Soft Sugar Pine resin falls from blue Sacramento skies like a healing gift from the heavens and I am grateful. In the spring, every day is a forage against time, collecting soft resin and pine pollen. I’m an unusual wild crafter; I eat what I collect, checking raw material and making sure the resin, a favorite of the naturalist John Muir, is of the standard needed for a good quality tree medicine. I drink the tea for vitamin C from the needles, collect the pollen to take as an anti aging supportive and make salve from the hard resin. More importantly, I am doing what my grandmother and my mother did their whole life: foraging for tree resins, aromatics and healing plants. When California quarantined in early 2020 and store orders screeched to a dead stop, I retreated to the woods like any dedicated herbalist would in early spring. This being my third year in America, I was still in transition with learning the lay of the botany land. I set in search for poplar trees, to harvest the buds for my Poplar Bud Salve. What I discovered was a city of trees: Eucalyptus as big as my kitchen, tall spruce, majestic firs and so many varietals of pine.
John Muir, a respected naturalist from the last century, proclaimed the California Sugar Pine the king of conifers. And rightly so; pine is a healer, a perfumer and an incense maker. Native Americans ate the sap as a sweetener and preferred it to maple. I would not characterize it as a maple replacer but when paired with a stem of fresh rosemary, is one of my very favorite teas that I drink well into summer (a tea I affectionately call MC² because it provides vitamin C and antioxidants).
I harvest resin in remote areas carefully using latex gloves, making sure to not harm any trees and keep it stored in glass jars until ordered and will arrive as I harvested it fresh off the tree. Every package of Sugar Pine Resin will have the harvest date and a little extra to accommodate any tiny pieces of bark that might have been inside the resin.
Suggested use: may be incorporated into healing balms, creams, mustache wax, as a torch, as a sealant, smudges or incense. I am finding a gorgeous quality to the resin with tincturing for future fougere perfume compositions.
California Sugar Pine Resin is packaged in fully compostable bags made of Eucalyptus biomass.