One of many species of fir, the noble fir was seen in the past as a symbol of strength and immorality. Medival herbalists extolled its curative powers, and today, the noble fir is used medicinally to ease coughs and soothe muscle and joint aches.
Plant Facts :
The noble fir is a member of the pine family. Its straight trunk grows 165-230 feet tall, and the cylindrical cones grow upright to a length of 4-6 inches. The long, non pricking needles are distinguished by their spicy, resinlike aroma and taste.
The noble fir grows in the cooler mountainous zones of the western United states, especially the cascade Mountains of Washington and Oregon and the Siskiyou Mountains of northern California. Noble firs need shade and a good deal of humidity.
Parts Used :
It is primarily the fresh needles that are used in natural medicine today.
The needles contain an essential oil with high proportions of expectorant substances, such as lemon and camphor. These account for the fir's value in treating coughs. The needles also contain anti-inflammatory flavonoids, which add to the usefulness of fir needles tea. The tree offers astringent tannins, found in the bark, and turpentine, found in its resin.
The essential oil promotes expectoration and is a mild antiseptic for the bronchial mucous membranes. Baths with fir needle oil have properties that stimulate the skin and promote blood circulation. The body readily absorbs the oil. For this reason, the oil is frequently included in salves and ointments that are applied topically to treat rheumatism, sprains, pulled ligaments, mild muscle pains and neuralgia. When rubbed on the temples, the oil can also relieve headaches.
A Little Lore : A fir Christmas tre keeps its needles an especially long time if its cit down 3 days before the eleventh full moon of the year (usually in November). At one time, such trees received a stamp from the forester and consequently were somewhat more expensive to take home.
For treating coughs, headaches and poor circulation
Methods of Administration
For colds with coughs, use 1 tbsp. of young fir needles per 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 min. drink 1 cup 3 times a day.
Fir needle oil :
For headaches, add 2 drops of fir needle oil to 5 drops of a carrier oil, such as sweet almond, olive or jojoba oil. Then gently massage a few drops on the forehead and temples for 10 min.; using gentle, circular motions.
In the bath :
to stimulate circulation, prepare a decoction for your bath from 7-10 oz. of fresh or dried needles. Cover the needles with cold water and bring to a low boil. Strain and add to your bathwater. Follow with bed rest for 1 hr. Or add 4 tsp. fo fir needle oil to a full bath.
Over the counter products :
fir needle extracts are found in over the counter products - for example, inhalants, ointments, bath products, salves and cough drops available in health food stores for internal and external administration.