Medicinal Evergreens

garden landscape with variety of conifers and other plants

In honor of the evergreen, here is a very long (but by no means complete) list of Evergreen trees along with a brief note about their medicinal, traditional and/or other uses:

  • Arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis – The common name of arborvitae (tree of life) comes from early French settlers to North America who learned from Native Americans that the tree’s foliage could be used to treat scurvy.
  • Arborvitae, Giant, Western Red Cedar, Thuja plicata – Reportedly, Native Americans eat the spring cambium of Thuja plicata fresh, or they dry it for eating later. The pitch is chewed like gum, and the wood is favored for smoking salmon.
  • Barberry, Holly LeavedBerberis Aquifolium – Also known as Oregon Grape, Oregon grape root excels at treating infections and optimizing a sluggish liver. Its specific considerations are for heat with discharge or moist conditions. It is most often formulated, although it can be used as a simple, especially when used for infections. This is abundant and incredibly important herbal medicine.
  • Carolina cherry laurel, Prunus caroliniana – The leaves have a trace of cyanide (hydrocyanic acid), and so do the pits . . . it’s interesting that Native Americans used to pound whole cherries including the pits into a mash and dry into cakes. So our understanding of hydrocyanic acid might need reevaluated.
  • Cedar of Lebanon, Cedrus libani – The Cedars of God,one of the last vestiges of the extensive forests of the Lebanon cedar. Their timber was exploited by the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Israelites and Turks. The wood was prized by Egyptians for shipbuilding; the Ottoman Empire used the cedars in railway construction.
  • Cedar, Atlantic white, Chamaecyparis thyoides – A decoction of the leaves has been used as a herbal steam for treating headaches and backaches. A poultice made from the crushed leaves and bark has been applied to the head to treat headaches.
  • Cedar, Atlas, Cedrus atlantica – Atlas cedar oil is derived from that bark of the tree. Ancient Egyptians used the oil in their process of spiritual embalming or more commonly known as mummification.
  • Cedar, California incense, Calocedrus decurrens – The wood is the primary material for wooden pencils, because it is soft and tends to sharpen easily without forming splinters.The Native Americans of California used the plant in traditional medicine, basket making, hunting bows, building materials, and to produce fire by friction.
  • Cedar, Deodar, Cedrus deodara – Produces an aromatic oil that naturally deters insects.
  • Cedar, Japanese, Cryptomeria japonica – Sugi is the national tree of Japan, commonly planted around temples and shrines, with many hugely impressive trees planted centuries ago.
  • Cryptomeria, Taiwan, Taiwania cryptomerioides – The wood is soft, but durable and attractively spicy scented, and was in very high demand in the past, particularly for temple building and coffins. The rarity of the tree and its slow growth in plantations means legal supplies are now very scarce; the species has legal protection in China and Taiwan.
  • Cypress, Italian, Cupressus sempervirens – A foot bath of the cones is used to cleanse the feet and counter excessive sweating. The extracted essential oil should not be taken internally without professional guidance.
  • Cypress, Leyland, x Cupressocyparis leylandii – The plant’s rapid growth (up to a metre per year) and great potential height – often over 20 metres (66 ft) tall, sometimes as high as 35 metres (115 ft) – can become a serious problem. In 2005 in the United Kingdom, an estimated 17,000 people were at loggerheads over high hedges, which led to violence and in at least one case murder, when in 2001, retired Environment Agency officer Llandis Burdon, 57, was shot dead after an alleged dispute over a leylandii hedge in Talybont-on-Usk, Powys.
  • EucalyptusEucalyptus cinerea – The medicinal Eucalyptus Oil is probably the most powerful antiseptic of its class, especially when it is old, as ozone is formed in it on exposure to the air. It has decided disinfectant action, destroying the lower forms of life.
  • Euonymus, WinterberryEuonymus bungeanus – The wood of some species was traditionally used for the making of spindles for spinning wool; this use is the origin of the English name of the shrubs.
