White Pine

White Pine

Pinus strobus

White Pine is calming and grounding and is also a great respiratory herb. White Pine will help calm your nerves and mind on a stressful day. White Pine is also used to help break up congestion in the chest, sinus issues and bronchitis.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Tree of Peace
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: Yes
  • Parts Used: Needles, Twigs, Pollen
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About White Pine

White pine, also recognized as the tree of peace, is a needled-evergreen plant that belongs to the family Pinaceae. White pine is also sometimes called as Soft Sapling and Weymouth Pine. It has a tall straight trunk while its leaves can usually be seen in the cluster of 5, 4, or 3 which normally fall at maturation. The leaves are serrated, bluish-green, and 2-5 inches long. The tree also possesses slender cones that contain seeds for the propagation of white pine through the wind. The cone has scales with resinous tip and rounded apex.

White pine tree towers up to the height of 50 to 80 feet, which is certainly enough to overshadow the trees in the vicinity. They can be as old as 500 years that spark a sense of timelessness. From the construction of a ship to a mere table it was anciently used lumber.

White pine produces turpentine from its resin that is of great importance in the medicinal world.  It acts as rubefacient, diuretic, antiseptic, and anthelminthic. White pine is also fruitful in the treatment of urinary tract infections and rheumatic conditions. The inner bark of the white pine presents itself as a perfect expectorant and demulsifier. Topical application of its poultice aids in healing the cuts, wounds, and sores.

Growing

White pine grows in quite a rapid fashion, approximately 2 to 3 feet per year. The season of spring is considered as the best instant for the plantation of white pine. They thrive in full sun to light shade. From light sandy to heavy textured soil, the seeds can manage in any soil but will flourish in a well-drained loamy soil. At least 20% of the sun exposure is devoted to the seedling to germinate robustly.

White pine cannot be grown indoors as they die because of the limited amount of light and humidity. Though they serve well for ornamental purposes, but for a very short period. They can survive for less than a year if they are provided with the required amount of sunlight, water, temperature, and humidity. White pine prospers zealously in outdoor frames.

The tree can be transplanted while it is dormant i.e. in spring or fall, before the first frost.

White pine seeds take at least two years to germinate. After a prolonged germination, the plant grows promptly and but produces viable seeds after the age of 20 to 30 years.

At such a dragged age, the process of fruitful pollination takes place from April to June. The pollination of white pine occurs by the wind. Fertilization occurs which results in a kind of seed pods, cones that can be either male or female.
Female cone is bigger than a male cone and they grow on the same tree.

Harvesting

The long-lived white pine is of high demand for transforming its big, thick, and strong trunk into lumber. The mature tree has a dark gray to brown bark that showcases fissures and deep indents. If such bark observed, then the trunk is taken down.
The ‘whispering pine’ needles are harvested when they are at least 3 to 5 inches long.
The cones are harvested when they are green, mostly in fall.

The trunk, needles, and cones are harvested at different times of the year to keep the white pine tree productive.

The cone is collected usually for attaining its seeds. It is placed in a paper bag and settled under the sun until the scale lifts up and free the seeds.
The soft flexible leaves can be cut with the help of sharp scissors whereas, for the trunk, a whole team of tree surgeons is required to take down the whispering mammoth.

Storage of white pine needles is a tiresome process but still, it is observed to keep the needles whispering.
The white pine needles are dipped in melted beeswax and splayed on the baking sheet. They are then settled in a preheated oven (200 degrees Celsius) for ten minutes. The wax melts and absorbs in the needles during this time. The needles are then taken out of the oven to dry and are stored in a jar for later use.

Usage

White pine is incorporated in various medicinal preparations to keep its whispers alive all year round.

  • Tincture- White pine fresh needles are used for making the tincture.
  • Tea- Fresh white pine needles and even branches are utilized for the formation of tea.
  • Decoction- White pine herbs are simmered on low flame for about an hour to prepare a decoction.
  • Salve- Pine resin is added to the carrier oil and beeswax to form a White pine salve.
  • Syrup- Boiling water is poured on fresh white pine needles. The liquid is allowed to sit until it cools down. The honey is stirred in it and the liquid is called syrup.