The spruce (Picea abies) belongs to the family of Pinaceae and the subfamily of Abietoideae.
The stinging pine needles are four-pointed, positioned dispersedly. The thin cone-scales do not fall down. The pine needles grow one-by-one arranged in a spiral, every needle having a pillow. The pillows make the branch coarse after the needles fall (the other sorts of pine have smoother branches).
The weeping pine-cones fall at around two years of age. Spruces can be recognized from their cone formed crown and turning branches. The roots are depthless and widely expanded. The thin crust is scaled.
Evergreen pines are used for thousands of years. Their evergreen needles symbolize eternity, life-affirmation and unfailing energy. Ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as the Middle Age knew and used pine sprouts, cones, seeds, resin and its volatile oil.
The volatile oil of spruce is composed of monoterpene carbon-hydrogen and of the carboxylic acid ester of this. Spruce resin is composed of diterpenes and lignans.
Fresh shoots, sprouts and conifers are picked and processed for syrup in spring.
Strengthens the immune system and enhances appetite. In the old times spruce was considered as strengthener of lungs, that heals the respiratory system and smoothes cough. It has an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effect, heals sore throat, but also arthritis, muscle pain and gout. It is a good depressant. Its resin heals wounds.
Syrup from spring sprouts of spruce tempers cough and strengthen the immune system both cold or boiled: make layers of sprouts and sugar in a jar and maturate it for 1-2 months, then keep it in the pantry; it can be used continuously in tea during the whole winter and it has a very good effect since the sprouts are raw.
The sprouts can be preserved and maturated also in honey, the pine honey is very tasty and effective. If maturated together, the honey will be more liquid and a bit sour, but preserved for wintertime. If strained, the sprouts can also be used for making tea.
Pine honey is a remedy in case of sore throat and cough spasm. It is made from spruce sprouts in spring in order to assure plenty of maturation time until winter. Check the trees and pick the sprouts when they grow but aren’t woody yet. Wash the sprouts with hot water, let them dry and put into a jar. Fill the jar with honey and place it on sun for 1-2 months. The sun will naturally extract the active substances and volatile oils of spruce sprouts. After maturation strain the honey. The rest of sprouts can be washed with tea in order not to waste any drops of honey. You will enjoy and evaluate the effects of pine honey in wintertime when you have a sore throat.
Pine-cone syrup is also very effective and contains valuable substances.
Its volatile oil is antiseptic, strengthening and refreshing. Pine oil massage is good against tiredness and hangover.
The infusion made of end of the twigs, sprouts and seeds, was used in baths for arthritis, muscle pains, myasthenia, gout – it was also used for cold, thanks to its sudorific effect.
Foot-bath was used against foot perspiration.
Rinsing with spruce tea helps in case of angina.
Inhalation with spruce infusion is good for pulmonary- and respiratory diseases, as well as for frontal sinusitis.
Spruce resin is considered as the best wound healer in case of any cut or stab wound, crusted hand- and foot-skin. The resin is a thick mixture containing resin acid and volatile oils. The resin is produced by needle trees in order to protect themselves against insects. It has a strong antimicrobial effect and hinders bacteria emerge. In traditional medicine all over the world spruce unguent is used for healing and treating arthritis, boils, burn wounds, cold, tuberculosis, cough, diarrhea and other digestion problems, headache, sore throat, rheumatism, stones, tumors and wounds. Spruce resin was used by American Indians for healing skin injuries or cuts.
The unguent can be used on the whole body, several times a day. Put the unguent on the surface and slightly rub in. It is recommended to wash the skin surface with hot water before using the unguent; on clean surface it will be more effective. In order to achieve a better effect, bandage the creamed surface and roll into foil.
Wound unguent can be made of turpentine oil of redwood and white liquid paraffine, if melted and mixed. It prevents infections.
The pine-cone seeds are known for ages. The pine seed contains very valuable substances. It was winkled out from cone by hand; the rest of the seeds were popped out in the oven. It is edible both raw and roasted or ground. It gets rank very fast. The seeds of different pine sorts are edible. It is used as a spice in Asia and Italy in salads or meat. It was known by Indians, Roman soldiers and also in the Eastern cultures, but also by our ancestors.