Autumn is the Time to Gather Tree Seed Pods and Cones
Harvesting Tree Seeds
The fires which have been prophesied to race across the earth will be burning everything outside, even the trees. Vegetation should begin to grow again, even during the next year, but this growth will be slow.
Life without trees will be a struggle. Consider why trees are crucial to our survival:
Trees provide us with
- leaves that release oxygen into the air
- protection from destructive winds
- shade in the summer
- seeds and fruits for birds, animals, and humans to eat
- protection from rain and snow
- ashes for creating lye in the making of soap
- ashes for neutralizing odours in pit toilets
- wood for our cooking/heating fires
Mother Marianne Cope (the superior of the group of Franciscan nursing nuns from Albany, NY) came to care for the lepers in Molokai, Hawaii. She knew about the importance of trees.
The Sisters landed on Molokai and found that the buildings built for them were on a large stretch of bare land which was open to strong winds from the sea.
The harsh winds proved no good for growing a vegetable garden, nor any kind of landscaping, and the sisters and their patients were fatigued from the scorching sun. So Mother Marianne set about ordering tree seedlings from a knowledgeable benefactor, and planting them for both shade and wind-break purposes.
In a few years, they were basking in the protection and comfort afforded by the trees which Mother Marianne herself had planted.
Today, visiting the Leper Colony on the Island of Molokai, one can still see many of those trees planted by her hands, protecting their vegetable garden and orchard, as well as the hospital building, the chapel, and the house where the sisters had lived.
WHY COLLECT (HARVEST) TREE SEEDS?
Fire will fall from the sky during the 3 Days of Darkness, causing the destruction of the natural world. Trees will surely burn. We may have tree seeds sprouting up trees a year or two later, and also sprouts growing along the nodes of decayed root lines from the burned trees, but we can also be ready to plant our favourites, and grow seedlings that we can protect from disease until they are ready to plant outdoors exactly where we need them (or until conditions are favourable to planting).
Autumn is the best season to pick the cones which contain the seeds. Let the cones dry indoors and the seeds should be able to be shaken loose from the cone.
Once you have the seeds, and once you are ready to plant, you need to encourage germination (especially of older seeds) by stratification, which simulates a cold spell in nature:
One easy way to achieve germination is by exposing the kernels—for periods of time that can vary from one species to another—to cold temperatures. This treatment, called "stratification," serves to break the dormancy of the embryos.
In nature, stratification occurs outdoors over the course of the winter, but it can also be brought about artificially in a refrigerator. The process is quite simple. Just soak the kernels in water for 12 to 24 hours, drain them, then layer them with slightly damp peat moss or vermiculite in a jar or plastic tub, and then refrigerate the containers for one to four months (they'll need a temperature that's below 45°F (7°C) but above freezing). Some conifer seeds don't require stratification if planted fresh. However, older seeds will always benefit from exposure to a cold period, either natural or artificial.
Again, autumn is the best season to pick the seed pods. They should look brown and should be dropping from the trees. Some seed pods are winged (like Maple trees) and some are singular (like Dutch Elm trees).
Wait until the seed pods are falling, and then you know that they are ripe. Get them quickly, because you will be competing with birds!
Always label your packets, at least by “Conifer” and “Deciduous”. Allow air to get into the envelope.
Your envelope can be made of paper or vellum. Here is a pattern for making your own seed envelopes:
You can also buy vellum envelopes at craft or art supply stores. Simply fold over the open end, put a small bit of tape, label with a marker or pen, put in a sealed container such as a glass jar, and put in a dark, cool place with your other garden seeds.
General Guidelines for Using Medicinal Trees
How to Use Bark as Medicine
The medicinal benefits from the bark are found in the greenish yellow or green or cambium layer just beneath the outer portion of the bark. Bark can be dried and saved for the future or put to immediate use.
To dry the bark properly without damaging or over-drying the cambium layer, place the bark in a shaded area and do not overlap the pieces.
To prepare the bark for use, simmer about two teaspoons of the matter with one cup of water for about 20 minutes in a non-aluminum pot – with the lid on. Strain the water off, allow to cool, then pour in a cup and drink.
