There is no shortage of information out there that helps people improve their health. The sad reality for so many is that eating organic is a cost factor they can’t embrace on a regular basis. Learning about edible wild food is an alternative that not only provides you with free food, but food that exceeds nutrition levels of any produce that is sold in a grocery store.
Isn’t it time that you think about sprucing up your health? The spruce tree is a fabulous source of nutrients that nourish our bodies and it is free. First of all, it does not matter what type of spruce tree, blue spruce, white spruce or the black spruce, they are all equally good for us. I met Cree medicine women, Moema and Wikimak, years ago in Moosonee (Ontario) – they’re the source of my First Nations’ recommendations.
Spruce gum is the hard sticky sap that oozes from the tree – and although it may not look appealing, it is safe to chew like gum and it is also safe to swallow. First Nations’ parents gave spruce gum to their children as a treat when they spent time out in the bush. It is advisable not to consume a lot, however, as it contains a lot of medicinal values.
Before moving onto another part of the tree, let’s explore the gum a little bit more. When spruce gum was used to make tea it made an excellent medicine to help with upset stomach and it has been reported to even aid in helping stomach ulcers. Other uses for spruce gum tea include:
• Tea is gargled at the beginning of a sore throat.
• Used as a mouthwash to help combat canker sores or gum disease.
• The spruce gum (as is) can be used as a bandage for a wound.
• The gum can help to extract slivers.
• Spruce gum can be made into a salve to heal cuts (or used as is).
• A salve will help with rashes, cold sores and eczema.
• Relieves colds and helps to maintain good health.
The cones as well can be used to make a tea that can help maintain good health and help to relieve a cold. Some First Nations’ elders say that the cones make the best medicine, and that the best medicinal cones are picked throughout the year and preferably from the tops of the younger trees. Ten to fifteen cones are gently boiled for about ten minutes. Small branches can be placed in with the cones for added benefits – just make sure to strain the tea before you drink it.
Having a cup of spruce tea each day is a great tonic for good health. If in the event of a cold or cough drinking this tea four times a day for five days is what many First Nations’ people did to combat their cough and cold. It also helps to relieve sore throats. You can drink the tea while hot or once it has cooled right down. You can even make a large amount up and keep in the fridge.
The inner bark (cambium) can also be used but this is not suggested unless you are in a survival situation as this can harm the tree. The bark can be boiled to make tea or dried and ground down to make flour.
Eating Spruce Tips
The tips of the fresh spring growth are very tasty and very high in vitamin C. Although the entire tree is a good source of this vitamin, the tips are loaded with it. You can eat them as they are, toss them in a salad, add them to soup, or make them into a tea.
Collecting tips and letting the nutrients infuse in olive oil (let sit for 4 weeks) will give you culinary oil to work with that will enhance the flavor of your salads. You can also place some spruce tips in organic apple cider vinegar and let sit for two to three months. This vinegar is a powerhouse of nutrients that has a very unique yet pleasant taste.
Spruce tips can also be used to make spruce beer and spruce jelly.
Spruce: Nutritional Profile
Spruce trees all contain vitamin C. They also contain beta carotene, natural sugars and starch, and are very healthy, so this could be a great addition to your family’s diet!
Consuming spruce in any form comes with one warning: Don’t do it if you’re pregnant!
Spruce trees grow all across Canada and the United States. Isn’t it time you discovered a whole new taste experience? Sprucing up your health is easy and it is free!
About our Guest-Prepper:
Karen Stephenson is an author, professional writer, and researcher. Eating edible wild foods is a passion she shares via her website and through workshops and public speaking. Having an education in herbal pharmacy she enjoys creating her own home care products and being as self-sustained as possible. Karen lives north of Toronto (Canada), in an area she likes to refer to as nature’s grocery store.
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