Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Abies nigra

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History: Still cut for Christmas trees, but recently the amount harvested from natural stands has declined. In the past, specialty items made from black spruce included healing salves from the gum, antiscorbutic and diuretic beverages from twigs and needles, and rope from the roots.

Bill Nelson from Michigan reports, "When I was young, an old timber cruiser told me that at one time all chewing gum was made from Black Spruce. One can make it themselves by gathering the black spruce gum and putting it in a double boiler and heating it. When it becomes liquid, pore it into a shallow pan of cold water. The bugs and other impurities will flote to the top. When it hardens, pour off the water andd sprinkle some corn starch over it. Then cut it into pieces and you have some fine natural chewing gum."
Uses: Principal commercial value is as pulpwood. The wood is made up of long fibers that produce a very high quality pulp.
Small stature limits use as sawtimber and it is rarely used as such. Used occasionally for lumber and a variety of specialty items. Wood is soft and yellowish white, relatively lightweight but strong.
Commonly used as Christmas trees, but loses its needles so soon after it has been cut.
Special uses of the trees leaves include distillation for perfume and as a main ingredient for spruce beer.
General Wood Characteristics:
The wood dries easily and is stable after drying, is moderately light in weight and easily worked, has moderate shrinkage, and is moderately strong, stiff, tough, and hard. It is not very resistant to bending or end-wise compression. It is straight, even grained, medium to fine textured, soft and produces a lustrous finish. It is without characteristic odor or taste. The wood is a pale yellowish white, and there is little difference between the heartwood and sapwood. It has exceptional resonance qualities, in the form of thin boards. It has moderately high shrinkage, but is easily air or kiln dried. It is easily worked, glues well, is average in paint holding ability, but rates low in nail holding capacity. It also rates low in decay resistance and is difficult to penetrate with preservatives.