One dose is approximately one-quarter of a cup. The bark medicine is presumed safe to drink up to four times a day for adults around 150 pounds; consume with a meal.
Children and 75 pounds and smaller adults should reduce the bark tea ingested by half.
Younger children who weigh less than 40 pounds should decrease the dosage by half yet again.
The bark tea can be stored in a firmly sealed mason or other glass jar for up to a week.
How to Use Leaves as Medicine
During the spring and summer months, the leaves are used for health aids.
Steep approximately two teaspoons of either dried or fresh leaves per one cup of boiled water for about 20 minutes.
Do not use an aluminum pot and keep the pot lid on during the process.
The dosage amounts are the same as with the tea bark.
How to Make Wound Washes and Poultices
If the leaf or bark tea will be used in the bath water to treat an irritation or as a wound wash, increase the amount of bark or leaves slightly and decrease the water just a bit as well.Simmering or steeping for a few more minutes is also advised.
To make a tree leaf poultice, manually or in a blender, mix the tea into a mush and add more leaf or bark (especially elm bark) until the mixture reaches a dough-type consistency. Spread the mixture onto a clean cotton cloth and apply to the wound. Leave the poultice on for about an hour before discarding. This process can be repeated daily until the wound has healed.
A fomentation-style poultice made out of either bark tea or leaf tea involves soaking the significantly more liquid mixture onto a clean cotton cloth and then applying to the wound.
How to Make Salves
To make a bark tea or leaf tea salve, put the matter in a non-aluminum pot and cover it with olive oil – the cold-pressed virgin variety is reportedly the best option. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes in a lid-covered pot.
Melt beeswax in a separate pot and allow to simmer for 20 minutes as well. Three tablespoons of beeswax for every cup of olive oil is the proper ratio.
Stir the contents of the two pots together, allowing it to cool and harden before storing in a glass jar with a snug lid.
How to Make Tinctures
To make a bark tincture, use the roots, bark or buds from the tree. Chop the matter into small chunks and place inside a glass container. Cover the pieces with 80 proof or higher alcohol; vodka is commonly used. Cover the glass container with a tight-fitting lid and allow to sit for eight days, shaking occasionally each day.
Then add one cup of water (spring water is recommended) and one teaspoon of vegetable glycerin. Strain the material, put it in a glass bottle, and store in a cool dark place for future use.
To make a leaf tincture, follow the same initial steps as with the bark tincture, but allow the mixture to sit until the leaves or tree blossoms show signs of wilting.
Follow the same water, glycerin, straining and storage steps as the bark tincture.
One dose of either tincture is about 10 drops taken up to three times per day. The dose is better taken with a big gulp of water.
Ten Most Popular Medicinal Trees
1. Alder (alnus glutinosa)
Family - Betulaceae (Birch Family)
– Astringent used as a wound wash and healing agent on deep wounds. Leaf and bark teas are used to treat tonsillitis, fever, as a douche, and for hemorrhoids.
-The fresh bark will cause vomiting, so use dried bark for all but emetic purposes. A decoction of the dried bark is used to bathe swellings and inflammations, especially of the mouth and throat.
The powdered bark and the leaves have been used as an internal astringent and tonic, whilst the bark has also been used as an internal and external haemostatic against haemorrhage. The dried bark of young twigs are used, or the inner bark of branches 2 - 3 years old. It is harvested in the spring and dried for later use.
Boiling the inner bark in vinegar produces a useful wash to treat lice and a range of skin problems such as scabies and scabs. The liquid can also be used as a toothwash. The leaves are astringent, galactogogue and vermifuge.
They are used to help reduce breast engorgement in nursing mothers. A decoction of the leaves is used in folk remedies for treating cancer of the breast, duodenum, oesophagus, face, pylorus, pancreas, rectum, throat, tongue, and uterus. The leaves are harvested in the summer and used fresh.
2. Apple (Malus domestica)
Family - Rosaceae (Rose Family)
– Tree bark is used to treat fevers and diarrhea. Stewed apples can be used as a laxative. Baked apples are great as a warm poultice for fevers and sore throat. Apple cider helps destroy intestinal flora and decrease bacteria flowing to the bowels.
