A natural, safe and effective underarm deodorant.

Skin Health: Helps moisturize and increase the suppleness of skin.

Forms: Poultice, plaster, oil, salve, suppository, cream, chewing gum, spray, cough drops.

Plaster: A hot resin can be spread on a hot cloth and applied as you would a mustard plaster for treating pneumonia, sciatic pains, and general muscular soreness, lung congestion, painful muscles and joints.

Salve/oil: You can use any oil of your choice such as o/o, coconut oil, herbal infused oil, etc. In general a ratio anywhere from 1:1 to 1:4 resin to oil works well. E.g. 4 parts resin, 4 parts oil, ½ part beeswax. E.g. 120ml resin, 120ml oil, 30g wax. 1:2 = 80ml resin, 160 ml oil, 30g beeswax.

You can add some essential oil of the to make up for what may have been lost through the extraction process or to compliment the application you are using it for, such as Rosemary, Eucalyptus and Peppermint essential oils for respiratory issues, Chamomile for sleep, Wintergreen, Birch etc. for use as a muscle rub.

  • Resin Salve:
    80ml Resin
    160ml Olive oil
    30g Beeswax
    vitamin E 5-400IU
    → Method: Gently warm resin in a double boiler covered until it is completely liquefied. Strain out any bits of bark or debris through multiple layers of cheesecloth. Reserve the gum for cream. In the double boiler, warm the oil and wax until the wax is melted, remove from heat, add in the strained resin, add E and any essential oils, put into sterilized jars.

Cream with oil and oleo gum


Smudge/incense: Resin can be used as incense in all the traditional ways-on a hot coal, an electric incense burner, or used as ingredients when making stick, powder and cone incense using sawdust from wood. Traditionally the smoke of burning incense clears negative energy from a person or an area, cleanses homes physically and energetically, purifies and prepares ritual space and carries one’s prayers to the spirit realm

Chewing gum: Chewing the resins can help tighten loose teeth and gums, heal mouth ulcers, sores, gingivitis, fungal infections, enhances digestion, acts as an expectorant for congestion in the lungs. You can chew on fresh resin straight from the tree or warm it and combine with honey and a bit of beeswax to make a natural chewing gum substitute.

Throat spray: You can dissolve the resin in alcohol which can be sprayed onto wounds to help seal them from infection and also can be sprayed directly onto the back of the throat to help with strep and sore throat.

Cough Drops: Add slippery elm to resin until you can form into balls. Leave to dry on parchment paper. Store in glass jar in fridge.

It’s a little sticky going on but it is quickly absorbed by the skin and the stickiness goes away in just a few minutes. Cleanup of the sticky saps is done easily with a little vegetable oil and warm soapy water.

4. Pollen:
Harvesting: Pollen can be harvested in Spring from March to June, depending on location. Only Male pine trees have pollen. Females bear fruit (cones). Pollen cones are yellow to orange in color and grow in bunches at the tips of branches. They give off a fine and brightly colored pollen. Collect pollen by placing a paper bag over the pollen cones and shaking them inside the bag. The whole pollen cones can also be carefully clipped into a paper bag.

Properties: adaptogenic, phytoandrogen (that is, a plant that contains testosterone), anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, antioxidant, and anti-tumor, anti-aging. It has been consumed as a food by many native tribes in North America for centuries and is considered one of natures most nutrient dense substances. High in vitamins, and minerals such as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, carotene, Folic Acid, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E; Calcium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Molybdenum, Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium, Silicon, Sodium, and Zinc. It contains over twenty amino acids including all eight essential amino acids and is a complete protein.

Uses: It can be used by both men and women alike as a hormone balancer, balances the ratio of androgens to estrogens, raises testosterone levels, improves fertility in women and men, increases growth hormone release, boosts libido; benign prostatic hyperplasia; increased immune and endocrine function, reduced sensitivity to pain, lowers cholesterol, stimulates liver regeneration; breast and prostate cancer; used externally to treat skin conditions of all kinds including eczema, acne, impetigo, and diaper rash.

5. Pine cones: High in resin and may be added to other pine preparations such as teas or tinctures.

6. Essential oil:
Properties: Analgesic, antiallergenic, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, antiseptic, Antirheumatic, Antispasmodic, Antiviral, Decongestant, Expectorant, Immune stimulant, Mucolytic, rubefacient.

Uses: The essential oil of white pine is used to treat respiratory conditions and infections: coughs, colds, flu, sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma; cuts and wounds; arthritis, rheumatism, muscle pain, joint pain, and general muscular discomfort; adrenal depletion; lymphatic congestion; hemorrhoids. It is grounding and brain energizing. A good up-lifting pick-me-up oil when feeling sluggish.

7. Tree Spirit Medicine:
The Tree Spirit Medicine of White Pine is “Tree of Life; Wise Counsel.” The Tree of Life connects heaven and earth and reminds us of the illusion of separateness we feel and the reality of unity, interconnectedness and sacredness of ourselves and everything around us.

The Tree of Life is the axis mundi that connects heaven & earth – the central pathway connecting the upper, middle & the lower worlds, as well as the four directions. It acts as a symbol that ties & interconnects all planes of reality.

The Tree of Life connects us to everything in the Universe; to all that exists.

The Tree of Life is a pathway that allows us to travel across time & space to obtain wisdom & guidance.

The Tree of Life reminds us of the illusion of separateness we feel & the reality of unity, interconnectedness & sacredness of ourselves & everything around us.

White Pine, as the Tree of Life, connects us to the Divine source & provides us with wise counsel to whatever questions, difficulties or concerns we have so that we may evolve & awaken into wholeness & our true selves.