Did you know Christmas trees are not just a Christmas tradition alone? For ages people in many countries believed that having an evergreen would keep witches, evil spirits and illness away. Around the winter solstice, ancient people believed that the sun god was weak in this time but will come back healthy and powerful. Having evergreen boughs around would remind them of the good time ahead and give hope. Though the symbolic use of evergreen was prevalent in ancient Rome and Egypt, it is believed that the custom of decorated fir trees was introduced as a German tradition.
While most of us depend on artificial trees, some of decorate fir trees this season, we wonder what to do with the plant after the celebration is over. Here are some interesting facts about the fir tree you might like.
7 facts you didn’t know about Christmas tree
- There are more than 56 varieties of fir trees and can grow anywhere between 10-80 metres. Fir trees can live long – Some trees are estimated to be 1000 years old.
- Tea made from fresh green fir needles gives vitamins A and C. Boiling green fir needles and making tea with lime and ginger can help up the vitamin quotient in the tea.
- Abies Webbiana (Talispatra), a variant called the Himalayan Silver Fir, is an ayurvedic medicinal plant and is used for treating respiratory diseases. It is also consumed for alleviating digestive diseases.
- The wood of most firs is used as pulp as it is not suitable for timber. However, this can be an advantage where the pulp is used for stuffing pillows. The needles are also used in aromatic bags.
- The essential oil from Abies sibirica, which is a variant that grows in the Republic of Kazakhstan, had the highest antifungal activity. Scientists at the Institute of Physiology and Pharmacology and Kazakh National Medical University, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan are exploring the usage of this oil in toothpaste for helping dental hygiene.
- Although the bark of the Christmas tree (coniferous tree) species is considered as a waste product in the timber industry, it is rich in secondary metabolites, especially phenol and lignan derivatives which are used extensively in the cosmetics and herbal products industry.
- The proantocxyanidin-rich Abies spectabilis bark, found in Nepal, the extract has a strong in vitro antioxidant effect and is being considered as a new antioxidant ingredient for the nutraceutical or functional food market.
Nature packs so much useful information into plants and we are just on the verge of discovering some of them. As you can see, the beauty of the fir tree is beyond a showpiece to hang decorations. As the latest research suggests, with the many uses of the pines, bark and oils, the fir tree is a messenger of good times indeed.
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PlantScience blog is an insightful discussion to understand and explain the science behind the great success of plants – how plants live, survive. Nature at its best is a great repository of knowledge and most of it is still a mystery to our minds. However, at Atrimed PlantScience, we have willed ourselves to research, understand the best-kept secrets of Nature and use that knowledge to the betterment of our health. We believe in thinking beyond, knowing beyond and using the best research capabilities to understand the science plants use to live, thrive, adapt and grow. In this blog, you would find details of some interesting plant facts, the science behind them, snippets of history, updates about science and many interesting secrets. Read, subscribe, share your comments about PlantScience with us. Thank you!
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