WHITE PINE (Pinus strobus)
If you happen to be walking Ryan Park on one of our balmy late autumn days, you just might find this little pine the herbal apprentices joyfully adopted. Decorated up in holiday finery, it stands tall and proud as one of the only plants available for us to forage during the cold winter months. And, oh by the way, our sweet little pine is nothing to pass by.
Locally, Eastern White Pine is the most abundant variety. In the US, there are roughly 36 different species of pines, all being medicinal and edible. The needles are most commonly used to make a delicious tea. High in Vitamins C and A, this pine needle tea provides a great winter boost. Native People taught early settlers how to use the pine. This lesson played an important part in preventing scurvy. Want to wow your holiday guests? Boil up some water, for each cup, infuse (after needles after boiling) roughtly 1 tbsp of cut up pine needles. It is light and delicious...and smells like a pine forest!
In addition to the needles, both the inner bark and sap are valuable for medicinals. In the spring, the pine pollen (the golden nuisance which covers your car) provides a nutritive adaptogenic tonic. Considered a superfood, and can be helpful for boosting both endocrine and immune functions. Pretty good for that sweet, little pine!
Bless it next time you walk in the winter woods...