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Pinion Pine Plant Profile

   Common Names: Pinion Pine, Pinyon Pine    PinionPine

   Latin NamePinus edulis 

   Family: Conifer – Pine Family 

   Description/Habitat

   General: Tree to 10 m tall; trunk up to .6 m in diameter, often dividing into several trunks at or near the base, bark light brown, crown egg-shaped broadening with age, branches      upwardly angled. 

   Buds: 5-10 mm long, resinous, needles in bundles or 1 or 2 or 3 each needle 2.45 cm long gently curved, stiff, sticking together, last 4-9 years. 

  Cone/Seeds: Cones mature in 2 years; Pollen cones 7-10 mm long, yellowish, brown; seed cones 3.5-5 cm long, broadly egg shaped to nearly spherical with 15-40 seed scales, green  before maturity, ripening yellowish brown, opening widely to release seeds, falling unstalked or very short stalked. 


Habitat: Southwestern United States, centered on the Four Corners area from southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and trans-Pecos Texas; from the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains to the Eastern Slopes of the Sierra Nevadas. Forming pure stands or mixed with junipers in Pinion-Juniper woodland on dry slopes, hilltops, and tablelands 4000-7000 feet (you will find them dispersed higher elevations as well.) 

Traditional Uses and History:

-The succulent and sweet inner bark has been used as a thickening agent in cooking. 

-“Pine Nuts”   continue to be valued by the cultures of the south west U.S. for their fat

content and high protein. Perhaps you’ve experienced them in a gourmet dish. 

-  Pine-needle tea  (not just Pinion) is high in vitamin A and C. Drunk tonically in the winter for its fresh, zesty flavor, this tea helped prevent and cure scurvy. 

-  Tea steam was inhaled for all sorts of chronic/acute respiratory issues.

 –  Diffused steam was used to freshen the air. 

-  Fresh tea was used for its anti-septic properties. 

-  Some tribes used the strong pine-needle (not just Pinion) tea as a contraceptive. 

-  The inner bark was used as a dressing for scalds, burns, and skin infections.

-  Pine pitch was chewed to soothe sore throats and sweeten bad breath and was taken internally to treat kidney problems and tuberculosis. Also used for sore gums and general gum health. 

-  Warmed sap was applied to sore muscles, arthritic joints, swellings, and skin infections, also heated until it was black and mixed with bone marrow as a salve for burns. 

Part Distilled: Needles and twigs. 

Major Chemical components, Case History, & Research Facts of the Essential Oil

Chemical composition high in Monoterpene family. This chemical family is known to be effective airborne deodorizers and purifiers. Also known to be anti-cancerous, effective for rheumatic/arthritic conditions, preventing bone loss amongst many attributes. 

This essential oil also has a high content of Bornyl Acetate which is known to be relaxing. 

Safety: Oils high in monoterpenes can cause skin irritation if the charge (distillate material) has been chipped and shredded prior to distillation and disitlled at high pressure. These compounds are not water-soluble, avoid in bathtub unless they are well diluted in carrier oil or fatty substance. Internal ingestion of essential oils high in monoterpenes can lead to liver and kidney toxicity. Internal use of essential oils should always be under the very careful guidance of an experienced clinical aromatherapist. Internal use as my dear friend Barb Lucks puts it “Minimum benefit, maximum risk.” 

Scientific research of the essential oils isolated chemical compounds have found their actions to be: Anti-bacterial/fungal/inflammatory/oxidant/viral/spasmodic/rheumatic, analgesic, decongestant, mucolytic, expectorant, relaxing, rubefacient, immune supporting, generally strengthening, tonifying. 

Uses and Indications for Essential Oil:

-Diffuse to cleanse and purify air.

-Blend with other pain relieving essential oils.

-Apply regularly for arthritic/rheumatic conditions to relieve and heal.

-Use for respiratory inhaler or apply to chest for respiratory conditions.

-For traumatic muscle injury, or over use.

-Antiseptic for respiratory infections.

-Apply to any area with inflammation.

-A drop or two under the ears and a whiff up the nose helps relieve fatigue.

-An excellent flu shield and medicine if flu stricken.

-Male stimulant and restorative.

-Stimulant of the adrenal cortex.

-Allergy relief for the sinus system.

-Stimulates blood circulation.

-Balancing, inner rest/ strength, to relieve anxiety and tension and mental stress.

-Immune support.

-Cancer patients.

-For those in final passage. 

Energetics: Mothering, gentle, loving, warming, holding, acceptance, balance, clarity, grounding, protection, purifying, restorative, up lifting. Can help remove energy blockages. I think of Pinion Pine as the “Lavender” of Conifers. 

