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Pinon Pine

by Amy Galper
Organic Spa Magazine Pinon Pine
Organic Spa Magazine Pinon Pine

Photo by Amaling, Wikicommons

Years ago when we were driving through the sacred lands of the Hopi tribe in northeast Arizona, we thought we spotted a shape-shifter; As we sped by along the quiet two-lane highway, we first recognized it as a lonely cow about 250 yards away, who unexpectedly startled us by suddenly turning its head and making eye contact There was something eerie and penetrating about its gaze on us, and we were convinced we had connected to the spiritual energy of the land.

Native American tribes have been living continuously in this region of northeast Arizona and northwest New Mexico since 1100 AD. Home to several tribes, this vast stretch of land vibrates with a life force that is palatable and visceral. Miles upon miles are scented with the sweetly intoxicating and mind expanding notes of the sacred Pinon Pine tree—a tree many Native Americans refer to as  the “tree of life.”

Pinon pine (Pinus edulis) is a small to medium sized tree that grows to about 30-60ft, and can be found at an elevation between 5000ft -7500ft.  It is prolific in the region of northern Arizona and New Mexico and spans as far north as the mountains of Colorado. It’s seeds are what we know as “pine nuts,” and they have been sustaining the Native American people for centuries. High in protein and carbohydrates they provide a perfect balance of nutrition necessary to brave the winter months.  Harvesting the seeds is still controlled by the native people of the region, and is distributed to larger markets.

The wood when dried and used for firewood emits a deliciously soothing aroma that quiets the heart and mind, and clears inner visioning.  During our visit, we had been so mesmerized by the scent of the burning wood, that we were compelled to stay much longer than originally planned.

Pinon Pine essential oil is steam distilled from the needles and twigs and pulls from the complexity of the wood, resin and the needles, offering a dream-like airy “high.”  It’s a kind of transcendental aroma—relaxing to the lungs, deepening the breath and lifting the buried parts of our true self upward and towards the heavens.

I really like using Pinon Pine essential oil in aromatherapy inhalers so  I can carry the scent with me all day—or I blend it with other spiritually motivating oils like Palo Santo, or Frankincense and use in a meditation roll-on.

Since it’s a conifer, its also an effective antibacterial and antiseptic, and great to use during the winter months to boost immunity and ease upper respiratory congestion.

Here are a few of the oils I like to blend it with:

Palo Santo
Balsam Fir
Virginian Cedar
Himalayan Cedar



Amy Galper is the Executive Director and Founder of the New York Institute of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy Retreat at The Standard Hotel and Spa Miami Beach February 22-25, 2015

Connect with Amy @buddhanose@NYIofAroma

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