Pine tar, derived from pine trees, is actually impure turpentine, originally obtained by distilling the resins from the split fatwood of pine tree roots. Modern methods of obtaining the resins also include using steam pressure. Pine tar is a thick, brown liquid that carries the scent of pine. It is blended with solvents for use in varnishes and wood sealants, and was used as pitch to seal wooden ships. Pine tar is also used in folk remedies for animals and humans. Medicinal uses have not been tested in clinical settings.
According to Botanical.com, pine tar water is an old remedy used to break up congestion and to treat coughing in horses. Pine tar has antiseptic effects, and has been mixed as a salve to treat cuts, abrasions and skin rashes. Applied topically, oil of pine tar may be effective on mange.
Eczema and Psoriasis
Pine tar soap has been used for over 100 years to treat eczema, psoriasis and other forms of dermatitis. It moisturizes dry, scaly skin and helps it heal. Pine tar soap is safe to use anywhere on the face and body, and is also used as a shampoo.
Flaky scalp conditions that cause dandruff respond to pine tar soap or shampoo. The pine tar heals the scalp and returns dry, itchy skin to normal, reducing or eliminating dandruff.
Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac
Pine tar soap soothes the rash of poison ivy, oak or sumac. Washing the affected area can stop the itch and dry the rash, speeding healing.
Before World War II, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended the daily use of Packer’s Pine Tar Soap as an insect repellent. The scent kept mosquitoes, chiggers and ticks at bay, while the soap soothed the skin and kept it healthy.
Fern Fischer's print and online work has appeared in publications such as Midwest Gardening, Dolls, Workbasket, Quilts for Today and Cooking Fresh. With a broader focus on organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family articles, she specializes in topics involving antique and modern quilting, sewing and needlework techniques.