Healthy Household: Douglas Fir Resin Salve and Liniment

“As respiratory medicine, applied externally in a rub,?these saps make a great winter medicine for colds, flu and winter congestion. They help break up phlegm, open breathing passages, reduce irritating and dry coughs, deepen the breath, calm the mind and encourage a restful sleep.”
Apothecary’s Garden


Local resins have many of the same properties as exotic resins such as frankincense or myrrh. Tree resins are analgesic and antiseptic and can be used to treat wounds, cuts and burns.

Last winter I did two posts on using frankincense resin in salve and liniment. Many of the local tree resins can be used like frankincense. Local resins have some of the healing properties of frankincense though many local resins have not been thoroughly tested for their medical uses.

There are a number of good reasons to experiment with local plants from our bioregion. The first reason is cost. Local resins are free for the gathering. The second reason is flexibility. It’s good to know that even if we couldn’t get a supply of frankincense for some reason there’s a local solution. Just because the science hasn’t been completely worked out doesn’t mean we can’t experiment with local resins. Who knows, we might even stumble upon some new use for these common plants.

“When used for tired and sore muscles and joints, they stimulate surface blood flow which helps remove toxins from muscles and joints, help invigorate tired muscles, ease aches and pains, reduce swelling and inflammation in joints and reduce the pain of sprained and strained muscles.”


This salve smells like laying in the grass in a Douglas Fir forest on a hot day in the Gulf Islands. Very calming.

Douglas Fir Resin Oil
1 part wildcrafted Douglas Fir resin
2-3 parts organic olive oil
1/2 part pure bee?s wax, small pieces

Remember to be very careful working with resins. Use a mason jar that can take the heat but can be thrown out after use or reserve that jar for use with resins. Put the resin into a mason jar and add the olive oil. Half fill a sauce pan with water and put the mason jar into the sauce pan. Bring the water to a boil and simmer the resin and olive oil for 30 minutes. Cool the resin infused oil overnight. The resin will drop to the bottom of the mason jar.

Carefully, pour off the resin infused olive oil into another mason jar. Add the bee?s wax cut into very small pieces. Half fill a sauce pan with water and put the mason jar into the sauce pan. Bring the water to a boil. Simmer until the bee?s wax is melted. Carefully, pour the hot mixture into containers and label.


Add the bee’s wax to the resin oil and carefully warm. After the bee’s wax melts completely, pour the mixture into containers and label.

“[Tree resins] also help moisturize, increase the suppleness of skin and help reduce wrinkles and crows feet. These healing phytochemicals are the whole saps or oleoresins as naturally produced by the trees for their own healing and well-being, not just isolated essential oils.”


Douglas Fir Resin Liniment can be used like any other liniment or medical adhesive. For more information about how to use liniments see the post on Frankincense Liniment.

Fir Resin Liniment?
1 part wildcrafted Douglas Fir resin
3-4 parts 95% alcohol (190 proof) Everclear

Many liniments are made with methanol which is NOT safe for internal use. As I have stated before, I do not put anything on my skin that I would not consider safe to ingest. This liniment is made with ethanol, so it can be used internally.

Have caution when working with resins. Resins are messy and sticky. Use a glass container that will only be used for that type of resin or use a container that can be thrown away after use. It will be impossible to clean the glass container after cracking the resin. The cracked resin will stick to everything it touches and once the resin dries it will produce a very hard, varnish-like coating.

Once you have acquired some 95% alcohol, this liniment is very easy to make. Remove any pieces of wood or dead insects from the resin. Put the cleaned resin in a glass container that will only be used for resin or can be thrown out after use. Add the 95% alcohol to the resin and seal the jar with a lid. Label the jar as fir resin. Put the percentage of alcohol, today?s date, and the decanting date. Decanting day will be in one week but liniment made with fresh resin can be ready in as little as a day.

On decanting day, carefully pour off the liquid into a glass bottle. Use a glass bottle that can be discarded or reused for more liniment because the resin cannot be cleaned out of the bottle.


Making liniment with fresh resin can take up to a week but can be ready in a day. The fresh fir resin is very soft and seems to almost melt into the Everclear. Yes, those are dead ants. If some dead ants get through the cleaning process just remove the bodies as they float to the surface.


For best results use the Fir Resin Liniment followed by a top layer of the Fir Resin Salve or shea butter to avoid sticking.

For more recipes please see Healthy Household: Staying Clean Safely and Saving Money.