The fruit is astringent and laxative. The bark, and especially the root bark, is anthelmintic, refrigerant and soporific.
An infusion is used in the treatment of intermittent, remittent and bilious fevers. The leaves contain up to 2.4% of an antibacterial substance called "phloretin". This inhibits the growth of a number of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria in as low a concentration as 30 ppm.
A ripe raw apple is one of the easiest foods for the stomach to deal with, the whole process of digestion taking about 85 minutes. The apple juice will reduce the acidity of the stomach, it becomes changed into alkaline carbonates and thus corrects sour fermentation.
The apple is also an excellent dentifrice, the mechanical action of eating a fruit serving to clean both the teeth and the gums.
3. Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
Family - Oleaceae (Olive Family)
Black-budded stems are identifiers of the Ash tree.
– Twig tips and leaves turned into a tea help reduce rheumatism, jaundice and gout.
The leaves are astringent, cathartic, diaphoretic, mildly diuretic, laxative and purgative. The have been used as a laxative, making a mild substitute for senna pods.
The leaves should be gathered in June, well dried and stored in airtight containers.
The bark is antiperiodic, astringent and a bitter tonic. Little used in modern herbalism, it is occasionally taken in the treatment of fevers.
The seeds, including their wings, have been used as a carminative. They will store for 12 months if gathered when ripe.
4. Beech (Fagus sylvatica)
Family –Fagaceae (Beech Family)
– Bark tea from this tree will help treat lung problems and was once used in tuberculosis treatments.
It is also used to help cleanse the blood.
Beech tea is not recommended for pregnant women. Leaf tea is used in poultices to treat frostbite and burns.
Silver Birch (Betula pendula)
Family - Betulaceae (Birch Family)
– Leaf tea helps heal sores in the mouth and helps heal bladder and kidney problems, and gout. Use bark in a bath to aid psoriasis, skin rashes and eczema.
Birch sap contains betulinic acid, which is used to help reduce tumors and fight cancer.
Anti-inflammatory, cholagogue, diaphoretic.
The bark is diuretic and laxative. An oil obtained from the inner bark is astringent and is used in the treatment of various skin afflictions, especially eczema and psoriasis. The bark is usually obtained from trees that have been felled for timber and can be distilled at any time of the year.
The inner bark is bitter and astringent, it is used in treating intermittent fevers. The vernal sap is diuretic.
The buds are balsamic.
The young shoots and leaves secrete a resinous substance which has acid properties, when combined with alkalis it is a tonic laxative.
The leaves are anticholesterolemic and diuretic. They also contain phytosides, which are effective germicides. An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of gout, dropsy and rheumatism, and is recommended as a reliable solvent of kidney stones. The young leaves and leaf buds are harvested in the spring and dried for later use.
A decoction of the leaves and bark is used for bathing skin eruptions. Moxa is made from the yellow fungous excrescences of the wood, which sometimes swell out of the fissures.
6. Cedar (Thuja plicata)
Family – Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)
– Bark tea is used to treat fevers, rheumatism, the flu and chest colds.
Western red cedar was employed medicinally by a number of native North American Indian tribes, who used it to treat a wide range of complaints. It is seldom, if ever, used in modern herbalism.
An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of stomach pains and diarrhoea. A decoction of the leaves has been used in the treatment of colds. A decoction of the powdered leaves has been used externally to treat various internal pains, including rheumatism.
The leaf buds have been chewed in the treatment of toothaches and sore lungs. A decoction of the buds has been used as a gargle.
A decoction of the small branches has been used in the treatment of coughs, colds and tuberculosis. A weak infusion has been drunk in the treatment of painful joints caused by rheumatism or arthritis. A poultice of the crushed bough tips and oil has been applied to the back and chest in the treatment of bronchitis, rheumatism, stomach pains and swollen neck. An infusion of the twigs has been used as a wash in the treatment of venereal disease sores. A decoction of the boughs has been used as an antidandruff shampoo. A decoction of the stem tips and the roots has been used in the treatment of colds.
An infusion of the bark and twigs has been used in the treatment of kidney complaints.
An infusion of the seeds and twigs has been used in the treatment of fevers.
