The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Picea excelsa L.
  • Pine family

Common Names

  • Fir tree
  • Norway pine
  • Norway spruce

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Parts Usually Used

Young shoots and leaves
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Norway spruce is an evergreen tree; the stem, covered with scaly, red-brown bark, grows to 130 feet. The winter buds are reddish or light brown and produce young shoots at the tips of the branches in May. The dark green, quadrangular needles grow spiral around the branchlets. The catkin-like flowers bloom in May, the male yellow or red, and the female bright purple. The light brown cones are cylindrical-oblong in shape and 4-7 inches long.

Other variety: Black spruce (P. marina); Red spruce (P. rubes)
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Where Found

Found in central and northern Europe; many varieties are cultivated.
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Medicinal Properties

Calmative, diaphoretic, expectorant
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Before the days of sweet flavored chewing gum, country boys gathered their gum from the spruce trees. City kids could buy this old-fashioned gum in drugstores, at candy counters, and general stores at a penny a lump. Spruce gum is tangy, purple hued and long lasting.

When the tree is tapped, the pitch makes an excellent turpentine with powerful healing properties. The leaves and branches are used in making spruce beer and in nonalcoholic beer.
The gum is used in incense, perfume, medicinal salves, adhesives, etc.
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A tea using young shoots, taken warm, promotes perspiration, reducing fevers. Helpful for coughs, catarrh, and influenza. For bronchitis try a vapor bath of young shoots. Either the shoots or needles can make calming additive to baths. The Burgundy pitch from this tree was once used as a base for medicinal plasters. Treats gonorrhea, leukorrhea, bladder infections, scurvy, and for cleansing the system. Externally, good for wounds, ulcers and sores.
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Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: steep 1 or 2 tsp. shoots in 1 cup hot water for 5 or 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey or raw sugar if desired.

Decoction: add 2-4 oz. shoots to 1 quart cold water and let stand for several hours. Bring to a boil and boil briefly, then let stand for 15 minutes. Take 1/2 cup a day, sweetened if desired.

Bath Additive: add 7 oz. spruce needle extract to a full bath. When fresh shoots are available, a strong decoction made from 1 to 5 lb. shoots can be used in place of the extract.
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Nutrient Content

Vitamin C
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Resource Links

Steaming to Relieve Congestion

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Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

Buy It! Indian Uses of Native Plants, by Edith Van Allen Murphey, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1958, print 1990

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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