Manataka American Indian Council



Proudly Presents


Earth Medicine...

January 2011



Medicine for the People

By Walks With Hawks Harvey, BSNH

By Harvey Walks With Hawks Doyle



Pine Recipes for the Home or Tipi


Native Americans or descendants of Native Americans have a special fondness for fragrant herbs used to scent the home.  Smudges of sage are employed specifically today for air purification and fragrance.  Herbal smudges are done by burning the dried herbs of choice. Since it is solstice of the winter then it is easy to pick pine cones and pine needles. You may not realize that pine needles contains 4-5 times the Vitamin C of fresh-squeezed orange juice, and is high in Vitamin A. It is also an expectorant (thins mucus secretions), decongestant, and can be used as an antiseptic wash when cooled. So not only does it taste good, but it's good for you!  


Each variety of pine has its own flavor to impart so experiment and see which needles you like best. And feel free to mix and match! Similar to incense, the smoke or medicinal properties of the needles or cones are carried into the air. They are also used in sweat lodge therapy, cleansing of air before a birth, celebration of marriage and many other important events. These formulas use all natural, organic materials and will not leave behind unwanted chemicals or propellants as do aerosol room fresheners.  The naturally occurring botanical oils will kill airborne germs and leave a calming odor in your environment. If you pick cones and needles; please pick from different trees to be environmental friendly and protect the spirit of the trees.


Pine Room Freshener

     10 pine cones

     Enough water to cover pine cones


Place pine cones in a large pot and fill with cold water until just covered. Let stand in water over night.  Bring to a boil for 30 minutes.  You can either leave on the stove above very low heat to disperse the scent or place cooled solution into a spray bottle.  If using the first method make sure to never leave it unattended or on stove when out of the house.  Also keep out of reach of children. 


Pine Blend

     2 Cups of broken up pine cones

     1 Cup pine needles chopped

     cup rosewood chips (optimal)

     10 drops of cedar wood essential oil (optional)


Place broken pine cones and rosewood chips into a thick plastic bag.  Pound with a hammer until well mixed.  Add pine needles and essential oils and mix well inside of bag...  You can use the mixture in one of three ways.


1.     Take small cloth bags and fill with mixture.  Tie off top and make a small loop.  Hang anywhere that you want to be pleasantly scented.


2.     Put a large pot filled with water on the stove.  Turn heat to low and let water come to aw simmer.   Add half of the blend and let steep in pot.  The steam will carry the smell of the Pine Blend throughout your house.  Remember to never leave the stove unattended or on when you are out of the house.


3.    Take a large pottery or ceramic bowl and place mixture inside.  The bowl can be left on your coffee table or anywhere that needs freshening.  When you notice scent starting to dissipate, then give the blend a few more stirs with a spoon and add a few drops of cedar wood essential oil.


Making Pine Needle Tea:

Collect a small bundle of green needles, the younger the better. (A small handful will be plenty.)

Remove any of the brown, papery sheaths that may remain at the base of the needles. (They just pull right off.)


Chop the needles into small bits, about to inch long.


For a Refreshing Tea:

Heat about a cup of water to just before boiling.

Pour the hot water over about a tablespoon of the chopped needles.

Allow to steep (preferably covered) for 5-10 minutes, until the majority of needles have settled to the bottom of the cup. Enjoy your delicious tea!


For a Medicinal Tea:

(This process releases more of the oils & resins that contain the medicinal compounds, and tastes a little like turpentine.)


Bring about a cup of water to a full boil. Add approximately one tablespoon of chopped needles to the boiling water and cover. Allow the needles to boil in the water for 2-3 minutes.


Remove from heat and allow the tea to continue to steep, covered, until it is cool enough to drink. (Most of the needles should sink to the bottom.) Pour the tea into a mug, leaving the needles behind, and enjoy!


Drink this tea several times a day for maximum medicinal effect. (Make it fresh each time.)

With cold & flu season here:  Pine Needle Tea is a gift of health as well as an enjoyable experience.  And since Pine is best used fresh, it's a perfect excuse to get out & enjoy the change of seasons! 


This information is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to diagnose, cure or is in any way suggestive as far as medicinal advice.