  • Falsecypress, Japanese (Sawara), Chamaecyparis pisifera – It is grown for its timber in Japan, where it is used as a material for building palaces, temples, shrines and baths, and making coffins. The wood is lemon-scented and light-colored with a rich, straight grain, and is rot resistant.
  • Fir, Alpine, Abies lasiocarpa – An infusion of the leaves is used as a hair tonic. The leaves can also be placed in the shoes as a foot deodorant.The shoot tips are used as a tea substitute. The cones can be ground into a fine powder, then mixed with fat and used as a confection.
  • Fir, Balsam, Abies balsamea – Very popular as Christmas trees, particularly in the northeastern United States. The resin is used to produce Canada balsam, and was traditionally used as a cold remedy and as a glue for glasses, optical instrument components, and for preparing permanent mounts of microscope specimens.
  • Fir, Cilicica, Abies cilicica – Produced in areas of greater Syria and Asia Minor, this resin and its oil derivative were used in mummification, as an antiseptic, a diuretic, to treat wrinkles, extract worms and promote hair growth.
  • Fir, Colorado, Abies concolor – Has many medicinal uses. For example, an infusion of the foliage taken and used as a bath by the Acoma and Laguna Indians can help rheumatism. The resin has been known to be used by early New Mexico natives to fill decayed teeth.
  • Fir, FraserAbies fraseri – This plant was widely used medicinally by various North American Indian tribes. The resin was used as an antiseptic healing agent applied externally to wounds, sores, bites etc., it was used as an inhalant to treat headaches and was also taken internally to treat colds, sore throats and various other complaints.
  • Fir, KoreanAbies koreana – According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the essential oil from Abies koreana can be used in the treatment of acne, tests also indicate that it has anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Fir, MomiAbies firma –  The resin is reported to have numerous medical uses, including as an antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant, and vasoconstrictor. Various species have found widespread commercial success as Christmas trees.
  • Fir, Nordman, Abies nordmanniana – The Nordmann fir is one of the most important species grown for Christmas trees, being favoured for its attractive foliage, with needles that are not sharp and do not drop readily when the tree dries out.
  • Fir, Rocky mountainAbies lasiocarpa – Antiseptic. The gummy exudate that appears on the bark was soaked in water until soft and then applied to wounds. An infusion of the resin has been used as an emetic to cleanse the insides. The resin has also been chewed to treat bad breath. A decoction of the bark is used as a tonic and in the treatment of colds and flu. A poultice of the leaves has been used to treat chest colds and fevers. An infusion has been taken to treat the coughing up of blood, which can be the first sign of TB, and as a laxative.
  • Fir, WhiteAbies concolor – The pitch from the trunk has been used as an antiseptic poultice for cuts, wounds etc. An infusion of the pitch, or the bark, has been used in the treatment of TB An infusion of the foliage has been used in a bath for relieving rheumatism. An infusion of the pitch and leaves has been used in the treatment of pulmonary complaints.
  • Hemlock, CanadianTsuga canadensis – The bark is rich in tannin and is astringent and antiseptic. A decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhea, colitis, diverticulitis and cystitis. Externally, it is used as a poultice to cleanse and tighten bleeding wounds. A decoction of the branches has been boiled down to a syrup or thick paste and used as a poultice on arthritic joints. Hemlock pitch has been used externally as a counter-irritant in the treatment of rheumatism.
  • Hemlock, CarolinaTsuga caroliniana – The bark is astringent, diaphoretic and diuretic. A tea made from the inner bark or twigs is helpful in the treatment of kidney or bladder problems, and also makes a good enema for treating diarrhoea. It can also be used as a gargle or mouthwash for mouth and throat problems or externally to wash sores and ulcers.
  • Hemlock, Western, Tsuga heterophylla – The common name hemlock is derived from a perceived similarity in the smell of the crushed foliage to that of the unrelated herb poison hemlock. Unlike the herb, the species of Tsuga are not poisonous.
