The piñon pine is a sacred high desert tree.
The air was thick with the smell of piñon pine the first night I arrived in New Mexico from the Oregon coast with 2 cats, a dog, and all of my material possessions. The crisp night air smelled sweet and delicious and the stars were out in full effect. I knew I had made the right decision to come to the Land of Enchantment.
The piñon pine is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico and is the state tree of New Mexico. It grows in arid climates at high altitudes between 4500-8500 feet and can be found alongside junipers, sagebrush, and rabbitbrush in the high desert. They are slow growing, usually taking 180 years for their trunk reach one foot in diameter.
They have been revered in native cultures for thousands of years for food, shelter, spiritual, and medicinal needs. They produce a crop of delicious and nutritious pine nuts every 3-7 years which are a great source of protein, and high in niacin and riboflavin. Legend has it that Moctezuma, the Aztec king, was born from a piñon nut. The needles are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, and can be made into a yummy, grounding tea. The wood is used to heat homes and as a building material. Which brings us to my favorite part of this amazing tree, the resin.
Piñon pine resin has been used in Native American medicinal and spiritual practices for centuries, and is known for it's healing and high vibrational properties. The tree produces the resin to heal itself from damage, disease, or pest infestation, and can help us humans heal our own wounds. The resin is naturally antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal. Piñon pine salve can be used to treat abrasions, bruises, inflammation, burns, eczema, dermatitis, and bug bites. It is incredibly soothing and moisturizing for cuticles and dry skin, keeping hands and feet nice and soft in the harsh winter months.
If you want to transport yourself to the sunshiney mountains of the high desert, get some piñon pine goodness in your life. Make some pesto with pine nuts, drink some immune boosting pine needle tea, prune a little guy into a bonsai tree, burn some piñon pine incense to bring about a peaceful, grounded state of being, or use a nourishing salve made from the resin. The piñon pine is truly a tree to be cherished.
If you would like to get some of my yummy wildcrafted piñon pine salve, click here: