Fresh White Spruce resin is a wonderfully aromatic and very sticky resin naturally exuded from the trees during the summer months. The resin appears in marbled shades of brown, but may turn a yellow cream-like color if purified by filtering. This raw resin was collected by Dan at Apothecary’s Garden. Numerous species of Spruce are used for their fragrant resin, especially in the production of essential oils. Spruce trees have long held importance within Native American cultures, especially throughout the northern regions. White Spruce makes a wonderful Yuletide incense.
White Spruce makes an excellent incense when placed upon a hot piece of charcoal. The resin readily liquefies and evaporates fairly cleanly, even more so if the resin is first purified through filtering. The aromatic smoke has the characteristic “pine” scent, but is generally smoother and has a slight balsamic characteristic. This species makes a good substitute for the harder to find Black Spruce resin. The resin can also be used in an electric incense burner, however it is very important to contain it in a foil cup as the resin quickly liquefies and could potentially make quite a mess. Heating in this method produces a nice clean aroma, however we personally prefer to use this resin on charcoal.
Traditionally, Native Americans used White Spruce to treat a variety of ailments. Teas made from the inner bark, young twigs and needles were used both for internal complaints and externally as a poultice. When applied externally, the poultice is used for cleaning cuts and wounds and helps reduce swelling. The chewing of resin and even small cones was very common in traditional cultures to help relieve sore throats and as a breath freshener. Picea glauca has been scientifically studied in modern times and has proven to be an excellent antioxidant in helping counteract the effect of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS can be harmful to both humans and animals, causing programmed cell death among other deleterious effects. It would appear that Picea glauca’s action was an important staple for maintaining good health by numerous Native American peoples in the northern reaches of the continent. Testing has shown that P. glauca is even more effective for this purpose than Picea mariana from which the drug Pycnogenol is produced. The essential oils from various Spruce species now find numerous uses throughout the natural healing community as an antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-carcinogen, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiviral, antiseptic, disinfectant, expectorant, and stimulant. The oil may be used in salves to help with a variety of arthritic conditions and as a muscle soother and pain reliever. Conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, seborrhea dermatitis, and hormonal imbalances are stated to be relieved by the use of such salves. Furthermore, external applications have proven to help the body in stressful times and to help relieve exhaustion, especially when suffering from a cold or flue. Picea glauca essential oil helps stimulate and strengthen the immune system, having expectorant effects that may also prove to be a suitable treatment for asthma and bronchitis. To learn more about making your own natural therapeutic Spruce medicines, please visit Dan Riegler's blog here: "Make a wonderful winter chest rub-From Spruce sap"
In regards to food use, new shoots from White Spruce were once used the production of Spruce Beer and the gum is still sometimes seen used as a chewing gum. Traditionally the inner bark was boiled and eaten throughout North America in the spring as a tonic and immune booster.
Outside of incense and medicinal applications, White Spruce was used by Native Americans (especially in Alaska), as a source of wood fuel, in the construction of dwellings, and the roots were used as a rope for weaving birch baskets and for sewing canoes. The boughs also make a fresh bedding. Smoke from burning wood was also used for curing moose hides. Now days, Spruce finds its greatest use in the commercial industry as a source of pulpwood and lumber for construction. The wood is highly valued for its straight wood grains and its resilience to weather. Notably used in the construction of cabins, various other products can be created from the wood including boxes & cabinets, sounding boards for musical instrument, and paddles & oars.
White Spruce also provides extensive ecological benefits through the northern regions. Forests of Spruce provide shelter for numerous species, especially moose and hares. The nuts are also highly nutritious and provide an excellent energy source for forest dwelling mammals such as red squirrels. By helping maintain a healthy habitat for game species, predators such as wolverines, lynx, and wolves also flourish. Furthermore, White Spruce directly improve the soils in which they grow and are also important for maintaining healthy watersheds. The trees are pioneering species of soils that have been overburdened by coal mining activities and are instrumental in vegetation rehabilitation in such areas.
Kingdom: Group: Family: Genus: Species:
Plantae Gymnosperms Pinaceae Picea glauca
Originally described by:
Andreas Voss (1857-1924)
Abies alba (illegitimate) Abies arctica Abies Canadensis Abies coerulea Abies laxa Abies rubra var. violacea Abies virescens Picea acutissima Picea alba Picea canadensis Picea coerulea Picea laxa Picea tschugatskoyae Pinus abies var. alba Pinus alba Pinus canadensis Pinus coerulea Pinus glauca Pinus laxa Pinus tetragona Pinus virescens
Picea glauca has an extensive natural range covering much of the northern regions of the North American continent. The trees will grow in a variety of soil types and climate conditions, with a range that extends almost to the Arctic Ocean at the 69th Parallel.
Picea glauca can be found in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and in the territories of Northwest & Yukon. In the United States, it is found growing in Alaska, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin & Wyoming.
The tree is also planted as an exotic species throughout other parts of the United States and throughout the northern regions of Europe.
Common English Alberta White Spruce, Black Hills Spruce, Canadian Spruce, Cat Spruce, Porsild Spruce, Skunk Spruce, Western White Spruce, White Spruce
Uralic tongues Finnish: Valkokuusi Hungarian: Kanadai Szürke Luc, Szürke Luc
NOTE: The research on Picea glauca is ongoing. We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information on our products. Please expect the above information to be revised as more information becomes available. If you have further information about this species or if you wish to submit a correction to this page, please feel free to contact us here
As of 2016, we have decided to majorly simplify the taxonomic structures of the species collection. Due to the numerous systems available, and many species being disputed and in a state of flux, we feel that most of our audience will be better served with a easier to understand condensed listing.