Blending: Both uplifting and grounding, great in an inhaler for congestions/respiratory relief, blends nicely with other Conifers. Use in any inflammation salve/balm. 

Aroma: Balsamic, coniferous, Earthy, fresh, piney, rich, woody. 

Safety: NOT FOR INTERNAL USE. Avoid eyes and orifices. Always do a small test drop on the back of your hand to check for allergic reaction or skin irritation before further application. Should irritation occur, apply any vegetable type oil such as olive to diffuse the chemical reactions. If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your mid-wife before using any essential oil! 

No ! FDA Approval. This article is not meant to diagnose or treat any disease or condition. This profile is for education about traditional uses and what scientific research is learning about the complexity of phyto-chemistry. Do not use this document to treat or diagnose any dis-ease. 

Reference

Rose, Aromatherapy Book

Kershaw, MacKinnon, and Pojar, Plants of the Rocky Mountains

Still Point Aromatics

Aromahead Institute curriculum

Moore, Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West

Kershaw, Edible Plants of the Rockies

Eckenwater, Conifers of the World

Elpel, Botany in a Day

Ponderosa Pine Plant Profile

Ponderosa PineDecanter3-14 020

Latin Name: Pinus ponderosa

Family: Conifer/Pinaceae

Colloquial Names: yellow pine, western yellow pine, black jack pine, bull pine, rock pine, P-Rose.

Description/Habitat:

Evergreen tree 120-150 feet tall ( some ancients grow to over 200 feet!). Trunk straight, average 3-5 feet diameter, some giants up to 7-8 feet across; branches numerous, stout, lower ones often drooping; crown open, irregularly cylindrical, often flat-topped. As tree ages, branches are far from the ground. 

Bark: Orange-brown to cinnamon with deep, black fissures delineating flat, flaky, jigsaw-like plates up to 3 inches thick. The thick bark and bare lower branches help mature trees to survive low-intensity fires. 

Decanter3-14 027Leaves: Evergreen needles in bundles of 3 (sometimes 2, 4 or 5), yellow-green, slender, 13-5 inches long.

 

Cones: Male and female cones on same tree; pollen (male) cones 3-5 inches long, reddish-purple to yellow; seed (female) cones broadly egg-shaped, 2-5 inches long in groups of 1-3, reddish purple when young, dull brown when mature, scales thick, with a stiff prickle near tip; mature in 2 years, then open and drop.

 

Habitat: Moderate amounts of rainfall. Foothills to mountain from southern BC to New Mexico. Ponderosa thrives in areas that are periodically burned. You will find these adaptable beings at very low elevations to way up high. Can live over 600 years!

 Historical uses of Ponderosa Pine:

-The seeds were ground into meal and used to make bread.

Decanter3-14 022

-The sweet inner bark (said to taste like sheep fat) was collected on cool, cloudy days

when the sap was running. The edible inner bark was scraped from the tough outer layer and usually eaten immediately or kept moist for several days. 

  • Resin was chewed like gum for oral health, applied alone or in salves to boils, carbuncles, abscesses, rheumatic joints and aching backs. 

  • For dandruff the pointed needles were jabbed into the scalp to “kill the germs”. 

  • Pitch, rendered resin was used as glue to adhere stone knives to wooden or antler handles, burned on torches, and used to waterproof baskets, wooden containers and canoes. 

-The young male cones were boiled as an emergency food.Ponderosasaplingthinning4-14

-The needles can be used to make tea, rich in Vit A & C. 

- Pregnant cows that eat ponderosa pine needles may abort their calves in 2 days to 2 weeks. If you’re pregnant avoid essential oils to start with and especially this one – the tea too. Some eo’s are fine for pregnancy, but check with your experienced, certified aromatherapist! 

-North American indigenous tribes valued this tree for its antiseptic and vulnerary properties, using it to treat a wide range of skin issues, cuts, wounds, burns etc.   

-Also valued for its effect upon the respiratory system. It is used to treat various lung and chest ailments. 

Our distillate is never chipped or shredded before distilling.

-Today its wood is used as lumber and made into moldings, cabinets, and crates. 

Anecdotal Info: the largest contiguous stand of Ponderosa Pine can be found in Arizona. There are 5 “races” of Ponderosa Pine – the Pacific, the Columbia, the Rocky Mountain, the Southwestern and the Central High Plains all with unique needle characteristics. The largest specimen on record measures 268 feet tall and 27 feet around. Ponderosa is the state tree of Montana. While my son was a student at Eagle Rock School and living in the Ponderosa House dorm, everyone on campus referred to the house as P-Rose – hmmmm – Ponder Rosa.

