Pine needles: ancient importance to human health

Pine needles: historical significance to human well being

People have lengthy had a fascination with pine timber and their position within the pure world round us. They’re mysterious, lovely, historical timber that may reside as much as tons of and, in some circumstances, 1000’s of years.

There are about 125 totally different pine species which were recognized, among the longest-lived timber and organisms on the planet.

The truth is, some timber of the Bristlecone Pine species (Pinus longaeva) have been carbon dated to be round 5,000 years previous. (1)

Whereas the human genome has over three billion base pairs, the Loblolly pine species has been proven to have 22 billion base pairs, greater than seven occasions the quantity of genetic materials in us people. (2)

Historical past of Pine Needle Advantages and Compounds

Indigenous people have lengthy used pine needles and numerous compounds from some pine timber for at the least tons of of years. (3) Consuming sure pine needles impacts the immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological techniques of us people.

Curiously, it was the bark and needles from the pines that the Iroquois gave to Jacques Cartier’s severely unwell crew in 1536, which helped present the vitamin C the crew wanted on the time to remedy scurvy. (4)

In newer occasions, pine needles and pine needle tea have garnered an amazing quantity of consideration from scientists, physicians, and people within the well being and wellness area, as a result of many alternative compounds which might be discovered naturally inside some species. (5)

Pine needles, particularly these of the jap white pines (Pinus strobus), are recognized to offer many alternative compounds and vitamins, together with antioxidants, vitamin C, important oils, amino acids, and flavonoids.

One of many extra intriguing compounds that scientists have begun rediscussing in 2021 is the naturally occurring shikimic acid discovered inside sure pine species equivalent to jap white pines.

Pine needles and shikimic acid

Some could also be accustomed to the time period shikimic acid as a result of truth that it’s the main constituent throughout the antiviral drug Oseltamivir, additionally recognized commercially as Tamiflu. (6) Whereas pine needles shouldn’t be confused with Tamiflu, shikimic acid as a naturally occurring compound is understood to induce a number of physiological results throughout the physique.

Shikimic acid can also be recognized in biology because the Shikimate pathway and was first found by the Dutch chemist Johan Fredrik Eykman in 1885.

The Shikimate pathway is prime to life and is a seven-step pathway utilized by micro organism, fungi, archaebacteria, algae, some protozoa and crops for the biosynthesis of nutritional vitamins, folate and the fragrant amino acids phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan. (7)

These amino acids assist produce neurotransmitters and compounds equivalent to serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine, dopamine, CoQ10, and thyroid hormone, significantly by means of the assistance of helpful intestine micro organism.

Shikimic acid has been proven to help wholesome platelet operate and help wholesome cardiovascular operate in people. (8)

It has additionally been proven to assist help the operate of the intestines and digestive system, in addition to the myelin sheath. (9) The myelin sheath is the fatty substance that surrounds neurons and acts as an insulator for all electrical communications that happen between these neurons.

Shikimic acid can also be recognized to exert antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti inflammatory properties, amongst different essential properties. (10)

Shikimic acid, pesticides and digestive functioning

As detailed above, shikimic acid is the tip results of the seven-step metabolic course of generally known as the shikimate pathway. This pathway is understood to be adversely affected by a number of pesticides, together with the well-known glyphosate.

Glyphosate has been some of the broadly used pesticides on the planet, and lots of research and lawsuits have detailed its controversial use in recent times, with the World Well being Group classing it as a Class 2A possible human carcinogen. (11)

The pesticide creates some totally different dangerous and noteworthy results, equivalent to inhibition of essential cytochrome p450 enzymes and suppression of p53 gene operate. This explicit gene is loosely recognized to scientists because the Guardian of the Genome. (12)

As for the shikimate pathway, glyphosate targets this seven-step course of by inhibiting a key enzyme generally known as EPSPS (5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase). When EPSPS is inhibited, the development of the amino acids wanted for protein manufacturing is blocked and the plant dies.

Whereas we people don’t immediately comprise the shikimate pathway, it’s recognized how and why glyphosate nonetheless impacts us.

In 2021, the primary bioinformatics technique was used to evaluate the potential sensitivity of organisms to glyphosate based mostly on EPSPS enzyme kind.

The brand new methodology they used was additionally capable of classify the sequences of about 90% of eukaryotes and greater than 80% of prokaryotes.

Scientists weren’t stunned to search out {that a} staggering 54 % of species within the core human intestine microbiome are delicate to glyphosate, even saying that was a conservative quantity introduced. (13)

Since glyphosate harms a lot of the helpful micro organism within the intestine, it is no shock that well being situations like most cancers, melancholy, weight problems, diabetes, and digestive dysfunction have elevated over time alongside the widespread use of glyphosate. (14)

Pine needles and pesticide-free farming

Shikimic acid and the shikimic acid pathway are essential due to their necessity in creating an immense quantity of life on this planet and the way it impacts the human microbiome and general well being.

The usage of artificial pesticides has dramatically impacted us people in a number of methods, in addition to pollinators equivalent to bees and butterflies.

Our meals, water, meadows and prairies have additionally been affected by glyphosate and consciousness of the issues of artificial pesticides is step one in serving to cut back their use on this planet.

Selecting organically grown or sustainably harvested meals at any time when attainable is one approach to cut back your consumption of artificial meals sprayed with pesticides and assist help a wholesome microbiome.

One other approach to help the microbiome, intestine, immune system and respiratory functioning is the consumption of pine needles and the energetic elements discovered inside.

The centuries-old use by indigenous peoples of jap white pine needles and pine needles of assorted different species has lately been introduced into the limelight as a result of healthful compounds these needles naturally comprise, in addition to their relevance to international well being, l agriculture, and meals.


  1. taught/historyculture/the-prometheus-story.htm
  5. plan/what-to-know-pine-needle-tea

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