Pine resin has one primary purpose and that is to maintain and heal the tree. This sticky protective barrier seals wounds and wards off bacteria, fungus, and the invasion of insects. For this reason, it is super important to harvest only excess resin. In other words, resin that has dripped down the tree beyond the wound. We can use this natural gift for similar uses as the tree. The resin stimulates topical circulation and speeds up the local immune response to heal quickly. The terpene compounds are both antibacterial and antifungal, making it effective against infection. Lastly, the resin is warming in nature and soothes sore muscles and joints.
Medicinal uses for Pine Resin
- Warmed pine resin can be placed externally on skin for wounds, splinters, insect bites, and to draw out any irritants
- Can be placed on sore muscles/joints to relieve pain or on the chest to relieve congestion
Harvesting and gathering
As mentioned above, it’s very important to only harvest excess pine resin from a tree. Often times a tree will produce more than enough sticky sap for the wound and the excess will drip down the tree and gather in clumps below. The sap is easiest to gather in the colder months, as it will snap right off the tree. In the warmer months the sap will be extremely sticky and gooey, making it difficult to gather. You can find more information on Identifying Pine here.
Cleaning Your Resin
Pine Resin (harvested responsibly)
Fine Mesh Metal Strainer
Glass container to store resin for later use
Here’s what you do:
Once you have gathered your desired amount of pine resin, its time to heat it up and clean out the small bits of bugs, bark, and dirt.
Start by making a double boiler. Find out more information on double boilers, here. Please note that the pot or bowl you use for a double boiler will be destined solely for this purpose!
If the pine resin pieces appear too be large, it’s a good idea to place them in an old towel, and give them a few good hits with a hammer. This will speed up the melting process.
Place the pine resin in the double boiler and begin to heat the resin.
While the resin is melting down, place the metal strainer over a glass container. This container is what you’ll be storing your pine resin in if you choose not to use it right away.
Once the resin is in a liquid form, it’s time to scrape it into a metal strainer. I’ve used cloth before and it’s a nightmare.
Work the resin through the strainer quickly as it will harden fast.
Sometimes you may need to strain multiple times to clean the resin fully. Once complete, you can easily clean your strainer by lighting it on fire! Pine resin is extremely flammable and once burned away, the strainer will be clean and ready for use again! Plus, it smells awesome!
Pine Salve Recipe
This antiseptic salve can be used externally for wounds, splinters, insect bites, placed on sore muscles & joints, or applied to the chest to relieve congestion.
What you do:
Once you have decided on a herbal oil, it’s now time to make a salve. As a general rule, add 1 part beeswax to 4 parts oil. This will vary depending on how hard or soft you would like your salve to be.
- 1 T beeswax
- 5 T Choice of Oil (pine needle infused oil is a lovely option but any oil or infused oil can be used) For more information on making infused oils, click here.
- 1 T Strained Pine Resin (harvested responsibly)
- Drizzle spoon
- Metal tin or other container for storage
*Optional oils can be added – essential oils, rose hip seed oil, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary oil extract, or vitamin E
- Start out by gathering all the ingredients and assembling your double-boiler
- Heat the water in the double-boiler and keep at a low simmer
- Place the beeswax & resin in the double-boiler and gently warm over low heat until melted
- Add the herbal oil(s) and stir until well mixed
- Now is a great time to do a consistency check! Once melted, place a small amount of salve on wax paper and let it sit in the freezer for a minute or two. This will give you an idea of the firmness of your salve.
- Remove from heat, if using essential oils, rose hip seed oil, or other fragile oils, add them after the oil and beeswax have been taken off the stove.
- Quickly (but carefully) pour warm mixture into prepared container(s) and allow to cool completely
- Label and store in a cool, dark place, where it will last several months to 1 year.