  • Himalayan sprucePicea smithiana – Young male catkins ( raw or cooked) used as a flavoring. Immature female cones (cooked) the central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy. Inner bark can be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips.
  • Hinoki falsecypressChamaecypari obtusa – According to US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health the essential oils of C. obtusa have antibacterial and antifungal effects and several products such as hygienic bands, aromatics, and shampoos contain these oils as a natural source of antimicrobial/antifungal agents. Interestingly, some consumers suffering from baldness and/or other forms of hair loss have reported a hair growth promoting effect of shampoos containing these oils.
  • Holly, AmericanIlex opaca – The berries are laxative, emetic and diuretic. They are used in the treatment of children’s diarrhea, colic and indigestion. A tea made from the leaves has been used as a treatment for measles, colds etc. The leaves have also been used externally in the treatment of sore eyes, sore and itchy skin.
  • Holly, D’ Or ChineseIlex cornuta The leaf is made into a tea which is said to be contraceptive if used by women and is also used for termination pregnancies. The stem bark is tonic. The whole plant is used in the treatment of arthritis, recurring fever in pulmonary tuberculosis, tubercular lymph nodes, joint pained and lumbago.
  • Holly, DahoonIlex cassine – The leaves are hypnotic and laxative. A strong decoction of the plant was used by some native North American Indian tribes to induce vomiting. This was seen partly as a physical and partly a spiritual cleansing.
  • Holly, LusterleafIlex latifolia – The leaves are used as a tea substitute. The roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute.
  • Holly, Myrtle leavedIlex cassine – The leaves are hypnotic and laxative. A strong decoction of the plant was used by some native North American Indian tribes to induce vomiting. This was seen partly as a physical and partly a spiritual cleansing.
  • Holly, YauponIlex vomitoria – The plant was used ritually by several N. American Indian tribes. The leaves were toasted over a fire and then boiled for several hours. The resulting thick black liquid was then drunk and this was followed by immediate vomiting. This was often used a a purification rite prior to hunting.
  • Juniper, Rocky mountainJuniperous scopulorum – Rocky Mountain juniper was widely employed medicinally by many native North American Indian tribes who used it in particular to treat problems connected with the chest and kidneys.
  • Laurel, PortugalPrunus lusitonica – Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.
  • LoquatEriobotrya japonica – The loquat is one of the most popular cough remedies in the Far East, it is the ingredient of many patent medicines. A decoction of the leaves or young shoots is used as an intestinal astringent and as a mouthwash in cases of thrush and also in the treatment of bronchitis, coughs, feverish colds etc. The hairs should be removed from the leaves in order to prevent irritation of the throat. The flowers are expectorant. The fruit is slightly astringent, expectorant and sedative. It is used in allaying vomiting and thirst.
  • Magnolia, SouthernMagnolia grandiflora – The bark is diaphoretic, stimulant, tonic. It is used in the treatment of malaria and rheumatism. A decoction has been used as a wash and a bath for prickly heat itching. The decoction has also been used as a wash for sores and as a steam bath for treating dropsy.
  • Magnolia, SwampMagnolia virginiana – The bark has been chewed by people trying to break the tobacco habit. The bark is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It does not store well so stocks should be renewed annually. A tea made from the fruit is a tonic, used in the treatment of general debility and was formerly esteemed in the treatment of stomach ailments.
  • Oak, Japanese blueQuercus glauca – Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc.
  • Oak, LiveQuercus virginiana – A decoction of the wood chips or the bark has been applied externally as an astringent analgesic to treat aches and pains, sores and haemorrhoids. Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc.
  • Olive, WildOsmanthus americanus – Traditional Chinese medicine claims that osmanthus tea improves complexion and helps rid the body of excess nitric oxide, a compound linked to the formation of cancer, diabetes, and renal disease
  • Palm, CabbageSabal palmetto – The berries or seeds have been used in the treatment of grass sickness, low fever, headaches and weight loss.
  • Palm, WindmillTrachycarpus fortunei – The flowers and the seed are astringent and haemostatic. The root or the fruit is decocted as a contraceptive. The ashes from the silky hairs of the plant are haemostatic. Mixed with boiling water they are used in the treatment of haemopytsis, nose bleeds, haematemesis, blood in stools, metrorrhagia, gonorrhoea and other venereal diseases.
  • Pine, ArollaPinus cembra – It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections. Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers.
  • Pine, Austrian, Pinus nigra – It is very beneficial to the respiratory system and so is useful in treating diseases of the mucous membranes and respiratory complaints such as coughs, colds, influenza and TB. Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers.
  • Pine, BosianPinus korariensis – The seed contains several medically active compounds and is analgesic, antibacterial and antiinflammatory. It is used in Korea in the treatment of earache, epistaxis and to promote milk flow in nursing mothers.
  • Pine, BristleconePinus aristata – The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections.
  • Pine, ButanPinus wallichiana – Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers. The wood is diaphoretic and stimulant. It is useful in treating burning of the body, cough, fainting and ulcers.
  • Pine, David’sPinus armandii – It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections. It is also very beneficial to the respiratory system and so is useful in treating diseases of the mucous membranes and respiratory complaints such as coughs, colds, influenza and TB.
  • Pine, Dragon’s-eyePinus densiflora – The male catkins can be eaten. Inner bark – dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails. Immature female cones – baked. A vanillin flavoring is obtained as a by-product of other resins that are released from the pulpwood.
  • Pine, Eastern whitePinus strobus – A poultice of pitch has been used to draw out toxins from boils and reduce the pain. The dried inner bark is demulcent, diuretic and expectorant. An infusion was used as a treatment for colds and it is still used as an ingredient in commercial cough syrups, where it serves to promote the expulsion of phlegm.
  • Pine, Himalayan, Pinus wallichiana – The wood is diaphoretic and stimulant. It is useful in treating burning of the body, cough, fainting and ulcers.
  • Pine, JackPinus banksiana – A poultice of the inner bark has been used in the treatment of deep cuts. The leaves have been used in a herbal steam bath to clear congested lungs. They have also been used as a fumigant to revive a comatose patient.
  • Pine, Japanese blackPinus thunbergiana – The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections.
  • Pine, Japanese umbrellaSciadopitys verticillata – An oil obtained from the wood is used for varnishes and dyes. Wood – soft, elastic, water-resistant. Used for boats etc.
  • Pine, Japanese whitePinus parviflora – Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers.
  • Pine, LacebarkPinus bungeana – The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections.
  • Pine, LimberPinus flexilis – Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers.
  • Pine, LoblollyPinus taeda – The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections. It is also very beneficial to the respiratory system and so is useful in treating diseases of the mucous membranes and respiratory complaints such as coughs, colds, influenza and TB.
  • Pine, LongleafPinus palustris – Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers. The turpentine was formerly used in the treatment of colic, chronic diarrhoea, worms, to arrest bleeding from tooth sockets and as a rubefacient.
  • Pine, PitchPinus rigida – Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers.
  • Pine, PondPinus serotina – It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections.
  • Pine, PonderosaPinus ponderosa – Ponderosa pine was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes, who valued it especially for its antiseptic and vulnerary properties, using it to treat a range of skin problems, cuts, wounds, burns etc. It was also valued for its beneficial effect upon the respiratory system and was used to treat various chest and lung complaints.
  • Pine, ScotchPinus sylvestris – Scotch pine has quite a wide range of medicinal uses, being valued especially for its antiseptic action and beneficial effect upon the respiratory system. It should not be used by people who are prone to allergic skin reactions whilst the essential oil should not be used internally unless under professional supervision.
  • Pine, ShortleafPinus echinata – A cold tea made from the buds of the plant is vermifuge. A tea made from the pitch in the trunk is laxative. It is used in the treatment of kidney ailments and TB.
