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You’ve had that lovely Christmas tree in your home for the last month or so but now Christmas is over… how sad… now you have to say goodbye to that Christmas tree. If you are like me you might be a bit more sad about the money you spent on a one-use decoration (what can I say, I’m a penny pincher). But wait! You don’t have to just toss that Christmas tree out just yet! You can actually make quite a few goodies with those pine needles (or fir needles because most Christmas trees seem to be firs and not pines). That’s right, I’ve gathered up a great collection of herbal ways to reuse your Christmas tree!
Important note: Pretty much any pine or fir tree is safe to use except for the ponderosa pine and the yew tree. Both of which, I’ve not heard of being used as Christmas trees so you are probably ok unless, you are frolicking through the woods, in which case good for you and make sure you properly identify that tree before making your goodies (Here is a great post on foraging for pine needles). I’ve also heard that Australian Pine and Norfolk Island Pine are toxic but those seem to be more iffy as some sources seemed to think they were not toxic.
*Pregnant women should stay clear of consuming pine.
Benefits of Pine
First, a little about pine (or fir or spruce… they are different trees but they are pretty similar when it comes to herbal benefits, so these ideas will work whether you have a pine, fir, or spruce.). If you are like me, to probably didn’t realize pine was used in herbal remedies and DIYs. I mean… it’s a tree and I just don’t think of trees as herbs; aren’t herbs tiny plants? Yeah….. no! Pine has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy and it needs to make a comeback!
Pine is probably most famously known for it’s respiratory benefits. As a decongestant and expectorant, it’s great for helping with coughs and congestion. It’s also the kid safe alternative to eucalyptus and rosemary which is why I use pine in my kid-friendly vapor rub.
Pine is also an anti-inflammatory which means it can be helpful for pain and swelling which makes it great for muscles aches and headaches. It can also help with chronic diseases like arthritis.
Pine is antiseptic, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral! This makes it a natural choice for cleaning products (Pine-sol anyone? No… strike that, don’t go with Pine-sol you don’t want those ingredients. Just use pine needles or oil in your cleaning products!) The anti-everything aspect also means it’s great for treating issues like psoriasis, eczema, athlete’s foot, and more.
Rich in Vitamins A and C
Pine is high in both vitamins A and C. It’s been said that the Native Americans taught settlers how to make pine nettle tea to ward off scurvy.
Pine can also help calm down the nerves and allow us to relax.
Of Pesticides and Paint
Most Christmas trees are likely sprayed with pesticides. Obviously pesticide free trees would be the preferred choice to use for these pine DIYs, however, you might get away with using a produce wash on the needles before using. I’ve not tested to see if you can actually remove pesticides from pine with just a produce wash so the choice is all up to you.
Some Christmas tress are actually painted! What?!!! I did not know about this until this year. I have heard of flocking and I guess I’ve heard of painting trees in odd shades (pink anyone?) but sometimes trees are painted green! Because umm apparently they aren’t green enough. If your tree was painted then sadly you are out of luck.
Herbal Ways to Reuse Your Christmas Tree / Herbal Ways to Use Evergreens
Pine Bath Salts for Natural Stress Relief – Learning and Yearning
Peppermint Pine Headache Salve – Reformation Acres
Douglas Fir Forest Friend Tea – Nitty Gritty Life
Evergreen Balm – Herb Mentor
Pine Needle Cough Syrup – Knowledge Weighs Nothing
Christmas Tree Herbal Steam – Living Awareness
Evergreen Salve – Hobby Farms
Rejuvenating Pine Vinegar Hair Rinse – The PistachioProject
Rosemary Pine Beard Balm – Grow Forage Cook Ferment
Blue Spruce Balm – Wholistic Woman
Body Butter with Evergreen – Learning Herbs
Red Tinted Evergreen Lip Balm – Learning Herbs
Moisturizing Evergreen Salt Scrub – Learning Herbs
Pine Needle Facial Toner – Home Talk
Frankincense & Pine Soap – Happy Deal Happy Day
Evergreen Home Goods
Pine Needle Sugar Cookies – Learning and Yearning
Douglas Fir Shortbread Cookies – Nitty Gritty Life
Douglas Fir Infused Eggnog – Nitty Gritty Life
Pine Needle Salad Dressing – Learning and Yearning
Sprouted Chickpea Hummus with Pine Needle – Bacon is Magic
Evergreen Syrup – Herb Geek
Pine Needle Survival Tea – Chickadee Homestead
Pine Needle Powder – Homegrown in the Valley
Pine Needle and Raspberry Soda – Learning and Yearning
Grand Fir Pots de Creme – Gather
Grand Fir Dark Nougat – Gather
Pine Smoked Chicken – The Splendid Table
Smoked Salmon in Pine Needles – Akis Petretzikis
Pine Needle Oil – WNYC (sub a healthier oil)
Spruce Butter – The New York Times
Pine Infused Garlic Salt – Root Simple
Pine Needle Sauce – Epicurious (sub a healthier oil)
White Pine & Rosemary Ice Cream – Apt. 2B Baking Co.
Pine Needle Cake – The Wilderness Center
Lemonade with Pine Needle – FDRrecipes