Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tasty Toning Tea from the Wood

This year I have been really enjoying the wild harvests of my yard -- stinging nettles cooked up like spinach, chive pancakes, daylily flower pods, and garlic mustard pestos. To accompany my foraged finds, I have been drinking Eastern White Pine tea, simply taking a handful of needles still attached to small branches which are freshly fallen to the ground and steeping them in boiling water for 15 minutes with a dash of honey or agave. The tea is delicious, nutritious, and not at all like pine-sol, I promise!
White Pine Bark is an old and trusted remedy for colds and flu. It loosens and expels phlegm from the respiratory tract, easing bronchitis and lung congestion, and its warming qualities stimulate circulation, which may ward off colds and flu before they settle in. The high content of nature's most powerful antioxidants (proanthocyanidins/PCSs/OPCs) in White Pine Bark have made it the focus of much attention in the area of combating free radicals, arteriosclerosis and strokes.

White Pine Bark is an excellent expectorant and is used to loosen and expel phlegm and mucous excretions from the respiratory system. The inner bark has been a longtime standard herbal remedy for coughs, whooping cough, croup, bronchitis, laryngitis and chest congestion due to colds.

As a warming and aromatic stimulant, White Pine Bark is said to increase circulation and further help to overcome or prevent the onset of colds and flu by raising circulatory action.
White Pine Bark contains the second highest source (the first is Grapeseed) of nature's most potent antioxidants, tannin compounds, called proanthocyanidins (also called OPCs for oligomeric procyanidins or PCOs for procyanidolic oligomers) that provide a high degree of antioxidant capacity, which fight free radical damage in the body. These compounds allow the body's cells to absorb vitamin C, which is helpful in protecting cells from the free radicals that can bind to and destroy cellular compounds. These qualities may be helpful in building the immune system and fighting invasive material and other infections. They are classified as flavonols, and the way in which these versatile healing compounds are distinct from flavonoids is their simple chemical structure, which allows them to be readily absorbed into the bloodstream. They work actively against fat-soluble and water-soluble oxidants, thus protecting the cells from damage, and their antioxidant activity is thought to have great potential in combating cellular damage caused by foreign infectious attack.
White Pine Bark's OPCs, which may also be derived from Grapeseed, Red Wine, Hops, Pomegranate and various other fruits, nuts and beans are believed to contribute to a lowered incidence of arteriosclerosis and coronary heart problems. White Pine Bark is also a source of resveratrol, which is thought to raise the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs or “good” cholesterol) in the blood, while decreasing the low-density lipoproteins (LDLs, or “bad” cholesterol) and thereby possibly helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes. It is also said to prevent fat in the bloodstream from sticking together and clogging the arteries, which is thought to promote better circulation of blood throughout the body, especially to the heart.
The inner bark of White Pine Bark (cambium) is the source of resveratrol, a polyphenolic phytoalexin, which is produced in plants that is reputed to have antifungal properties.

According to recent research (2008) from Peninsula Medical School, England, the resveratrol found in Pine Bark, Grape Skin and Red Wine can protect against cellular damage to blood vessels caused by high production of glucose in diabetes, claiming resveratrol's antioxidant effects are well documented. But the new research establishes the link between high levels of glucose, its damaging effect on cell structure and the ability of resveratrol to protect against and mend that damage. Moreover, resveratrol could be used to block the damaging effect of glucose, which, in turn, might fight the often life threatening complications that accompany diabetes. It could well be the basis of effective diet-based therapies for the prevention of vascular damage caused by hyperglycemia in the future.

White Pine Bark is considered a diuretic, and as such, encourages the flow of urine, which is said to be very helpful in cases of urinary tract infections and kidney problems.

Please note: Pregnant Women should probably avoid or limit their intake of White Pine, just to be safe.

(White Pine information found on herbalextractsplus.com)

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