The first time I read about the wonderful benefits and uses of pine resin, I was surprised that I had never thought of using the abundant amber sap that dripped along the bark of several of our trees! As a child, I learned my lesson early on to steer clear of the sticky mess. I remember my Mother not thrilled the time I came home with sap ALL over my clothes and in my hair. Whoops! SoI started looking up different recipes and ways to use pine resin and after a couple tweaks and trials and errors, I have created a very simple hand salve using the pine resin. I decided to gift these to all the men in my family along with a beard oil, a pine scented soap, and an essential oil rollerball.
What is pine resin?
Pine resin is the harvested tree sap of a pine tree. It is usually flowing out of a cut branch or damaged part of the tree. I see it as a kind of scab as the pine resin is actually helping to heal the tree. It is produced as a protective layer to seal physical wounds. We have several large pine trees in our back yard that my husband had cut some low branches off of so he could get the mower under them. All of these cut branches have an abundance of sap covering them and even dripping down the bark onto the ground.
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How to harvest
Collecting the sap is fairly easy, but messy. I collect it on the areas it is excessive and flowing underneath the ‘wound”. If you collect in the Summer, it will be softer and in my opinion, much more of a sticky mess. Harvesting the sap in the Fall and Winter months is a bit easier. I just use an old butter knife and kind of saw it off. If it’s cold enough outside, the sap could just pop off because it will be pretty hard. I use an old spaghetti jar to collect it. I took just a little from each tree so the resin could keep doing what it was meant for- healing the tree.
What can you use this salve for?
This salve can be used on cuts, scrapes, rashes, and dry cracked hands. It can be used as a lip balm, as a first aid ointment in the wilderness (pine resin has antimicrobial properties), and even as fuel for an emergency torch or to start a fire.
How to make a pine resin + calendula hand salve
I made a larger batch of this hand salve to gift for Christmas. If you are looking for a smaller batch, just cut this recipe in half. For this batch, I used a calendula-infused oil that I made back in the Fall, but you can use any oil. If you want to use calendula-infused oil, check out this article that has a simple tutorial to follow. I love using calendula-infused oil in a lot of my herbal recipes because calendula is so calming to the skin and has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits.
- 1 1/2 C pine resin
- 1 1/2 C oil (olive, grapeseed, avocado, jojoba, hemp seed etc. or any herbal-infused oil of your choice) I used 1 C of a calendula-inufused oil I had on hand + 1/2 a C of grapeseed oil)
- slightly rounded 1/4 C of beeswax pastilles
- Melt the resin a bit in a double broiler (or to start I used this thick glass spaghetti jar I used to collect the resin and had is sitting in about 2 inches of water.) Keep the temperature low.
- Add the oil and give it a stir and let the entire mixture melt. I had some large chunks in there so it took about an hour to fully melt.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer (I did this twice and had a lot of bark and pine needles and dirt to strain out) I had just over 2 C liquid oil/resin left
- Return the melted resin and oil to the double broiler and add in the beeswax pastilles
- Gently heat and once melted, pour into jars or containers
- Let sit to cool and solidify
- Don’t forget to label !
I made simple labels “pine calendula” on the lids with my favorite embossing label maker, and on the bottom of the containers I glued on a round label I made that gives instructions on how to use the salve.
You can print off the instruction labels HERE.
This recipe filled 10 of these tin containers perfectly!
I made enough for all 4 brother-in-laws, my dad, my father-in-law, and a couple left for my family. These are a wonderful addition to a wilderness first aid kit and to just have sitting on your nightstand to patch up your kiddo’s scraped knees or your hubby’s chapped hands. You’ll find that in the Summer, the salve will be softer and in the Winter, it will be harder. If you store this salve in a cool dark place, it will also last much longer.
If you try this pine resin + calendula hand salve, I would love to see it! Tag me @mymountainwild on Instagram.
A peak at one of the Christmas gifts I made this year. The pine resin salve, a homemade beard oil (recipe HERE), handmade pine needle goats milk soap and coffee cinnamon goats milk soap, and a stress away essential oil roller bottle.