The Siberian Cedar
Photo by Melody

The Siberian Cedar

By Darius Van d'Rhys (darius)December 17, 2008
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In the current best-selling Russian book series, “The Ringing Cedars of Russia” by Vladimir Megre, there is an often repeated tale of Siberian cedars of an advanced age “ringing”. This of course got my attention, both as a Reader and as a Gardener.

Gardening picture

The tale says the Russian (Siberian) Cedars (Pinus siberica), stand for centuries absorbing cosmic energy from the Sun, planets, ethers and stars. Like many other plants, they grow to provide healing and sustenance to humankind, and if they are not allowed to perform that function (for example, due to remoteness) they begin to audibly ring… thus advertising their location. Accompanying the tale in the books are many details about the nutritional uses, value of the cedars, and their medicinal uses.

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 Siberian Cedar Branch
 Siberian Cedars

 

Being a gardener, of course I am aware of the process of photosynthesis whereby plants absorb energy from the sun, converting it into sugars (carbohydrates) or “chemical energy,” but I was curious about the healing properties and nutritional values reported, so I did some research. I have since become favorably impressed, regardless of the folktale, with the properties of the Siberian Cedar. Due to the books, thousands upon thousands of people worldwide are now starting seedlings of Siberian Cedars (Pinus siberica) in small pots on their windowsills. Many have already been transplanted in the Dachas with the renewed interest in these trees since the Russian publication of the books began in 1996. I have just received my Siberian Cedar pine cones with the fresh nuts still inside, to start my own seedlings. I believe we all need to plant more trees of any kind to help replace those we have taken from Nature.

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 Siberian Cedar Pine Cones

 Siberian Cedar Pine Nuts

Note: One Nut is Shelled, Upper Left

 Siberian Cedar Oil

 

The Siberian Cedar needs cold climates to grow (USDA Zones 1-6) and are widely grown in the Alaskan and Canadian forests. Their height is suggested at over 40 feet (12m) although a specimen 48m (157.5’) tall and 350cm (11.5’) in diameter occurs on Kedrovy Pass in the Altai Mountains. A tree specimen collected at Tarvagatay Pass, Mongolia had a cross-dated age of 629 years. [1]

The Siberian Cedar is a member of the white pine group, but is very resistant to White Pine Blister Rust.  This tree will not grow in shade, but it does grow quite well in either dry or wet soils. The average age of these cedars reported in the Russian Cedars’ books is 150-200 years, although they add some cedars grow and absorb cosmic energy for over 500 years before beginning to die.

The Siberian Cedar is closely related to the Cedars of Lebanon, which have drastically dwindled in number due to commercialization. Petr Simon Pallas (1740-1811), a Russian natural scientist and member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences wrote in Russian Flora that “the healing properties of the cedars increased in proportion to their proximity to the forest tundra.” [6] If that’s true, the Siberian cedar would be the stronger healer of the 2 cedars. Throughout history, both have been used in much the same way. All parts of the tree are used: needles, bark, nuts, and wood. Siberian Cedar nuts, also known as stone pine nuts, are shelled and eaten raw or toasted, ground and mixed with water for a nutritional beverage, and pressed for their nutritious and healing oil. Russian cedar nuts have been a source of trade for hundreds of years.

Cedar nuts contain a lot of fat, proteins, carbohydrates, trace-elements and vitamins.[3]  “Cedar oil proteins contain 19 amino acids, of which 70% are essential. Vitamins in the oil help the human body to grow (vitamin A). They stabilize the central nervous system, improve blood composition and favorably affect skin tissue (vitamins B and D). The oil is very rich in vitamin E (tocopherol). The oil is very rich in vitamin P: it contains three times as much vitamin P as the product called "Vitamin P" made using fish oil. Vitamin P is made up of essential fatty acids, which help to reduce the level of cholesterol in your bloodstream and prevent the formation of plaques on the walls of blood vessels.” [4]

Cedar Nut Oil was used with positive results in a Group involved in the Chernobyl Clean-up.


Medicinal Uses
Disclaimer: This information is presented for historical purposes only.

The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge[5]. It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections[5]. It is also very beneficial to the respiratory system and so is useful in treating diseases of the mucous membranes and respiratory complaints such as coughs, colds, influenza and TB[5]. Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers[5].

P.S. Pallas wrote,“The tips of young pine and cedar branches are praised by all the industrialists and seafarers of Siberia as the best antiscorbutic and balsamic medicine, and are considered by medicine to be a significantly powerful treatment for scurvy."[6]

Druids, the ancient Celtic priests, possessed deep knowledge about the nature of trees and their connection with man and the Universe.  The cedar was one of a number of “healing trees” they identified. In the Bible, in Leviticus Chapter 14, verse 4, God teaches priests to heal people. Of all the plants, only cedar is mentioned several times as a healing and cleansing tree (a cure for leprosy, among others). [6] In the Authorized (King James) Version of the English Bible, the word cedar (or cedars) appears 75 times, from Leviticus to Zechariah.

