This powerful pine needle oil made of foraged pine needles and warming spices makes an excellent skin care oil that will enhance your skin, hair and warm you up during cold winter.
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One of the activities that I enjoy doing during winter is collecting pine needles to make my own pine needle oil. You can use other evergreen conifers too to make this lovely winter oil. Instead of throwing your Christmas tree, use its needles to make this warming and comforting pine needle oil to pamper yourself.
Edible pine needles
Pine trees from the Pinaceae family are edible and easy to find all year long. The best way to identify pine trees is to look at their needles. Pine needles occur in clusters of 2- 5 that are called fascicles and are known for their strong aroma. Meanwhile, fir or spruce needles are attached to the branch rather than a cluster.
When you go foraging for pine needles search for a local species and research them to avoid harvesting any yew (Taxus spp.), whose needles are poisonous. If you are a beginner or interested in safe foraging this online foraging course from Grow Forage Cook Ferment is an excellent source
Pine needle benefits
Externally pine shoots are powerful antioxidants that can help to reverse damaged skin and premature aging. Astringent properties of pine needles help to reduce pore size and are often used in salves or oils. I used its power in this warming brown sugar scrub.
Pine needles are also used for hair treatment in the rinse to help with dandruff or making hair shiny.
This pine infused oil is enhanced with warming herbs and spices to warm you up during cold winter.
Warming herbs and spices
Incorporating warming herbs and spices into our daily routine is an excellent way to increase circulation and warm up during the winter months.
These warming herbs and spices include cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, black pepper. Ginger in addition has an anti-inflammatory action that may help to ease ache and pain.
How to make pine needle oil
When you manage to collect a few branches of pine needles let them sit for one day to dry off the moisture that might be on a surface. Don’t collect needles that already fall down on the ground as they won’t have a strong aroma anymore and more likely develop mold.
Use scissors to cut the needles into smaller pieces or mortar and pestle to gently bruise them
Add other spices such as cinnamon stick, clove or ginger. It is optional but gives additional properties and a warming effect to the oil.
Pour extra virgin olive oil or almond oil into a large-mouth glass jar. Make sure you covered all herbs completely.
Use a clean chopstick to mix all the herbs thoroughly removing all remaining air bubbles.
Place wax paper between the top of the jar and a lid and seal it.
A) Slow infusion method
Place the jar in a dry and warm spot out of sunlight and let it sit in the dark for over a month (4-6 weeks)
Strain the oil with a strainer or funnel with a cheesecloth into a sterile jar get clear pine oil . Label the jar and store in a cool and dark place
B) Quick infusion with a double boiler
If you are in a hurry, have other projects in mind that you want to make with the pine oil soon you can faster the infusion with double boiler.
Set an open jar with oil and herbaceous substances in a saucepan filled with couple of inches of water. I like to use a steam sieve (as per the picture) to place a jar on (You can also use the jar lids to protect the base instead).
Heat on very low heat that will not exceed 40 C (110 F) for 5-6 hours.
Refill the water if it evaporates.
Remove the jar from a saucepan and allow it to cool down
Strain in with cheesecloth, label and store in a cool and dry place.
Pine oil uses
Staying warm during the cold winter months helps us remain balanced. We naturally enjoy places like being near a fireplace or cup of hot mulled wine, tea or bowl of warm soup. This pine oil helps to warm up and increase blood circulation.
It is great for a massage. I like to rub it around my ears down the back of my neck. It also works for foot massage.
Soothing & moisturizing
Winter can be incredibly drying. Artificial heat, cold and low humidity those are the factors that contribute to dry skin. No wonder that our hands or lips are cracked and chapped. The pine oil in the form of salve, cream, or lip balm soothes our skin and keep it moisturized.
Sore muscles relief
Pine oil encourages blood flow and helps heal achy muscles or rheumatic pain. Add few drops of oil to the bath or massage affected areas with the pine oil
Add few drops of eucalyptus essential oil into a 1 spoon of pine oil and rub it on your chest for relief
Pine oil adstringent properties are often used in salves to prevent aging and reduce pore size
Pine needle oil for hair
Winter also contributes to your hair and nails to be brittle and thin. Apply 6 drops of essential pine oil into 1 tablespoon of pine infused oil and apply to the thinning spot twice a day. Repeat the process for at least 4 weeks to see results
Pine oil medicinal properties are also valued in a beard balm, like in this rosemary pine beard balm!
Few drops of pine oil rubbed on your wrist or temples gain some aromatherapy benefits.
Don’t be confused with pine essential oil. What we have been making here is a pine infused oil which is very diluted alternative to pine essential oil and is not toxic. However Pine essential oil is obtained by the steam distillation of pine needles from a variety of species of pine, It contains a large amount of turpentine. This pine essential oil is often used in aromatherapy or as a disinfectant. According to Wikipedia, it has a low human toxicity level, however, it can irritate the skin and mucous membranes and has been known to cause breathing problems.