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A History on Conifer Oleoresins





Have you ever noticed that sticky, yet syrup-like substance that just won’t get off of your car hood whenever you park under a pine tree? If you live in a wooded area like I do in the Hudson Valley, you’ve probably had your fair share with this strange and annoying substance.


Although it’s no fun to get on your car, outdoor furniture, or even your skin (which by the way, comes off much easier if you rub it with a lipid such as coconut oil in a circular motion), that annoying pine tree sap, also known as oleoresin, has quite a long history that doesn’t get talked about enough. But a little bit of knowledge goes a long way, and from learning about what makes it so unique, as well as other components of conifer trees, you’ll discovery a whole world of knowledge once applied for thousands of years!


What Is Oleoresin?



(Oleoresin harvested from a Norway Spruce)



Conifer oleoresin, also known as pine resin, is a part of the immune system of conifer trees. Just like how white blood cells become active when responding to foreign invaders in the human body, oleoresin is produced within these trees once their inner bark layer is breached by animals such as woodpeckers, insects, tears in branches due to intense weather, and even by hammering in a sign with a nail. As a result of penetrating the protective bark, the tree activates oleoresin production, which produces a fluid that acts as a glue. Reaching the penetrated surface, the oleoresin pours out from the damaged location, preventing any potential and harmful parasites, bacteria, and fungi from entering, and ultimately “patches the wound”, much in the same way blood coagulates and hardens on our skin from a healing wound.


Many cultures from antiquity applied conifer oleoresin for its medicinal purposes. Native Americans were known to have used pinyon pine oleoresin for healing cuts and wounds due to its natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties, along with controlling coughs, drawing out foreign objects like splinters and poison from bee stings out from the skin, and much more.


In fact, the use of oleoresins goes way back…


Before Physicians





The use of oleoresin goes back even further in history, even tracing all the way back to Biblical times. In the book of Genesis, the sons of Jacob observed a caravan from Gilead that carried gum, balm, and myrrh on its way to Egypt (Genesis 37:25). During this period, Egypt was well-known as the central hub for medicine and physicians in the ancient world. In fact, it’s believed that due to the lack of physicians in the broader region, balms became the solution for many people who lacked access to wider sources of healthcare, and was believed to be a treasured panacea (such as the famous Balm of Gilead), which made resin and balms quite the commodity.


Balms were applied to external wounds on the body, while other types of resin such as myrrh (which is an oleoresin from the commiphora myrrha tree) were used for perfumes and as a natural embalming agent for dead bodies. The well-known resin we know of today, Frankincense from the Boswellia genus, was used for its unique medicinal purposes, perfumes and fragrances, incense for rituals, and the list goes on.


During the reign of King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba has visited the glorious kingdom established by King David, and after having tested the wisdom of Solomon, the Queen gifted the King a large amount of resin after having witnessed his great wisdom (2 Chronicles 9:1-9).


As you can see, oleoresins once had a pretty significant role to play in the ancient world. But what about today?



Modern Day Use





In modern times, the application of conifer resins is mostly found in various industrial sectors which include agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and renewable-energy. Products produced in these fields include chemicals, agrochemicals, green plastics, biodegradable batteries, and biofuel. Pine tar has also been widely used for waterproofing the surfaces of boats and canoes.


A more well-known product produced is turpentine, which is the volatile oil produced from distilling resin. Turpentine was once used medicinally for pain in the joints, muscles, nerves, and teeth. Today, most people understand it for it's use in thinning oil-based paints, for producing varnishes, and as a solvent in chemistry.


It’s not often that you find people today who have an understanding of conifer resin benefits. There are still some people out there who value the craft of producing natural balms (the most well-known balm used today is actually Vicks), and some outdoors enthusiasts appreciate the use of this sticky substance when needed for minor emergencies, but much of what was widely practiced back in the day has died out.



Reflection



I had no clue where things were going after having that dream given to me by the Lord (which you can learn about Here). Getting an understanding about conifer resin was the result of a decision I made to dive into the Word in order to understand what the dream meant. The creation of Seven Resins resulted from this act of faith, and stemmed from the creative mindset I developed as a kid. So in His own way, even though I forgot about being creative due to the demands of living in the modern world, God brought creativity back into my life through the accumulative experiences of having lived a health-conscious lifestyle, along with many other things He guided me through along the way.


I'm honored and excited to share the results of this journey, which has resulted in the creation of these products which you can find by clicking Here.


So what is He working in your life?


What are the areas that you’ve been lost in thought about?


I can tell you that chances are, the answer has always been right in front of you, because that was certainly the case for me. And believe me, if you seek the Lord, he will answer you.


"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." - Matthew 7:7-8





Resources:


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4827294/


https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/ja01181a105


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0926669018311506


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