Thursday, September 20, 2007

Divine Goo

I know this just looks like a plate of globby yuck. But if you could smell this divine goo you would see it through a different lens. This is freshly harvested Pine pitch, from my Aunties huge old pines in her back yard. The two trees were virtually gushing and I couldn't resist. This plate is only about 1/4 of what we got. We were sure to leave a coating on from each spot through, not to leave the tree raw.

The white powdery looking coat is where the sap had begun to dry out, the area where it was exposed to air. Th more mature the sap gets, the harder it gets. Some Red Pine sap that my son recently found was nearly hard, and not nearly as sticky. I'm guessing it was at least five years old. It takes a long time.

Usually what I like to do with the pitch is make smudge. I make little rolled balls and 'flour' it in Lavender or Rose powder. This helps keep it self-contained and keeps your fingers from gluing together. Plus it smells really sweet. When you have finished rolling them, lay them out on a wax-paper covered tray, indefinitely. If you jar them up you will have a jar full of melted sap and good luck getting it out. The little balls are easy to pick up and add to a hot rock or glowing ember to bless your home or ceremony. However, I don't recommend using it in your fireplace or wood stove. To easily remove the sap from fingers or floors or clothes, apply rubbing alcohol.

Another superb use for this wonderful gift of the trees is for splinters or slivers. Our beloved Kiva has dealt with this recently only with glass. Sucks it right out and keeps the infection at bay. A wound or cut in the woods is treated swiftly with an application of fresh pitch. Blisters can be helped when nothing else is around and you're mid-hike. Gum infections are also traditionally helped with sap - although I have to say it's not palatable. Natives also used it as glue and water sealer for their canoes.

Amazing stuff.


Blue Turtle said...

yes, it is lovely stuff. It makes a lovely salve for burns, scrapes, and drawing infections or splinters. The fresh pitch works well too, but the salve is a bit more user friendly, plus it smells just lovely, like a fresh outdoorsy fall walk in the woods!

Have you ever used the sap balls for a wet, cold congested cough?? Swallow it like a little pill, and it is quite the expectorant! One of these days I'm going to whip up a cough syrup that includes a ticncture of pine sap, among other things.

Ananda said...

Hello Friend! I have not used the pills - how interesting! I'll keep that in mind! For your salve, do you heat it with oil? How do you get it to infuse? Do you separate it after or just melt it all together? Do tell! And do you use a high proof for tincturing? I've tinctured Benzoin and propolis and it takes time.
I thought about trying to make a old fashioned Pine tar soap, that could be fun.

Shamana Flora said...

When I tinctured it , I did 95% at a 1:10 ratio. and the oil, yes, i just melt the sap in the olive oil on the double boiler. but then have to strain out bark bits and such from the melted sap oil mix. I do a bit of beeswax to firm it up too...

Ananda said...

Fantastic! Thank you so much!

Flesh and Bones said...

Awesome! I just gathered sap today and made sachets out of it for my drawers. I googled 'pine sap sachets' to see if anyone else had done this, and your blog came up. Altho I can see that you didn't use it for sachets, I like your idea. I have no knowledge of tincturing and the like, but I would love to learn about it. Also glad for the tip about rubbing alcohol because my hands are sticking to everything now. :-)
I love your blog.

Anonymous said...

Flesh and Bones,
how did you make your sachets? I have a small amount of sap gathered on a hike today and would love to make sachets, but am having a hard time envisioning how to do it so they don't stick to everything!

The Plant Whisperer said...

Gee, I don't know! It takes a number of years to harden and at that point isn't very fragrant unless smoldered as an incense. I would go for some cedar needles instead. Good luck!