Evergreen pines are being used for ages. The sprouts, cones, seeds, resin and volatile oils of different pine species were used by ancient Greek, Romans, then by different nationalities in the middle ages.
Pick the sprouts and the developing reddish cones in the spring. The expression „sprout” refers to the young stems and pine-needles that can be used for extracting volatile oils. 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.
Preparations made of volatile oils of pine-needles are used in baths as a remedy for rheumatic pains, as well as a scent in cosmetic products.
The active substances in spruce sprouts have expectorant effects, it is used for making cough syrup that works as a natural expectorant, tempers cough and sore throat, soothes the respiratory tracts. It contains acid ascorbic, pine-needle resin, tannins, minerals, B2- and K-vitamins, carotinoides and volatile oil.
Cough syrup can be made cold or hot from spring sprouts, it also strengthens the immune system. The advantage of cold preparations is that we prevent the valuable components to be destroyed during boiling. Place alternately sprouts and sugar layers into a jar, close the jar and keep it at room temperature, protected from direct sunlight. In a few days the sprouts change their color and succumb, so we can add more layers. After this process mix it and keep it closed. If the sugar is not melted, add a bit of water (0,5-1,5 dl) to stimulate maturation. When the sprouts become pale in the syrup, strain it and pour the syrup into bottles.
The syrup can be prepared through boiling the sprouts, but this way the valuable substances might get decomposed. Place 3 kg sprouts into 10 l pot and boil in water for 5 minutes. Steep it for one day, and then strain the liquid. Add 1 kg of sugar to every liter, boil and stir it until the sugar melts, then pour the syrup into bottles.
Spruce sprouts can be used with other medicinal plants for tea; it has a very pleasant taste and beneficial effects.
Bernáth J. (szerk.). (2000): Gyógy- és aromanövények. (Medicinal and aromatic plants) Mezőgazda Kiadó, Budapest. 3. kiadás
Mészáros E. (é.n.): Termeszthető gyógynövények. (Cultivating medicinal plants) Anno Kiadó
Pakot M. (szerk.). (2011): Gyümölcsízek- és illatok Udvarhelyszéken. Civitas Alapítvány a Polgári Társadalomért (Taste and scent of fruits in Odorhei region. Civitas Foundation for Civil Society)