  • Pine, SprucePinus glabra – Historic medicinal use include treatment of worms, diarrhea, painful joints, rheumatism, colds and flu, cough, bruises, fever, colic, gout, hemorrhoids, constipation, measles, mumps, tuberculosis, and venereal disease.
  • Pine, Swiss mountainPinus mugo – The apical branches are antiasthmatic, balsamic, cardiotonic and expectorant. When distilled, the leaves and branches yield an essential oil that is commonly used in pharmaceutical balsamic preparations because of its antiseptic and expectorant qualities.
  • Pine, UmbrellaSciadopitys verticillata – An oil obtained from the wood is used for varnishes and dyes. Wood – soft, elastic, water-resistant. Used for boats etc.
  • Pine, VirginiaPinus virginiana – An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of high fevers. An infusion of the buds has been used to remove worms from the body.
  • Pine, Weeping whitePinus strobus – The wetted inner bark can be used as a poultice on the chest in treating strong colds. A tea made from the young needles is used to treat sore throats. It is a good source of vitamin C and so is effective against scurvy. An infusion of the young twigs has been used in the treatment of kidney disorders and pulmonary complaints. The powdered wood has been used as a dressing on babies chaffed skin, sores and improperly healed navels.
  • Pine, Western whitePinus monticola – An edible gummy exudation from the stem is used as a chewing gum. Inner bark – raw or cooked. The inner bark can be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread.
  • Pine, Western yellowPinus ponderosa – The branches are used in herbal steam baths as a treatment for muscular pains. A decoction of the plant tops has been used in the treatment of internal bleeding and high fevers. An infusion of the dried buds has been used as an eye wash.
  • Pine, YunnanPinus yunnanensis – The leaves (needle litter) provide fodder for animals and are distilled for oils and medicinal products.
  • RedbayPersea borbonia – Red bay was widely employed medicinally by the Seminole Indians who used it to treat a variety of complaints, but especially as an emetic and body cleanser.
  • Redwood, SoquelSequoia sempervirens – A poultice of the heated leaves has been used in the treatment of earaches. The gummy sap has been used as a stimulant and tonic in the treatment of rundown conditions.
  • RedwoodSequoia sempervirens – A poultice of the heated leaves has been used in the treatment of earaches. The gummy sap has been used as a stimulant and tonic in the treatment of rundown conditions.
  • Russian oliveEleagnus angustifolia – The oil from the seeds is used with syrup as an electuary in the treatment of catarrh and bronchial affections. The juice of the flowers has been used in the treatment of malignant fevers.
  • Spruce, BlackPicea mariana –  A decoction of the cones has been drunk in the treatment of diarrhoea. A decoction has been used externally as a gargle to treat sore throats. The cones have been chewed to treat a sore mouth and toothaches.
  • Spruce, Colorado bluePicea pungens – A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips.
  • Spruce, DragonPicea asperata – A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips.
  • Spruce, MorindaPicea smithiana – A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips.
  • Spruce, NorwayAbies pinagene – Spruce can be an effective medicinal plant acting especially well on the respiratory system. The reason you don’t boil the needle tea is because the vitamin C is sensitive to heat and may break down into other components.  It is a good idea to boil the water and pour it on top of the needles.
  • Spruce, OrientalPicea orientalis – A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips.
  • Spruce, RedPicea rubens – A tea made from the boughs has been used in the treatment of colds and to “break out” measles. The pitch from the trunk has been used as a poultice on rheumatic joints, the chest and the stomach in order to relieve congestion and pain. A decoction of the bark has been used in the treatment of lung complaints and throat problems.
  • Spruce, SerbianPicea omorika – A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips.
  • Spruce, WhitePicea glauca – White spruce was widely employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes, who valued it especially for treating chest complaints
Quotable
Through plants, the outer light of the sun and the stars becomes the inner light which reflects back from the foundations of our soul. This is the reason why plants have always and everywhere been considered sacred, divine. ~Storl
Be Merry!


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