The chewed bark, or a decoction of the bark, has been drunk to induce menstruation. A moxa of the inner bark has been used as a counter-irritant for the skin. A poultice of the inner bark has been applied to carbuncles.
The bark has been pounded until it is as soft as cotton and then used to rub the face. The very soft bark has been used to bind wounds and cover dressings.
The shredded bark has been used to cauterize sores and swellings.
7. Elder (Sambucus wightiana)
Family – Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)
– Bark tea is used to treat headaches, for congestion, and to lower fever by inducing perspiration.
The plant has medicinal qualities. No further details are given but these are the medicinal properties of the closely related S. ebulus:- The leaves are antiphlogistic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant and laxative. The fruit is also sometimes used, but it is less active than the leaves. The herb is commonly used in the treatment of liver and kidney complaints. When bruised and laid on boils and scalds, they have a healing effect. They can be made into a poultice for treating swellings and contusions. The leaves are harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use.
The root is diaphoretic, mildly diuretic and a drastic purgative. Dried, then powdered and made into a tea, it is considered to be one of the best remedies for dropsy.
It should only be used with expert supervision because it can cause nausea and vertigo. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh berries or the bark. It is used in the treatment of dropsy.
Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the leaves and stems of some, if not all, members of this genus are poisonous. The fruit of many species (although no records have been seen for this species) has been known to cause stomach upsets to some people. Any toxin the fruit might contain is liable to be of very low toxicity and is destroyed when the fruit is cooked.
8. Elm (Nettle tree) (Celtis australis)
Family - Ulmaceae (Elm Family)
– Bark salve and poultices are used to treat gunshot wounds, chilblain, and on the abdomen to draw out fever. Bark tea is very high in calcium and helps increase the healing of injured bones, heal sore throats, soothe urinary and bowel issues, and to thwart diarrhea.
The leaves and fruit are astringent, lenitive and stomachic. The leaves are gathered in early summer and dried for later use.
The fruit, particularly before it is fully ripe, is considered to be more effective medicinally.
A decoction of both leaves and fruit is used in the treatment of amenorrhoea, heavy menstrual and intermenstrual bleeding and colic.
The decoction can also be used to astringe the mucous membranes in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery and peptic ulcers.
9. Hawthorne (Crataegus monogyna)
Family - Rosaceae (Rose Family)
– Leaf tea is brewed as a “cardiac tonic” but extended use is known to cause a drop in blood pressure. It is recommended to use it for just two weeks and then take a week off before starting the treatment again.
- Hawthorn is an extremely valuable medicinal herb. It is used mainly for treating disorders of the heart and circulation system, especially angina. Western herbalists consider it a "food for the heart", it increases the blood flow to the heart muscles and restores normal heart beat. This effect is brought about by the presence of bioflavonoids in the fruit, these bioflavonoids are also strongly antioxidant, helping to prevent or reduce degeneration of the blood vessels. The fruit is antispasmodic, cardiac, diuretic, sedative, tonic and vasodilator.
- Both the fruits and flowers of hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic and modern research has borne out this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and mild heart tonic. They are especially indicated in the treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure, they are also used to treat a heart muscle weakened by age, for inflammation of the heart muscle, arteriosclerosis and for nervous heart problems. Prolonged use is necessary for the treatment to be efficacious.
- It is normally used either as a tea or a tincture. Hawthorn is combined with ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) to enhance poor memory, working by improving the blood supply to the brain.
- The bark is astringent and has been used in the treatment of malaria and other fevers.
- The roots are said to stimulate the arteries of the heart.
Acer rubrum = Red Maple
Family - Aceraceae (Maple Family)
The typical winged seed pods of Maple trees
– A leaf wound wash or poultice is used to relieve sore eyes and soreness of the breasts for nursing mothers and pregnant women. Bark tea is used to treat kidney infections, the common cold and bronchitis.
The bark has astringent properties and has been used as an application for sore eyes. The inner bark was used according to one report. An infusion of the bark has been used to treat cramps and dysentery.
Seed Banks Around the World
A seed bank in Iceland (pictured below) has been collecting seeds from trees and plants all over the world. It is in a remote area, and securely locked.
As God's enemies will not be sharing their stocks, we had better have our own humble seed banks, and God will surely bless us!