Important, valuable, and prominent tree in the Pacific Northwest that is adaptable and thrives in many environments -especially Oregon where 8/10 conifers found are Douglas-fir and it serves as the state tree. The tree has a full pyramid shaped with soft dark green-blue, soft needles. Matured bark is a reddish-brown color that consists of lot’s of grooves. They can grow up to 300 ft high and can live up to 1000 years old.
Douglas-firs serve more purposes than just standing as a Christmas tree. A traditional use for Northwest Native people has been to make evergreen tree tip tea. The tea has a citrus-pine flavor and is extremely hydrating and revitalizing and has been called “nature’s gatorade.” To make the tea you harvest the tips and can infuse them either hot or cold for either a few hours, or overnight. This tea is an excellent source of vitamin C and for the best flavor, Douglas-fir tips should be harvested in the springtime.
Douglas-fir isn’t as wide spread today, however there are very many medicinal benefits associated with this native plant. The resin from the trunk has antiseptic properties and can be used for a variety of skin ailments including cuts, scrapes, burns, and others. The resin can also be chewed like gum and used to treat cold symptoms like a sore throat or cough. Twigs and shoots are also known to have medicinal properties. They have been used in the past to treat kidney and bladder issues, used as a mouthwash, and can even aid in preventing athlete’s foot.
In addition to all the many uses of Douglas-fir, it can be used as good fuel. The pitch present in the bark allows the tree to burn with a lot of heat and little to no smoke.