Black Spruce Hydrosol 

The quality of a HYDROSOL

The quality of a hydrosol depends on the plant and the soil in which the plant grew. It also depends on the quality of the air, the climatic conditions during the growth of the plant, the precise time chosen to  collect the plant, the waiting time before distillation and, of course, the quality of the water.

BoreA Canada is able to meet all these quality criteria thanks to its very favourable geographical location, in the heart of the wild boreal forest, far from homes and pollution and where the water, land and air are pure.

Latin Name: Picea mariana

English Name: Black Spruce

French Name: Épinette noire

Botanical Family: Abietaceae or Pinaceae

Origin: Quebec, Canada

Parts Distill: Twigs and needles

pH: 4.2-4.

Stability and Shelf Life: Very stable, easily lasts three years.

Materials and Methods: Fresh twigs and needles from the Picea mariana are collected throughout the year by BoreA Canada in the region of Eeyou Istchee James Bay (49° 46’ 56’’ north, 74° 51’ 09’’ west), Northern Québec, and steam distilled.

ORIGIN

Black Spruce is a majestic conifer ranging in height from of 8 to 25meters. These trees look after our Canadian forests from coast to coast, because this conifer grows where other species cannot grow. Favoring moist, sandy or peaty soils, this tree covers North America mainly from Canada’s Far North to the edge of the low Arctic tundra, as well as the northeastern United States. Its twigs are rough and its frayed bark is reddish brown when young and darker when mature. Its greyish-green needles are straight and tight along its branches. Its fruit is a small purple cone that changes to light brown. Of the forty varieties of spruce, it is the most resistant to very cold climates. It can withstand up to -60 degree Celsius temperatures according to some studies. Without its biggest enemy, which is fire, this tree could live up to 280 years.

HISTORY

Indigenous people have been using many medicinal plants from the boreal forest for thousands of years for healing purposes. This knowledge is generally held as a form of oral tradition. For example, Cree from the woodlands used Black Spruce as an anti-diarrheal medication by making infusions from the cones. At other times the needles and cones were used to treat diabetes. For burns, they made balms from Black Spruce resin and chewed on cones to relieve toothache.

The Montagnais First Nations from the Quebec Province used Black Spruce to prepare infusions against sore throats and to cure coughs. Native American children chewed the resin to improve the whiteness of their teeth. They attributed to Black Spruce powerful properties against scurvy. Used mainly to build settlers’ homes, the tree was also used to brew spruce beer made from: needles, cones and molasses. Under the pretext of preventing scurvy, this drink flowed freely in the evenings with the clergy!

In 1772, the English physician, Henry Taylor, discovered a method to extract the essential oil from the spruce and recommended it for respiratory diseases. Dr. Taylor is also the founder of the first distillery in Québec City.

References

  1. Franchomme, P., Jollois, R., Pénoël, D., L’aromathérapie exactement, Encyclopédie de l’utilisation thérapeutique des huiles essentielles, fondements, démonstration, illustration et applications d’une science médicale naturelle, Bayeux, Éditions Roger Jollois, 2001.
  2. Picea mariana (Mill.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenburg, Wikipedia— Species Pages https://www.gbif.org/species/113555102
  3. Ressources naturelles Canada, https://aimfc.rncan.gc.ca/fr/arbres/fiche/39
  4. Traditional use of medicinal plants in the boreal forest of Canada: review and perspectives : ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  5. Turbide Michel, L’Aromathérapie, Huiles essentielles du Québec et du monde, Applications thérapeutiques, Otterburn Park, Santé-Arôme, 2015.
  6. Moerman Daniel E., Native American Ethnobotany, Portland, Oregon, Timber Press Inc, 2016.

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