Eastern White Pine Uses

Photo:

Joshua Ralph via Unsplash

White pine uses include the sensation of opening the lungs, throat, and sinuses, leading to a feeling of warmth, comfort, and stimulation. Eastern White pine, scientifically named Pinus strobus, is a tall and mighty conifer tree falling under the Pinaceae family. Also known as the soft pine, this species is native to eastern North American regions, including Newfoundland in Canada and Alabama in the United States. Thus, it is also popular as an eastern or northern white pine.

Brought to England

The English explorer and captain of the British Royal Army, George Weymouth, smuggled white pine seeds into the United Kingdom in 1605. He was quite fascinated by the plant. Since then, it has been famous as the Weymouth pine in England, named after the captain.

These majestic-looking trees are long-living and generally live for 200 to 250 years. Some of the longest-surviving ones are even found to be up to 400 years old. Like their life span, the white pines have been significant to humans and animals for several generations.

From the Native American Iroquois tribes to colonialists to the people of the modern age, this species of plant has been useful for everyone who knows its importance. In the past, the British and Americans used them to build big structures, mostly ships. However, as time went by, people learned to use it for various purposes and, thus, shed light on its multiple benefits.

The list of its benefits and uses goes on. However, in this article below, we will look into some of them.

Medicinal Value and Vitamin C

Initially, new settlers restricted white pine use to construction purposes. But they later discovered that white pine needles are richer in vitamin C than even citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that has various health benefits. In addition to stabilizing immunity in the body, it helps enhance the functioning of our nervous system and heal wounds. Similarly, sufficient vitamin C in our body protects us from severe diseases like scurvy.

Inhaling deeply while standing close to a pine tree feels like your lungs and airway passages are being cleared and refreshed.

The white pine resin has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can accelerate the healing of boils, insect bites, sores, etc.

Similarly, people use white pine needle tea as an herbal tea known to treat health problems like coughing and chest congestion. Moreover, it is helpful in curing sore throats, flu, influenza, etc. too.

Pine tar, produced from roots and branches, is used as a treatment for worm infection, dandruff, etc. It can also be used for the manufacture of turpentine oil.

The nations of the Adirondacks (a word which means “tree eaters”) ate the inner bark of White Pines as one of their primary winter foods.I slice a strip from the underside of a small limb, thanking the tree for its gifts of nourishment. The antiseptic sensation in my throat as I chew brings to mind “Pine Brothers’ Cough Drops.” I feel my lungs open, my throat open, my sinuses open, warmed and stimulated by White Pine, lofty yet generous tree

Susun S Weed, Botanical.com

Lumbering

The lumbering and selling of white pines have been in practice for centuries. In the 19th century, before industrialization took place in America, many of these trees were harvested and sent to lumber yards everywhere.

As it had huge market demands for a number of uses, including building cases, artworks, ships, houses, farms, etc., the plant had great commercial value. For that reason, it was one of the most sought-after plants in those times.

In addition, it was commonly found and was easy to chop off, so it was also the lumbermen’s favorite. There was no urgency in processing the chopped trees so they could be used for various purposes after years of preservation.

Furthermore, its wood is used for paneling, constructing furniture, flooring, etc.

Food

Most parts of the white pine tree are edible, and the Native American people in Northern America have been consuming food derived from it for decades. The cambium, which is the soft inner bark, is dried, ground, and used as flour.

Similarly, the young pine cones are used for preparing soup and are very tasty. The Ojibwe people mix it with meat, which people say is very sweet. Although its seeds are nutritious, they are not as tasty as the seeds of some other types of pines, namely western nut pines.

Besides humans, the larva of Lusk’s pine moth survives and grows into adults just by feeding on white pine.

Peacemaker Tree for Indigenous Communities

It may sound odd to most people, but the existence of white pine trees has great value among Indigenous communities. Different communities from various places, such as Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, and Onandaga, believe that the pine tree symbolizes peace and think of all as one nation.

In the 12th century, a native American leader named Dekanawidah brought together the chiefs of all the warring communities and made a peace agreement, making sure that they would never fight one another and remain integrated from then on.

To demonstrate their unity, he used the five white pine needles clustered together, each one representing a community. Following that successful pact, the chiefs of each tribe used to meet under the white pine tree to commemorate the Great Peace.

This traditional belief continues to this day, due to which the white pine tree is also known as the Peacemaker Tree or the tree of peace.

Support for Birds

Chickadees are one of the bird species that benefit from numerous aspects of the Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus), including seed from its cones. Reaching heights of up to 30 meters and growing best in full sun and tolerating partial shade, it provides protection for birds. This native tree, Ontario’s emblem, thrives in a wide range of soil types, including clay, loam, sand, and organic soil.

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