We have already looked at some of the practical benefits of urban trees, but did you know that many trees are also useful for medicinal purposes? For as long as people have wandered the earth, they have been curious about the world around them and experimented with whatever they have come across. While some plants can be poisonous or noxious, there are many others that are used for everything from relieving everyday ailments to tackling more acute problems. Are there any trees that you can think of that are used to soothe rashes, relieve feelings of inadequacy or clear mucus from a congested chest? You might be surprised by what some of the everyday trees that we see around us in urban settings can be beneficial for, aside from their obvious shade and oxygen output. Those natural tree remedies can be pretty powerful things! So today we’ll look at a few trees and their uses in aromatherapy, flower remedies, herbalism, homeopathy, as well as a few that are safe to use for children or as a food source.
NATURAL HOME REMEDIES FROM EVERYDAY TREES
Aspen: Aspen trees are not only beautiful to look at, but are also linked to Dr. Bach’s Flower Essences. Aspen is considered a remedy “when you feel fearful without knowing why. The fear is vague and unexplainable and may hunt you day and night.” In taking the flower essence of aspen, it can help you stand up to your fears and move forward even in the face of them.
Crab Apple: The blooms of a crab apple tree in spring are magnificent, but did you know that you can also eat the fruit from the tree? The small, tart apples are a good source of vitamin C and can be used to make jelly. Those blossoms in the spring are another flower essence as well, good for those suffering from despondency and despair. They help to cleanse the mind from feelings of self-condemnation and disgust, or simply those in need of a detoxification from negative thoughts or actions.
Cypress: If you have ever wanted to try aromatherapy, but aren’t sure about the safe use of it, cypress is the oil for you. Extracted via steam distillation, cypress oil is good for menopausal problems, asthma, for treating hay fever, coughs or bronchitis. It aids tension and stress when used in massage, burned in a room or taken via steam inhalation, and in a bath is an excellent astringent and relaxant. You can also massage it into varicose veins or broken capillaries for relief.
Elderflower: Not all natural remedies are safe for all people and special caution is always urged when contemplating them with children, but you need not fear using elderflowers with the younger set. Taken from the elder tree, the creamy white flowers are an excellent resource to help break fevers in children (don’t forget to sweeten it with honey for those who need sweetening up!). As a lotion, it helps to soothe rashes that occur because of those fevers. In fact, the flowers are also edible and can be turned into fritters, jam or popped into a salad.
Elm: Forget about a nightmare on Elm Street. When it comes to flower essences, elm is an effective remedy for those suffering from despondency and despair. If you have been fretting over a temporary feeling of inadequacy or lack of confidence, then Elm might be just the ticket to bring balance between idealism and reality.
Linden: Brew up a cup of linden tea and watch your anxiety and/or insomnia disappear. Safe for adults and children alike, this calming and soothing herbal remedy has a pleasant taste and mixes well with other herbal teas. It improves digestion, helps with high blood pressure, is a diuretic and antispasmodic, strengthens the nervous system over the long-term and can even improve stress tolerance.
Oak: The mighty oak tree might be a great place to rest your head for shade, but has value from the view of a medical uses as well. In herbalism, the bark can be used as an astringent. Turned into a decoction, it makes a great mouthwash for loose teeth and bleeding gums. Even the leaves can be turned into tea to tackle low blood pressure or general weakness.
Pine: Found across North America and Europe, pine trees are one of the most widely used sources for natural remedies. They can be used as a flower essence for those who suffer from despondency or despair when feelings of self-reproach are evident. In homeopathy, they can battle nettle rashes, dry coughs, weak ankles and rheumatism. As an herbalism source, they are a good treatment for lung infections and an ointment for healing old wounds or skin infections. Pine essential oil can treat a wide range of ailments when used in aromatherapy as well. Whether burned in a room to uplift spirits or ease general aches and pains, or used for massage to assist respiratory ailments, this essential oil is a must for your medicine cabinet. It eases sore feet, helps hay fever, clears mucus from the chest, can be helpful in treating urethritis or uterine congestions, as well as complaints of the prostate gland. It is even a natural parasiticide to combat scabies and lice!