inner bark, needles
As Autumn sends much of the plant world into repose for the winter, the winter herbs become that much more visible. These are the hardy ones; and, as Nature intended, those most capable of helping us with winter ailments.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), winter correlates with the urinary system, and as the energy of the body is in the kidneys and bladder, these issues surface more during this season. But wait – we’re not in winter yet. It’s still fall, which is Lung season… and probably why my trusted accomplice has been munching on fresh pine needles on our hikes, lately.
White Pine bridges autumn and winter. Though primarily an antiseptic, its medicinal actions support both lung and urinary. The essential oil of pine is antiseptic and very cleansing to the lungs, and has traditionally been used as a tea for winter colds. In fact, the inner bark was formerly used in cough syrups. This is a great choice for a dog with kennel cough (to be covered in the next post).
Although White Pine is primarily an expectorant, it also has demulcent and diuretic properties, offering a beneficial effect on the kidneys and bladder. Native Americans used pine twigs for lung and kidney ailments.
Dr. Edward Bach used the flower essence of Pine for feeling unworthy and for guilt – those who blame themselves for others’ mistakes – but also fear and rejection. Pine flower essence is indicated for the dog who cringes in fear.
… and this actually ties back in to the lungs and kidneys, as TCM attributes the kidneys with the emotion of fear, and the lungs with grief. The wonder of a holistic model!