Every year, in late spring, people tend to grumble about pine and its ubiquitous pollen here in Southern Appalachia and the Deep South. There’s the usual allergies and then there’s the golden-yellow coating that was on every-single-thing outside.
This golden dust is actually a medicine and a food.
Donna Caire, a friend, naturalist, and Mayan Abdominal Massage Therapist writes:
“While they are still dangling in the tree and before they have dispersed their pollen (we see the spent casings on the ground), they are both nutritious and medicinal. Pine pollen contains folic acid and other B vitamins, beta-carotene, Vitamin E, selenium, calcium, iron, magnesium, nucleic acids, living enzymes, polysaccharides, essential fatty acids and vitamin D3. In China and Korea, it is sold alongside flour and is used in baked goods.
The earliest records of its medicinal use date back 2000 years in the Chinese text Shennong’s Root and Herbal Classic. Pine pollen has been found to boost both endocrine and immune functions and helps to balance the ratio between the sex hormones androgen and estrogen.
According to Daniel Vitalis, because pine pollen is a whole food substance and provides compounds in fairly low doses, they don’t have the negative side effects as those using bioidentical hormones may have. Vitalis suggests that the pollen that causes growth and regeneration, increases vigor and motivation, also “helps us achieve our goals.”
Pine is an all around medicinal tree that is undervalued, in my opinion. Here are some ways that it gives so generously:
1 – Collect resin to make local incense or pine resin tincture
2 – Harvest propolis from the beehive for medicine; pine resin (and other tree resins) are a component of the immune boosting and anti-microbial properties of propolis
3 – Make poor man’s balsamic vinegar – ACV infused with pine needles (for Vit C and minerals)
4 – Winter pine needle tea (a good source of Vit C, cold & flu tea)
5 – I haven’t done this yet, but wild foodies prepare the inner bark of the pine for ‘pine chips’ or even ‘pine noodles’
6 – and finally, there’s pine pollen
For the First Nations people of the the Americas, pine pollen it was an endurance food for long journeys. And, now scientists have discovered that pine pollen has an androgenic hormone that is a precursor to testosterone.
“Stephen Buhner, herbalist and speaker for the earth, reports that pine pollen is exceedingly high in testosterone. Ingestion of the pollen itself, or the tincture of the pollen in dropperful doses, seems to gradually increase libido in those susceptible to its action.”
(Buhner also suggests holding the dosage in your mouth for 10 seconds before swallowing.)
I’ve, personally, worked with clients who claimed that the pine pollen tincture made them feel like “cavemen.” Basically, full of energy and able to do a lot of manual work. Most of the the clients that said something like this were farmers or worked outdoors. I love that you can also find pine pollen tinctures at certain shops along the Appalachian Trail (AT).
One day, while collecting pollen, I had a flash of insight. I sensed that pine pollen medicine works on the 2nd and 3rd chakras (or energy centers, associated with the reproductive organs, liver, gal bladder), especially in the male system. It harmonizes where there is imbalance and, from within, helps men express their sexuality in a wholesome and positive way.
I also think it is good for those recovering from internet porn addiction with resulting impotence (or impotence in general due to shame or guilt around some sexual act). Pine pollen gently works to bring about true virility and a mature expression of sexual function — one that honors himself and who he is in relationship with.
I sense this is a very beautiful medicine for men; a great ally for balancing sexual function, building energy and stamina, and letting the inner light shine through one’s creative work and efforts in this life.
I also do know of a handful of women who have used pine pollen. They’ve used it generally for energy and endurance (and had been tested for low testosterone levels).
I find it especially useful for women in the midst of menopause, for a needed boost of energy. Some women have asked me about its use if they have hypothyroidism. I think it’s worth a try…
To read more about pine, check out this post by herbal elder Susan Weed. She titled the article, “Pine Keeps You Fine.” (smile)