Ancient pine syrup, tea, tinctures, essential oil, wine infused with resin, the list could go forever. As we are spending the most empowering time in the area of national park Schinias in our favourite Marathon, inspiration bursts from every step we make. No wonder Athenians won the great battle of Marathon on this very beach. Something gives you the power, gives you dynamic energy and living force.
The stone pines or umbrella pines (Pinus pinea), spread on the west of the Schinias forest, while to the east, it coexists with aleppo pine (Fox pine) (Pinus halepensis). Foxes are not rare here 😉
The tradition of eating anything from pine
From root to the highest needle, pine trees around the globe, have been utilised for food and medicine. on every continent in the northern hemisphere, there is a legend, there is a story or the whole myth about pine trees. Natives in North America had the pine nuts as a staple of their nutrition. In Scandinavia and Russia, pine syrup is the ultimate elixir of health for the extreme cold weather. But in the Mediterranean zone, things get a bit romantic and mystical!
Ancient Greeks and Romans
Even though Rome conquered Greece, Greece conquered Rome culturally. This is a sentence of my history teacher from primary school I will never forget. Hw did this happen? Well, Greeks already had developed science and arts to the levels Romans could not even dream about. Especially the medicine and healthy living.
Pine was worshipped by the followers of Dyonissos and various recipes for wine and other beverages infused with pine resin have been developed throughout the years. However, when the Romans came, they disliked the taste of Retsina, a traditional Greek wine made with the addition of pine resin. This gave the Greeks the idea of how to preserve more wine for themselves, so they started adding more resin to the wine.
However, Greeks were considered as the best physicians, that is why every Roman emperor had a Greek doctor! From the Hippocrates times, spending time in pine forest was prescribed to various patients. The greatest healing centre in ancient Greece, the mighty Epidaurus, is located in the middle of the pine tree forest.
Hippocrates prescribed pine tea and baths
Although his favourite plant from the pine family was Juniper, Hippocrates would often prescribe pine needles infusion both orally and for baths. Other physicians throughout history used them in various medicinal remedies. Even scientific studies, such as this one, confirm that the usage of pine needles can have antioxidant and antiapoptotic effects.
How we got inspired for this ancient pine needle syrup
Just spending the time and waking up under these trees makes you wonder about the ancient wisdom. The forest here is so untouched that you simply cannot compare the quality of life here with the one we have in busy Athens. Walking through the forest to reach the beach was the EUREKA moment. There are hundreds of young trees, only 15 centimetres tall which are trying to hide the path. These are the best needles for syrup and tea preparation. Ancients would just boil them and mix them with honey. However, we have to Ketonise this!
Ancient pine syrup had honey, what shall we use?
Honey also had medicinal properties because back then, real honey was rare, difficult to obtain but real! Not the thing we buy in supermarkets today. Since we already made Keto honey substitute recipe, you can just mix the needles with it and get yourself an ultimate elixir. However, for the new Ketonians, we will post a whole recipe from scratch! Health never felt so inspiring! Give it a go if you can find fresh pine needles. Your soul and body will be beyond happy when you start using it…
Amazing benefits of pine needle syrup
1. Pine needle syrup has a magical flavour and smell
2. It is abundant in vitamin C and can greatly help heart diseases, varicose veins, skin issues and chronic fatigue
3. Vitamin C is also an immune system booster, and you can chew raw pine needles
4. Pine needles have a lot of Vitamin A, which is good for your eyesight, hair and skin. It boosts red blood cell production.
5. It is an ideal natural remedy for respiratory system problems.
6. For thousands of years, people reported that pine needles bring clarity and mental clearness!
7. It is ideal for fighting depression!
8. Pine needles contain antioxidants. They diminish free radicals, which often are causing diseases.
9. There is some scientific evidence that pine needle infusion can slow the ageing process.
CAUTION: Don’t try pine needle syrup or tea if you are pregnant. Most pine varieties can be used, but steer clear of Yew and Cypress which can sometimes be mistaken for pine.