Have you ever been to a place where pine trees are very abundant? Have you ever seen pine trees that come in different sizes and shapes? In the Philippines, Baguio City, known as the “City of Pines,” is famous for its widely distributed pine trees. From their different tourist spots to their neighborhoods, pine trees are everywhere.
However, most people only know the appearance and location of pine trees. Unknown to many, these trees have many benefits. Even their parts have their own uses. Pine trees can provide shade, clean the air, and be used to make arts and crafts. More importantly, they have many good benefits for our health.
When talking about the benefits of pine trees for health, people also ask which pine tree has the most health benefits. Pine trees have several species, and each is unique. Most species have health benefits just like any other pine tree. Those members of the pine family which are native to the Philippines are the Benguet Pine or saleng (Pinus insularis) and the Mindoro Pine or tapulao (Pinus merkusii).
However, pine trees are more famously known in Benguet and Baguio City. If you have ever seen Benguet pine trees or Baguio pine trees, you may be wondering how you can put these trees to good use. If you think about trees, you will immediately think about pine tree leaves, but aside from them, almost everything in a pine tree can be useful.
If you experience any stubborn congestion or sinusitis which ruins your daily life, you can create pine needle tea or use it in steam as a decongestant for your upper respiratory tract. Aside from that, this tea supports healthy digestion, can act as a mild diuretic, and even calms the nerves.
Which Pine Trees are Safe for Tea?
It is important to know that all pine tree needles can be used safely for tea, so recognizing which ones are safe and which are toxic is very helpful. Among those edible ones are the following:
Black and Red spruce
Yellow and Black birch
If you come across the White Pine, consider yourself lucky, as this pine tree is the most delicious.
Proper tea preparation will also help bring out its natural taste and scent. Additionally, if you feel fatigued and exhausted and have arthritic joints that you want to ease, soak these pine needles in a bath, and you’re good to go.
It is important to know that all pine tree needles can be used safely for tea, so recognizing which ones are safe and which are toxic is very helpful. Proper tea preparation will also help bring out its natural taste and scent. Additionally, if you feel fatigued and exhausted and have some arthritic joints that you want to ease, soak these pine needles in a bath, and you’re good to go.
Buds almost have the same use as pine needles. They may be used to relieve chronic bronchitis and tuberculosis. They can also be added to baths for arthritis and skin ailments.
For people working in a stressful environment, pine tree benefits will be very helpful to you. Pine pollen is characterized as an adaptogen meaning it can adapt and support the body’s ability to navigate stress and, at the same time, balance hormones, promote better sleep, and also support the immune system.
Additionally, you can add pollen to your beauty regimen and apply it to your face as a beauty treatment and anti-aging option as it is anti-inflammatory. They also have antioxidant properties and protect your cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. To avoid these harmful molecules, you must also ensure that you practice living a stress-free life in an environment that prioritizes a healthy lifestyle.
Pine Wood or Bark
To use the bark of a pine tree, it is important to know that you need to try to harvest bark from branches that you need to prune. First, strip off the outer bark before harvesting the softer inner bark. This may be used in tea or as a topical poultice. Upon boiling, the inner bark can be used internally for constipation or hemorrhoids, while externally, you can soak and pound the inner bark and apply it to sores, burns, or hemorrhoids.
Other Pine Tree Benefits
Aside from the direct health benefits of pine trees, other benefits can help make our lives better. In choosing a home and an environment for your family, you must consider these benefits.
Shade and Windbreak
Benguet pine trees and Baguio pine trees are known for their towering heights. The pine tree leaves will provide shade to your house and protect your home from the sun. This will help keep your air conditioning unit from working so hard in keeping your home cooled down.
Pine tree leaves from this large tree will stop the moisture from evaporating quickly from your lawn and keep it green and looking good. As the leaves are also sturdy, they also make the best windbreaks out there.
Even the cool wind won’t make the pine trees lose their foliage and break in the rainy season. As the climate changes in the Philippines from summer to the rainy season, think of ways to protect your home as early as now.
Erosion Control and Mulch
Soil erosion is a natural occurrence due to soil exposure to water and wind. Despite that, the deep roots of many pine trees can help hold the soil in place, keep the soil condition good, and combat erosion in many ways. Pine needles contribute to this by providing a buffer between heavy rain and the topsoil. It keeps the topsoil from being worn away by wind and rain while the roots hold the soil in place by soaking up water and keeping it from washing away.
Additionally, if you have a green thumb and want to keep your lawn nice and green, pine needles also make a good ground cover and mulch by covering areas of ground, locking in moisture, and suppressing weeds. The slightly serrated edges of pine needles “lock” together, making it more wind-resistant and better than grass clippings containing weed seeds.
Just gather a large number of fresh pine needles, cover them with vinegar or vodka in a jar, seal it and store it in a cool, dark place for around six weeks. If you want to make it more pine-scented, leave it for a longer time before you pour it into a spray bottle and use it around the house!
Lastly, of course, an important pine tree benefit is its contribution to our environment. As we know, trees absorb carbon dioxide and, in turn, release oxygen. If you look at the air quality in the Philippines, most of the places ranked in the top 10 highly polluted locations are cities. In a place like Benguet and Baguio City, where pine trees are abundant, there will be fewer effects of pollution as compared to places where buildings and other air pollutants occupy the majority of the space.
This is why most home and condominium owners turn to gardening to keep a greener environment despite being in the city. Major contributors to the relative cleanliness of the air in these places are the Benguet pine trees and the Baguio pine trees. The pine tree leaves function as broadleaf, which helps remove deadly gaseous air pollution, thus maintaining clean air.
Which Pine Tree has the Most Health Benefits?
Now that we’ve familiarized ourselves with the parts of pine trees and their health benefits, it’s also a good idea to know some of the many pine species that can best benefit you and your family. Of most notable are the following:
1) Whitebark Pine
This pine tree is native and mostly found in the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada. It is considered a keystone in the mountain ecosystem as it protects watersheds, regulates snowmelt runoffs, and prevents soil erosion by stabilizing poorly developed soils.
Further adding to its beauty are its health benefits, including a high level of Vitamin C and its ability to help treat colds, flu, and sore throat.
2) Benguet Pine
Benguet Pine or Pinus kesiya, is one of Asia’s most highly distributed pine species. This can be found in India, China, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. It can grow up to 30-35 meters tall in a moist environment with an elevation of about 300-2700 meters high.
3) Ponderosa Pine
The Ponderosa pine is named after its ponderous or heavy wood, making it the major lumber tree in the Southwest. They can grow up to 200 feet and are easily recognizable by their tall, straight, thick trunks measuring as long as 3-4 feet across.
4) Lodgepole Pine
Lodgepole pine is a highly adaptable pine tree that grows throughout the west to the Pacific Ocean, as far north as the Yukon, and south to Baja California. It can grow in cold areas, wet winters, and dry summers. It can also grow in meadows, gentle slopes, rocky slopes, and ridges.
5) Pitch Pine
This pine tree can be found in countries such as the United States and Canada. It is a good wildlife food with low water requirement and can grow in dry nesoil. Additionally, it can be found under the list of herbs used for medicinal purposes.
6) Pinyon Pine
Pinyon pine can grow up to 30 feet tall. It is usually found in higher elevations and in dry and rocky soils. They have edible seeds, and when their woods are burned, they can act as a natural mosquito and insect repellant. Parts of it can also be used as an expectorant or a remedy for respiratory problems.
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