The Phoenicians built galleys of cedar; cedar was in great demand among the Assyrians as well. A sailing fleet was built of cedar by the legendary biblical King Solomon. He also constructed, entirely from cedar, the Temple at Jerusalem and his enormous imperial court, giving away twenty cities to Hiram in exchange for this precious material. Gopher wood, from which Noah is thought to have built his ark, was (likely) a cedar that grows on the Bahrain Islands. [7]

“This amazing tree has the same biological rhythms as people. The cedar displays its activity not at precisely defined times, as do other trees, but depending on external circumstances. For example, on overcast days in the summer, it “wakes up” at 10:00 a.m., while on bright days it awakens with the dawn; there is a pause in its activity from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. In the evening, the cedar is “active” until 11:00 p.m., and then “falls asleep” for the night. In the winter its life cycles are not suspended, as with other trees, it remains awake, but only “sleeps” much longer.” [8]

ImagePropagation

Sow the seed in individual pots in a cold frame as soon as the seeds are ripe, usually in September. Stratifying the seed for several weeks can improve germination which could take more than a single year. Plant seedlings into their permanent position within 2 years after sprouting, and remember to mulch heavily before winter.

If you are interested in learning more about The Ringing Cedars of Russia, please check this English language  website. Amazon carries the books in paperback.

 

 

CEDAR PINE NUT COOKIES
Makes 6 dozen.

½ cup cedar pine nuts
2 cups whole wheat or spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter
¾ cup maple syrup
¾ cup honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
 2 cups uncooked oat flakes,
1cup dried cranberries (or raisins)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Sift flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside. Beat butter, maple syrup, honey, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in flour mixture and oats until well combined. Add crushed or whole pine nuts and cranberries. Bake about 12 minutes, until cookies are barely browned around the edges.


CEDAR PINE NUT STUFFED TOMATOES
Makes enough for 2

4 firm, ripe Tomatoes
1-1/4 tbsp Cedar Pine Nut Oil
3/4 cup diced Onion
1/4 cup diced Carrot
1-1/2 tbsp Curry powder
2 cups Baby Spinach
1/3 cup Raisins
1/3 cup Pine Nuts
¾ tbsp Sea Salt

Combine all above ingredients except tomatoes. Mix well. Cut tomatoes in half crosswise and scoop out insides, which you can save for tomato soup. Fill each half with combined ingredients. Serve on Lettuce leaf.

Footnotes:

[1] http://www.rastaseed.com/?p=29
[2] http://www.ringingcedarsofrussia.org/articles/articles_breadtree.php
[3] R. Bobrov, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences
[4] V.P. Zhuravlev
[5] Grieve, A Modern Herbal, Penguin, 1984, ISBN 0-14-046-440-9
[6] http://www.ringingcedarsofrussia.org/articles/articles_facts.php
[7] http://www.ringingcedarsofrussia.org/articles/articles_essential_oil.php
[8] http://www.ringingcedarsofrussia.org/articles/articles_essential_oil.php


Photo Credits:
Cedar Pines, #2226830, istockphoto.com, used by permission
Siberian cedar branch, #3893158, istockphoto.com, used by permission
Needles of a Siberian Pine In Sikhote-Alin by Vladimirovich Albitsky aka Pauk, GNU Free Documentation license
2 month-old seedlings by Sergey S. Dukachev, GNU Free Documentation license
Cedar Pine Needles by Sten Porse, GNU Free Documentation license
All other photos are by the author


  About Darius Van d'Rhys  
Darius Van d'RhysI have a 'growing my own food' obsession that comes from my overlapping interests in cooking, nutrition and gardening. I am also a "teacher", a writer, a builder… and a craftsperson and... and… and many other things, LOL. In fact, I guess I am a generalist, and a Seeker. I live in the southern Appalachian Mountains on a hillside with a creek in front, and drive a 15 year old truck I lovingly call “My Farmer’s Ferrari.”

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
Siberian "pine" aka Siberian cedar limeres 7 15 Apr 9, 2014 10:40 AM
Siberian Cedar Sandy_Sue 4 14 Feb 5, 2010 2:09 PM
Ringing Cedars resonate Hemophobic 2 30 Dec 22, 2008 2:22 PM
Wonderful Aunt_A 1 12 Dec 18, 2008 3:11 PM
Cedars phicks 1 15 Dec 17, 2008 10:16 PM
Thanks... Sundownr 1 14 Dec 17, 2008 10:16 PM
your article leeflea51 1 14 Dec 17, 2008 10:15 PM
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