Healing medicinal qualities of Evergreen Trees:
Decorating the Christmas tree is an ancient tradition from a time when various trees and plants were honoured during different seasons. In northern Europe the evergreen tree is celebrated at around the time of winter solstice. The festivities of decorating and dancing around the evergreen tree were held in the deep of winter when there was very little plant life and the ground seemed like it would never thaw out.
The everlasting green of the evergreen trees instill hope that the warmth and green of spring will come again. Instead of dancing around the tree outside, we have taken this ritual to an extreme by bringing a tree into every household to decorate.
The evergreen trees that we bring into our homes at Christmas time are primarily cedar, fir and pine trees. These trees not only heal us as their color and scent fill our homes, but they all have very valuable medicinal qualities that we can thank them for.
The medicine of the cedar tree has been used for thousands of years and has many healing uses. Cedar helps to cleanse the energy field of your house. Having a cedar tree or boughs of cedar in your home is like doing a big spring (in this case, winter) cleaning. The strong aromatic smell of cedar is anti-bacterial and helps keep the winter flu at bay.
The fresh and dried green cedar needles can be made into a tea and used in small doses against colds, flu and bronchial infections. Cedar tea has a very strong taste and should not be used long term. A cup of cedar tea here and there during the winter months will help fight off colds.
You can also take your fresh or dried cedar leaves and put them in a pot of water and simmer them on low for about one half hour. The aroma of cedar will fill your home and the antibacterial properties of the cedar will disinfect the house and help keep everyone well.
The medicine of the pine tree has long been associated with longevity. Pine needle tea is high in vitamin C and is a great remedy for winter colds and coughs. It also helps to reduce phlegm from a runny nose or head cold. Pine needle tea is a diuretic so only drink it for a couple days at a time.
Taking a bath with several quarts of warm pine needle tea poured into the bathtub helps cold and sore joints. (Check out my eBook on How to Create Healing Herbal Baths). You can also just put bunches of dried or fresh pine needles into your bathtub.
We take lots of short winter hikes whenever the sun peaks out. I love to put sprigs of pine needles in my water bottle and drink the pine needle water while walking in the forest.
How to Make Pine Needle Tea
– 2 cups water
– 2 tablespoons fresh or dried chopped pine needles
– 1 tablespoon honey
1. Put water and pine needles in a pot with the lid on
2. Bring water and pine needles to a boil and then turn off the heat and let sit for one hour
3. Using a metal strainer, strain out the pine needles and re-heat the tea
4. Drink one to three cups a day at the onset of a cold. This tea can be very drying to your body, so only drink it occasionally or for a couple of days at a time.
How to Make a Disinfecting Cedar Steam
1. Make a batch of cedar tea in the same way as described to make pine needle tea
2. Instead of leaving the lid on the pot when making the tea, leave the lid off the entire time
3. Once the tea has come to a boil, instead of turning the heat off, turn it down to the very lowest setting
4. Let the cedar tea gently simmer on the very lowest heat for 15 minutes. The steam will carry the anti-microbial oils from the cedar into the air in your house
5. Turn off the heat, let the tea sit on the stove until it is cool, then pour it into your bath, use it to wash your hands with or pour it into your garden.
I love making a cedar steam before people come over during the holidays. People love the crisp, clean smell and life is more pleasant with the aroma of cedar filling up the house!