Thursday, 19 February 2009

Ethnomedica: Pine Trees and Bark Baths

Further to the recently pine-scented theme, here are a couple of other Ethnomedica "Remembered Remedies" that I've dug out:
Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
Used to ease muscles. It worked and is still used by Anon. It is prepared in the following way:
"bark-small pieces put in the bath"
Anon has used this remedy since 2000 and learned of it from their Mother in Yorkshire, England when they were 15 years old. Anon has told friends about this remedy and has also passed the knowledge to the Ethnomedica project so that it can be safeguarded for future generations. (ref:48P)
I've heard of bark-baths before and must remember to try one some time to see if it's as soothing as it sounds. This second one, however, is new to me and I wish all medicine was like this:
Pine tree (Pinus sp.)
Used to treat whooping cough. Anon isn't sure if it worked and hasn't used it since they were a small child when they remember being taken out to:
"inhale air in the pine woods"
Anon used this remedy in 1955 and learned of it from their Mother in Kent, England. Anon has passed this knowledge to the Ethnomedica project so that it can be safeguarded for future generations. (ref:36P)

Imagine your doctor telling you to spend time in a beautiful forest to get better. What a treat that would be! Could inhaling pine-forest air have any genuine therapeutic benefit? Well I can only imagine it doing good. Think how relaxing it is to breathe in that green aroma, and take in those calming colours. Just the vaguest scent of spring is enough to give me a real boost, let alone a whole forests worth of life and vitality.

It could be argued that such effects are purely psychological, but there's no denying the potency of essential oils when added to a steam bath, so to stand surrounded by air so thoroughly imbued with their scent must have a pretty substantial effect when combined with that of such a therapeutic environment.

photos: Menchi (cone) & Szeder László (forest)

Please note that reference to a plant by the Ethnomedica project is no guarantee of its safety or efficacy. Please consult a suitably qualified practitioner before taking herbal medicines.


If you know any traditional plant remedies passed on to you by family or friends I would love to hear from you. Please use the link below to access the contributions page. All memories are of interest. Whether it be dock leaves for nettles stings or honey and lemon for a sore throat, please pass on your knowledge now.

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