pine resin

Wild Foraged Pine Resin Salve: A Healing Earth Medicine

Made with sacred medicine and infused with the scent of pine, this salve is a healer. It can be used for everything from soothing insect bites to healing wounds. Learn how to make a healing Earth medicine salve by blending pine resin with other healing ingredients.

Winter is upon us, and the call of the wild has been as strong as ever. ⁠⁠ So off I went, to breathe the cool air, to be with the stillness of a winter’s day, and to look for the medicines of the Earth.

In this season of cold and darkness, we can be reminded of the depth at which our ancestors lived. Deep within us, there is a need to reconnect with that wildness.

My journey led me to search deep within the forest. And it was there, in the silence of a winter’s day, that I found the resin of the pines. Pine resin is full of medicinal properties, used to heal wounds and uplift spirits with their scent on these coldest of days. It reminds me that this world has much beauty to give. And I am grateful for the opportunity to share it with you.

pine resin

What is Pine Resin?

Pine resin is a natural substance produced by the pine tree when it is wounded. It is antimicrobial, antifungal and helps to protect the tree from disease. It has been used in folk medicine for centuries as a healing agent and can be used to help fight harmful bacteria and fungus on our bodies as well. Here’s how you can sustainably harvest your own pine resin and craft a simple Earth medicine salve for use in any first aid kit.

pine resin
pine resin

Harvesting Pine Resin Sustainably

When sustainably harvesting anything in the wild, it is important to only take what is abundant, and to harvest sparingly—leaving as much as possible for the ecosystem to maintain balance. Because pine trees produce resin to heal itself and protect its vitality, it’s essential not to over-harvest the sap that remains on the tree.

If you must harvest pine resin, do so with reverence. Resin is like a bandage over a tree wound, protecting the tree from infection and decay. It is a critical part of a tree’s healing process, so do not rip or dig it off of the tree; instead harvest resin when chunks of it have fallen to the ground or if you find some dripping further down the trunk, past the wounded area. Better still, harvest the pine resin from fallen trees and branches whenever possible. 

A butter knife is an excellent tool for scraping off cold chunks of sap or removing softer bits from a fallen tree. Place the collected resin in a paper cup, piece of parchment paper, or jar dedicated to resin collecting.

pine resin

When to harvest

Pine resin can be harvested year-round. However, the cold of winter is the best time for harvesting it. During the winter, one can find many fallen branches and trees that have been broken by snowfall or strong winds. These fallen trees and branches are the preferred source for collecting pine resin because taking it from them does not harm the tree in any way. The cold weather also helps the resin to harden and become easier to collect.

pine resin

Basic Pine Resin Salve

This is the basic pine resin salve recipe, but you could substitute herb-infused oils such as plantain, calendula, comfrey, or yarrow for the plain oil in order to incorporate more vulnerary and antimicrobial herbs to support the body’s wound healing process. Feel free to tweak this formula to meet your own needs!

Ingredients:

*Note: Spruce or Fir resin are acceptable substitutes for pine resin

Directions:

  • Add pine resin to oil in the top pan of a simmering double boiler. 
  • Heat together on low heat until pine resin melts. This may require stirring, or simmering for several hours.
  • Strain the mixture through a coffee filter or fine mesh strainer. Clean the strainer with oil, then soap.
  • Return to double boiler and add grated beeswax. For every cup of resin/oil mixture, add ¼ – ½ cup of grated beeswax or beeswax pellets. The more beeswax, the firmer the salve or balm will be when it solidifies.
  • Gently heat until mixture is melted. 
  • Add the essential oil and pour into tins or jars and store in a cool, dark place.
pine resin

Medicinal Uses

This wild-foraged pine resin salve can be used directly on the skin to heal and soothe minor skin irritations. It can also be used as an overnight facial moisturizer, lip balm, or skin healing hand salve.

For other healing remedies from the Earth, check out this page: Herbalism & Herbs

pine resin

Pine Resin Salve

Barbi Gardiner
Pine resin salve is excellent for use on chapped, dry, or windburned skin, and is effective for drawing out wood and glass splinters. It also offers powerful anti-microbial properties, with an aroma like the rustic pines of the forests.
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Prep Time 4 hrs
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 30 mins

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup powdered pine resin Place the chunks of resin on a sheet of parchment or freezer paper and freeze them until hardened. Then fold the paper around the pieces and hammer the chunks on a sidewalk or hard surface until it's powdered
  • ½ cup oil of your choice I prefer fast absorbing oils such as rice bran oil, sweet almond, apricot kernel oil, safflower oil, or jojoba oil over olive or sunflower oil
  • ¼ to ½ cup beeswax grated
  • 17 Drops Rosemary Essential Oil

Instructions
 

  • Add pine resin to oil in the top pan of a simmering double boiler.
  • Heat together on low heat until pine resin melts. This may require stirring, or simmering for several hours. (2-4 hours)
  • Strain the mixture through a coffee filter or fine mesh strainer. Clean the strainer with oil, then soap.
  • Return to double boiler and add grated beeswax. For every cup of resin/oil mixture, add ¼ - ½ cup of grated beeswax or beeswax pellets. The more beeswax, the firmer the salve or balm will be when it solidifies.
  • Gently heat until mixture is melted.
  • Add the essential oil and pour into tins or jars and store in a cool, dark place.

Notes

*Note: Spruce or Fir resin are acceptable substitutes for pine resin
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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