Learn how to make Piñon Pine Resin Salve as a wonderful addition to your first aid kit for topical skin support, pain relief, and respiratory congestion.
One of my favorite things to create and do is stock my bathroom cabinets and first aid kid with locally sourced and made salves and soaps.
Here in the desert Southwest, we have an abundance of natural plants and matter that can be beneficial for edible and herbal uses. The first one that comes to mind is creosote salve made with wildcrafted creosote sourced from the desert.
Pine trees can likewise be beneficial for edible and herbal uses – pine needles can be used to make pine needle jelly, and the sticky resin that you often times get on skin and clothes is amazing for skin, too.
Sourcing Pine Resin
The resin from evergreen trees is very much useful for making pine resin salve. Historically it has been used for topical wound care. In this article, I’m focusing on the Pinon Pine species but other species can also be used (ponderosa, spruce, fir, even pitch).
Every species smells slightly different – some may have a stronger scent to the resin while others may be somewhat musky. You’ll want to find out what’s available in your area or source resin from another area with a smell that may be more appealing to you.
Harvesting Pine Resin
Resin is and has been great for topical skin care for years – but the main purpose behind pine resin is to maintain the health of the tree. The pine resin works to seal wounds on the tree which subsequently creates a barrier to future possible infections/fungus/bacteria. The cells of the tree create the resin and directs the resin through ducts that can, in turn, “seal” the wound and keep the tree healthy (source).
When harvesting resin, it’s important to be as careful as possible – you don’t want to harvest the resin in such a way that it interferes with the health of the tree.
The piñon pine tree produces considerable resin — so it’s easier to harvest resin from these trees without affecting the overall health of the tree in general. In colder weather, the sap will be harder while in warmer weather, the piñon sap will be much softer.
Uses for Pine Salve
Wild crafted piñon sap from the high deserts of Arizona and New Mexico has been used for centuries for topical skin relief. Not only does piñon sap boost the immune system by giving the body the ability to fight skin infections, it can also provide relief for irritated skin.
It also supports healthy skin reconstruction, and is highly effective for supporting skin conditions such as acne, dry feet, rashes, burns, fungal infections bug bites, scarring and more.
The terpenes in pine resin are helpful for respiratory congestion and the salve can be used as a chest rub to support healthy respiratory function. Pine resin salve can also be used for soothing painful muscular and joint aches.
How to Make Piñon Pine Resin Salve
Working with pine resin can be a messy, sticky experience. I like to use a dedicated set of equipment when making salves and lip balms.
Large chunks of pine resin can take quite a long time to melt and combine with oil in a double broiler – as a result, it’s important to break up the pine resin chunks into smaller pieces. The best way to do this is to freeze the pine resin; once hardened, place it in several layers of thick, paper bags and then beat with a hammer or mallet until the pine resin has broken into smaller pieces.
Once melted and combined in a double broiler, strain the resin through a fine cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Add the beeswax, combine with the resin/oil and then pour into your tins and allow to harden.
Pine Resin Salve
- 1/4 C pine sap resin
- 1/2 C oil choose from olive, almond, rice bran or grapeseed
- 1/2 - 1 oz beeswax pellets
- Add the pine resin to your oil in a double broiler.
- Heat on low heat until the resin melts inside the oil.
- Stir the mixture well to combine; then strain the mixture through a fine cheesecloth or a coffee filter/strainer.
- Add the beeswax; heat on low until the mixture has combined.
- Pour into tins or small jars (.5 oz, 1 or 2 oz) and store in a cool place.
Looking for more herbal salves? Try any of these DIY’s: