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Distilling Pine For Hydrosol

 Been having great fun in the woodland with the kids these last weeks. A large branch of one of the Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) came off in winds and lodged itself in some lower trees. Not wanting to waste this we decided to make pine hydrosol using chopped up one needles and twigs.

This wonderful tree is highly medicinal. It is well known for it’s antiseptic and antimicrobial properties due to its volatile oil content. It’s high in vitamins C and beta carotene.  You can make a simple tea from the pine needles to uplift your spirits or as a respiratory tonic. You could also add some needles directly into the bath as it’s also know to have pain relieving effects for arthritic conditions. Just be careful to avoid in pregnancy.
I soaked the chopped up plant material overnight in cold water to prepare it for distilling. This simple maceration alone yielded some essential oil leaving a layer of oily residue on the surface of the water. For this distillation I didn’t wish to collect any essential oil, only the hydrosol. Just 1.5kg of the plant material produced 2.5litres of hydrosol by steam and hydro distillation.

We thought this pine hydrosol would make a nice ingredient into some homemade cleaning products, in homemade skincare creams and salves or into soaps. As a spray on its own, the hydrosol would be a good disinfectant for bathroom sinks or surfaces. You could use pine essential oil diluted in water in the same way.

The rest of the pine needles and twigs are being used to make a fizzy pine soda drink! – which will be ready in a week!