 

Major Chemical Components, Case History, & Research Facts of the Essential Oil 

Parts distilled: Needles and twigs together, cones alone, needles w/twigs and cones together.PlantMedicinesfromHomeMaketheirway (1)

 

Monoterpine Family has a very high presence in Ponderosa Pine essential oil. These compounds are known to be effective against air born viruses among many other great attributes. Monoterpines are lypophylic meaning they absorb easily through the skin. Essential oils high in monoterpine compounds are often incorporated into cosmetics for their ability to help out constituents penetrate. 

Monoterpine isolates in research studies have shown them to be Anti-bacterial/fungal/infectious/inflammatory/oxidant/spasmodic/viral, analgesic, cicatrisant, decongestant, expectorant, immuno-stimulant, mucolytic, rubefacient, and sedating – see below for definitions. 

Monoterpines are not water soluble, so avoid using essential oils high in these compounds in the bath unless they are in a fatty substance like Jojoba oil or such.

 The “minor” chemical compounds include sesquiterpines, monoterpenols, sesquiterpenols, a few esters and aldehydes, miniscule ketones and oxides. What do these mean? Consider a course in basic essential oil chemistry from one of our colleagues you can find on our resource page. 

Uses and Indications for the Essential Oil

-Can be applied for chest rub

-Steam/ inhaler when fighting colds, flu, sinus infections.

-Can be used in diffuser for meditation, clarity, cleansing atmosphere.

-For infections, cuts, scraps

-Muscle oil for inflamed or spastic muscles.

-Increases blood circulation.

-Scar prevention or breaking up scar tissue.

- Arthritic/Rheumatic conditions.

-Supports connective and muscle tissue.

-Rubfacient – Increases local blood circulation, vasodilation and local analgesic effect.

-Cicatrisant – cell regeneration for skin.

-Bactericidal – takes down those bacteria!

-Mucolytic – cuts the green and yellow crud!

-Decongestant – reduces nasal inflammation and mucous production.

-Sedating – lowers the functional activity of the body organ bringing relaxation. 

Energetics: Deeply rooted, standing tall with head toward the stars. Relaxing, restorative, calming, up lifting. Strength, endurance, adaptability,protection. 

Aroma: Balsamic, Coniferous, Earthy, Fresh, Piney, Resinous, Rich, Woody 

Safety: Oils high in monoterpenes can cause skin irritation or sensitization if they have oxidized due to improper distillation and storage, an important reason to store them cool and dark and source from a distiller that doesn’t shred their distillate material. NEVER take internally unless for a specific purpose under the guidance of an experienced practitioner.

Avoid eyes and orifices. Always do a small test drop on the back of your hand to check for allergic reaction or skin irritation before further application. Should irritation occur, apply any vegetable type oil such as olive to diffuse the chemical reactions. If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your mid-wife before using any essential oil! DO NOT USE INTERNALLY.  First two e-mails to say Ponderosa Pine in subject line and their complete mailing address in the message body will receive one dram of Ponderosa Pine essential oil.

Shelf life is 3-5 years. Use it before it goes off! the oil can smell rancid. Skin irritation can occur.. In some cases, the oil does sweeten, hold it’s ring, though still irritate the skin. 

References:

Kershaw, MacKinnon, and Pojar, Plants of the Rocky Mountains

Still Point Aromatics

Aromahead Institute curriculum

Moore, Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West

Kershaw, Edible Plants of the Rockies

Eckenwater, Conifers of the World

Elpel, Botany in a Day

Aromatics International

Jeanne Rose

Patricia Davis 

Gratitude to Jaisy Jahan Zuberi and Ryan Bradley for thier legacy project in apprenticeship to House of Aromatics for compiling the information to create the plant profiles. 

No ! FDA Approval. This article is not meant to diagnose or treat any disease or condition. This profile is for education about traditional uses and what scientific research is learning about the complexity of phyto-chemistry. Do not use this document to treat or diagnose any dis-ease. Take your shoes and socks off and put your bare feet on the bare Earth. Sat a spell. 

Thanks to all of our friends and colleagues from whom we have been honored with so much wisdom, knowledge and elemental lore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer! None of the statements would be or are approved by the FDA. Not meant to diagnose or treat anything! Educate yourself by studying ethno-botany, seek out herbalists, plant a garden, learn about wild plants. Do not use internally. Keep away from heat and direct light. Keep safe from young ones. Use with Wisdom & Intention.

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