The Last Frontier

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to Make and Use Spruce or Pine Pitch Salve

Beetle-killed spruce tree
with dripping pitch.
 I recently submitted this article on How to Make and Use Spruce Pitch Salve to Survivalist Blog. It was published today! The uses for Spruce Pitch and Sap are well-documented in books about Alaska Natives. The uses for Pine, however, are also documented, but more in writings by natural health practicioners. If you have pine trees in your area, that will work well.

I have been using Spruce Pitch for many years. Here are a few of the ways I use it:
  • On spider and other insect bites and stings
  • To prevent or cure infections of ugly scrapes
  • As a natural, safe and effective underarm deodorant
  • As a lip balm and hand cream to help kill germs and prevent illness 
  • To increase circulation and speed healing of a sprained ankle 
  • It makes homemade soap smell fantastic! I don’t know if it still has antimicrobial properties after it’s made into soap. I kind of doubt it, but it still smells delightful.
To learn more, read the full article at Survivalist Blog by clicking here.


  1. How do you use it to make soap? Do you put it in at trace? How much? I'd love to know.

  2. I can't wait to try some. I have always been interested in foraging for my own remedies. It seemed so difficult and
    mysterious until you described it. You have become one of my favorite blog writers, I hope the gasoline doesn't run out anytime soon!

  3. Thank you, Beth. It really isn't mysterious at all. The biggest hurdle is learning to identify some plants. Start with an easy one, like a spruce tree --- kind of hard to miss. Read up a little to see what you can do with it, like make a salve. Once you do it, you'll see that it's pretty easy and fun, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of knowing I can do things that really help my family.

    Judy, I make hot process soap, and infuse the pitch into the various oils. Then when I want to make the soap, I just use the infused oils for most of the oil in my recipe --- about 2/3 of the total oils are infused. I have to alter my basic recipe, too because if I make it the normal way, the soap comes out crumbly. I think it's because of the high mineral content. The generator is running now, so I'll have to look it up later when the generator is off and email you with my exact recipe.

  4. Hi, Jenny,

    Another fascinating post! I just want to drop everything and go try it. :-) I'm amazed at all the stuff you know. This and some of your other posts are going to make me more aware of 'usable' stuff in the forest next summer.


  5. thanks for sharing this. I clicked on your link about cough syrup and cough drops and it said that page no longer exits. Would you be willing to repost it? I would love to make some.


  6. Hi Wendy and Mary. Thank you for stopping by. Glad you found the post useful.
    I needed to edit something on the other article. The window wasn't loading properly, and when I tried to re-publish the article, it was a mess. Not sure what happened. It was just a very short overview, but here it is in a nutshell.
    For syrup, you can place dry or fresh herbs in honey and let them steep in a jar for about a month, or warm it very gently (not hot) in a pan for a couple of hours before straining. Take it as is, or mix it with an herbal tea. For cough drops, make an herbal tea with whatever you like for coughs, sore throats, colds, flu, etc. Strain and then mix an equal amount of some kind of sugar (honey won't work). Boil until it just about reaches the hard crack stage. Pour onto an oiled pan. When it's hard and cool, break into pieces. Dust with powdered sugar if you think you need that to prevent sticking (I don't), and store in a jar or plastic bag.
    Best wishes,

  7. Fascinating (as all your posts are)! I confess...I had to Google to see if pitch was the same as sap. Yes, you can laugh at me! Though my heart is in the wilds, my experiences have been little other than suburban!

    I appreciate the cough drop/syrup recipe you posted in answer to Mary's question...thanks for sharing that! I used to sell Watkins products and they had a Cherry Pine Cough Syrup that I just loved. It worked great, too!

  8. Thank you, Lori. Sorry to be quick here, but I have to go turn off the generator. I'll be SOOOOO glad when we get that inverter and can charge be batteries properly so we don't have to burn up gas running the generator every minute we want to be online.
    Take care,

  9. okay, here's the deal; now that you've got fans, you can't fall off the face of the earth for weeks at time. Not unless you want us to worry, that is. :-)

  10. Didn't mean to worry my loyal fans. lol. What? Fans???!!!??? LOL! I've been saying for a week that I'm going to write something here, but . . . . well . . . ur, uh . . . well. I'm getting ready for another trip to town in about a week, and I'm totally out of sorts about it. I'm a bushrat, you know, and just the thought of going to the city for a couple of days is almost too much for this former city girl. I have an extensive list and so much to do in such a short time. But, we've been going snowshoeing a lot, and I have some fun trail pictures that I'll post before I go.
    Thanks for stopping by. :)

  11. Here are some posting ideas. Post what you do in a 24 hours - your chores, what you cook for meals, what you do with the kids for school, maybe some conversation you have in the evening with your family, what time you get up, what you do in your free time if you have any, etc. :) Another interesting post would just be a copy of your shopping list...what you plan to buy and from where. If there is something odd on your list, share what it is for, etc.

    Sorry I had to get off the phone in such a hurry. I had to take the kids to school.

    Talk to you again soon.

  12. This is some great information, I'm going to try this.


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