Pine sap has anti-microbial and respiratory properties.
Recently I and my foraging companion, Joanne, attended a medicinal herb walk where we learned about the pharmacy beneath our feet.
A couple of weeks ago Joanne and I returned to Cherry Hill Park to gather some of the items we'd learned about.
I gathered pine sap, mullien, sheep sorrel, and a bit more yarrow to add to my herbal medicine chest.
I had just enough pine sap to make a small batch of salve for use on cuts and scrapes.
And, pine sap - infused in honey or made into a tincture - is good for coughs, colds, and many respiratory issues due to its anti-microbial actions. Next time I gather some sap, I'll make cough syrup or a pine sap tincture.
Because I spend time rummaging around in the forest I first wanted a pine salve to apply to cuts, nicks, scrapes, and bites.
Joanne and her dog, Sophie, on one of our foraging expedition to Cherry Hill and yes, there really are cherry trees there!
My gathered pine sap came to about two tablespoons worth
Rather than gathering the still sticky pine sap, I gathered some that had solidified a bit for easier handling.
Pine sap, due to its very sticky nature, collects a lot of dirt and bits of bark.
To make a tiny batch of pine salve you'll need:
A small sauce pan for boiling about 1/2 an inch of water
Two small clean tin cans (don't melt the sap in kitchen ware!)
A mesh filter or closely woven sieve (used only for salve making)
A chopstick or wooden skewer for stirring
2 TBS raw, unfiltered pine sap
1-1/2 TBS olive oil
3/4 tsp grated or pelleted beeswax
A lidded tin or small jar for storing the finished salve
Add the pine sap to one of the cans. Set the can into the saucepan. Bring the water to a low boil. The sap will begin to melt quite quickly. Use the chopstick for stirring.
Once the sap is melted, add the olive oil and let the mixture heat up. Stir to blend the oil into the sap. The addition of olive oil will make the sap easier to pour and filter.
Arrange your filter (I used an old tea filter) in or over the second can. Pour the sap/olive oil mixture from the first can through the filter into the second can.
A fine-mesh filter will screen out the debris from the pine sap
About half the volume of my pine sap consisted of dirt and bits of bark
Place the can with the filtered sap back into the saucepan and bring the water back to a simmer. Add 3/4 teaspoon of beeswax and stir in. Allow the beeswax to melt completely and give it a final stir.
Pour the liquid salve into a a small tin or lidded jar and allow to cool and harden. As it thickens it will go from a glossy liquid to an opaque salve.
My pine salve is now thickened, cooled, ready to store and use
Notes: Wear an old apron to protect your clothes from the sticky sap in case of spills or drips. Pine sap is so pervasively sticky - even when melted - that it will be very hard to remove all its residue from anything it spills onto. With the addition of olive oil and beeswax the stickiness is tamed significantly.
Collecting semi-hardened pine sap will make things much easier than sap in its gooey, semi-liquid form.
The finished salve isn't sticky.
You could try using coco butter or solid coconut oil instead of beeswax, although you may need to add more to create a salve that will set well. Simply allow the salve to cool. If it's not solid enough melt in more of your substitute oils until it cools to the texture you want. Then, reheat and pour into a storage container.