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Fir

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  • Botanical: Abies alba, Abies pectinata
  • Family: Pinaceae
  • Hits: 2180
Fir

Botanical

Abies alba, Abies pectinata

Family

Pinaceae

Known as

Abies alba Miller., Abies alba, Silver fir, european silver fir, Weißtanne

Old Use

culinary; medicinal; manufacturing

Collection Times

September to October

Parts Used

bark, needle, sprout

Aroma

fresh, earthy, sweet, woody

Medicinal

abdominal pain, antiseptic, asthma, bronchitis, bleeding, blood cleansing, bronchitis, circulation, colds, colic, constipation, coughs, cramps stomach, cystitis, digestion, fever, flatulence, gastrointestinal, gum bleeding, low blood pressure, sinusitis, sore throat

Heart & Circulation

bleeding, hemostatic

Hormone & Sexual Organs

uterine bleeding

Infection & Inflammation

gum bleeding, infections, sinusitis

Respiratory System

allergies, asthma, bronchitis, cough, difficulty breathing, lung weakness, pharyngitis, respiratory

Stomach & Intestinal

abdominal pain, cystitis, flatulence, gastrointestinal

Skin & Hair

abscess, acne

Properties

antiseptic, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, anti inflammatory, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, vermifuge

Note

middle

Extraction

steam distillation

Description

A. alba is a large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 40–50 metres (130–160 ft) (exceptionally 60 metres (200 ft)) tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in).

The largest measured tree was 68 m tall and had a trunk diameter of 3.8 metres (12 ft). It occurs at altitudes of 300–1,700 metres (980–5,580 ft) (mainly over 500 metres (1,600 ft)), on mountains with a rainfall of over 1,000 millimetres (39 in).

The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 1.8–3 centimetres (0.71–1.18 in) long and 2 millimetres (0.079 in) wide by 0.5 millimetres (0.020 in) thick, glossy dark green above, and with two greenish-white bands of stomata below.

The tip of the leaf is usually slightly notched at the tip. The cones are 9–17 centimetres (3.5–6.7 in) long and 3–4 centimetres (1.2–1.6 in) broad, with about 150-200 scales, each scale with an exserted bract and two winged seeds; they disintegrate when mature to release the seeds.[citation needed] The wood is white, leading to the species name "alba".

It tends to forms woods with other firs and beeches. It is closely related to Bulgarian Fir (Abies borisiiregis) further to the southeast in the Balkan Peninsula, Spanish Fir (A. pinsapo) of Spain and Morocco and Sicilian Fir (A. nebrodensis) in Sicily, differing from these and other related Euro-Mediterranean firs in the sparser foliage, with the leaves spread either side of the shoot, leaving the shoot readily visible from above. Some botanists treat Bulgarian Fir and Sicilian Fir as varieties of Silver Fir, as A. alba var. acutifolia and A. alba var. nebrodensis respectively.

Properties & Uses

The buds are antibiotic, antiseptic and balsamic. The bark is antiseptic and astringent. It can be harvested as required throughout the year. The leaves are expectorant and a bronchial sedative. They are best harvested in the spring and can be dried for later use. The resin is antiseptic, balsamic, diuretic, eupeptic, expectorant, vasoconstrictor and vulnerary. Both the leaves and the resin are common ingredients in remedies for colds and coughs, either taken internally or used as an inhalant. The leaves and/or the resin are used in folk medicine to treat bronchitis, cystitis, leucorrhoea, ulcers and flatulent colic. The resin is also used externally in bath extracts, rubbing oils etc for treating rheumatic pains and neuralgia. Oil of Turpentine, which is obtained from the trunk of the tree, is occasionally used instead of the leaves or the resin. The oil is also rubefacient and can be applied externally in the treatment of neuralgia. 

Other Uses

An oleo-resin is obtained from blister-like swellings in the bark. It is harvested in the summer and used fresh, dried or distilled for oil. The resin extracted from it is used in perfumery, medicine and for caulking ships. It is called 'Strasburg Turpentine'. Oil of turpentine is an important solvent in the paint industry. The residue, known as 'rosin oil', is used in making varnishes, lacquers and carbon black (for pigments and ink). Resin is tapped from trees about 60 - 80 years old in the spring and used for the distillation of oil. An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used as a disinfectant and also in medicine and perfumery. It is a common ingredient in many bath products, giving them their familiar pine scent. The bark is a source of tannin. Wood - light, soft, durable, elastic. The timber of this tree is especially sought after for its lightness, it is used for construction, furniture, boxes, pulp etc

Cautions

     None known

Distribution

C. and S. Europe

Constituents

 β-pinene (32.8%), α-pinene (17.3%), camphene (16.7%), bornyl acetate (9.0%), limonene (6.1%) and β-phellandrene (4.9%).