Tree Oils

Tree Oils
The oil from trees can be extracted by oil or water. The oils from trees will contain many of the active or medicinal substances that the tree produces. These substances are called terpenes and are the basis of what we call turpentine.

Turpentine was first named after the terebintha tree from which it was originally made. In about 1000 CE a Persian named Abū Alī Sīn, whom we in the West call Avicenna, invented steam distillation. That process allowed turpentine to be made from the more widespread pine tree.

The active ingredients in turpentine were called terpenes because they were originally found in turpentine, but they can be found in many other trees and  plants besides terebintha and pine. Any plant with that medicine-y smell will contain terpenes, so any essential oil from any terpene-bearing plant can be considered a "terpene-tincture", if you will.  The point being that "turpentine" is based on the terpenes in it, and does not  have to be specifically from pine or terebintha for medical purposes. Tea tree oil and oregano oil are both examples of an oil that is high in terpenes and functions like old-fashioned turpentine did as a medicine. (Modern commercial turpentine has been chemically altered so that it will no longer serve as a medicine, but you can still make a tree oil from pine that will.)

Tea tree oil is currently the most popular tree oil, but historically many tree oils have been used for medical purposes.  The early Americans used turpentine much as we use tea tree oil today.
Pine tree oil can be taken from the "tears" or drops of sap and resin that from the bark of the pine tree in the autumn.

Make Your Own Essential Oils, Hydrosol (Infusion) and Aromatherapy
Essential Oils that can be used that can be used as a skin lotion or perfume (if you like the smell)

Gather plant material, about a grocery bag's or a gallon's worth.
Put a quarter cup of a neutral carrier oil such as almond oil in a blender.
Add a cup of chopped up plant material such as leaves, needles and twigs from pine trees, larch, spruce, juniper, rosemary and sage.
Blend on high until pureed
Transfer to a glass jar
Pack in as much more chopped up plant material as you can. Force down, cover and let sit 6 hours, then try to force in more material.
When you have brought it to the top of jar and have forced in all the plant material you can, make sure that all material at the top is submerged in oil.
Cover and let sit in the back of fridge for 3 months.
After 3 months, take out oil and set up a drip filter to separate oil from plant material, which could be 2-3 weeks.
• Pour oil into glass bottles and cap securely.

Hydrosol or water-based infused liquid, that can be used as a base for making a fermented beverage, body wash or cleaning fluid that will have some of the properties of the essential oil of the plant. leaves, needles and twigs from pine trees, larch, spruce, juniper, rosemary and sage
Put plant material in a slow cooker.
• Cover with water.
• Put some weights on top of the plant material to hold it down under the water.
Put on a close-fitting baked enamel cover
Put weights on top of the cover to keep it closed. I used some rocks in an old sock, sewed into a donut.
Let it slow cook at low heat for 2-3 days.
After it has cooked for a few days, remove the cover and the weights. Ladle out the liquid on top into a tall, narrow glass. Put this is some place where it won't be disturbed. [Let it sit there for a week. After the week, check to see if any oil has risen to the top. If so, draw it up with an eye dropper and put it into a small glass bottle. There may not be any oil as most trees do not give up their oil this easily, but it doesn't cost anything to find out.]
Strain the rest of the liquid from plant material.
Store the infused liquid in an amber glass bottle out of the light in a cool place or in the refrigerator.

To Make an Aromatherapy
Gather leaves, needles and twigs from pine trees, larch, spruce, juniper, rosemary and sage
Put plant material in a baked enamel pot or bowl (often found in camping supply stores) and cover with water.
Put bowl in a slow cooker or crockpot and heat on low uncovered for as long as your want the aromatherapy.
Replace water as necessary for as long as the plant material continues to release an odor..
Other Sources and Related Substances

Tea tree oil -- Can be ordered online.
Turpentine -- Usually next to the iodine in a drug store or pharmacy if they carry it.
Pine Needle Oil -- can be bought in capsule form
Pine Tar -- Sold as an antiseptic for horses' hooves, works against fungus and bacteria
Pine Needle Tea -- Ingredients: 1 cup pine needles (dry or fresh), 4 tablespoons honey. Directions: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a baked enamel saucepan. Turn off heat and add pine needles. Cover and let steep 5-10 minutes. Strain out needles and residue if desired and add honey to taste and drink.
Larch Pine Sap -- From May to October, bore a small hole in a larch pine tree with an awl and insert a plastic or glass straw into it of the same size. (I'm sure you could use an actual dried grass straw if you had one suitable.) The sap that flows from it should be clear and can be used as is or strained through a coarse cloth. Remove straw and plug up hole when you have collected enough sap. Keep sap in a glass jar, covered, in a cool place.

In Biblical times, turpentine was made from the evergreen terebintha tree, after which it is named, but is now made from pine trees. Tea tree oil is made from the evergreen meleleuca tree. Tea tree oil and turpentine are not exactly the same but they share many compounds and have the same main ingredients, terpinen and cineole. Traditionally they have both been used to treat the same aliments, in the same manner. Tea tree oil has more of a prohibition against internal use than turpentine did, although that may be more due to modern health and safety consciousness than any differences between the two oils.

Modern commercial turpentine is not made in the old way.Turpentine can still be seen occasionally in drug stores and pharmacies next to the iodine, but this is rectified turpentine, which is made by processing it with sodium hydroxide, which alters it. Old-fashioned turpentine is still made by small artisans, but is not available in stores. Tea tree oil is the modern equivalent.

It is generally not recommended to take tea tree oil internally, but the old folk remedy for worms was a few drops of turpentine in a spoonful of sugar on an empty stomach. Tea tree oil often comes with extra cautions warning that it should not be taken internally if pregnant, which is often code to imply that it can induce a miscarriage.

Besides pine, terebintha and tea tree, other plants that produce varying amounts of terpinen, cineole or both are larch, spruce,  juniper, rosemary and sage.

Our Earth Our Cure: A Handbook of Natural Medicine for Today by Raymond Dextreit. 
Fire Your Doctor! How to Be Independently Healthy by Andrew W. Saul
Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harr Buhner

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