Scotch (white) pine

The white (scotch) pine (Pinus sylvestris) is an evergreen, wonderfully fragrant conifer from the Pine family, the largest conifer family in the world.

The conifer is found mainly in the northern hemisphere at heights of up to 2200m. Pine trees grow as medium-sized trees or large, deep-rooted trees with a height of over 40m. Different types of pine can reach an age of up to 1000 years.

The scotch pine is one of the oldest known medicinal plants. Already in ancient times it was praised by poets and worshiped as a sacred tree by the ancient Phrygians (Thracian tribal community in Asia Minor). The pine cone was considered to be a symbol of fertility and longevity due to its abundance of seeds. In the Middle Ages the pine personified immortality.

The white pine has been known for its intoxicating and disinfecting scent as well as its healing resin for centuries, but little is known about the fact that amber jewelry is made from its resin. In the distant past, its coppery yellow pieces were referred to as resin tears, which were shed by the ancestors of this species of conifer around 10 million years ago in ancient times.

During archaeological excavations in 1889 in the inner city of the old Sumerian state, a thousand cuneiform tablets made of clay were found, one of which contained 15 medicinal recipes with substances of vegetable, inorganic-mineral or animal origin. This valuable find, which is 5000 years old, shows that ancient Sumerian healers knew the healing properties of vegetable oils and resins very well and used dried pine and fir needles for wound dressings (compresses).

In ancient Egypt, white scotch pine resin was one of the secret rituals of embalming. Pine resin was part of one of the most popular ancient Egyptian contraceptives used for unwanted pregnancies.

The wine is a gift from the gods, they have given the wine to man out of mercy, who gets its special taste through the addition of pine resin. Numerous documents justify the claim that the smell of resin prevailed in good wine. In addition, archaeologists have found traces of pine resin on ancient amphorae, some of which were found near Sozopol. Legend has it that Dionysius himself solved the mystery of the people who used pine resin not only to seal wine vessels but also as a natural preservative that has proven its antibacterial properties. The addition of pine resin to wine is still considered one of the oldest traditions in viticulture.

The great Avicenna recommended a decoction of whole cones to clean the bronchi from the thick, sticky mucus in pneumonia and as a wound-healing agent. According to Avicenna, even the smoke from burned pine resin and pine needles has healing properties. For centuries, northern travelers and sailors have used a decoction of pine needles to treat scurvy. In the Middle Ages, relatively resinous species of pine were used to build seaworthy ships.

Some Indian tribes called the white pine the "keepers of the sky" because of their height and the desire to be higher and higher and so capture the sun's rays. This belief is shared by many people who also call the scotch pine -  the "Lord of Light".

There are legends of "Siberian health and longevity" largely due to the unique climatic characteristics of Siberia, also known as the "green lungs of the planet", and its name is associated with the evergreen northern beauty of the white pine conifers. Purifying and refreshing aroma of pine buds, needles, cones disinfect the air thanks to the volatile biotherapeutic substances - phytoncides, which are released from the needles.

In tree symbolism, the evergreen pines are a symbol of perseverance, modesty, constancy, immortality, and long life.

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