The Pinaceae family, commonly known as the Pine family, includes the Spruce (Picea) and Fir (Abies) genera in addition to the Pine (Pinus). Cedar is also in this family although the common cedar in the southwest is actually juniper, a member of the Cypress family. There are no true cedars native to the area.
Therapeutically, the volatile oils from these trees are found in the needles and resin. The essential oil is high in monoterpenes, specifically the pinenes and limonenes. Their warming, light energy is especially beneficial to the respiratory system. A wide variety of herbal pharmacy is made from the needles and resinous parts of the tree.
The best resin and edible nuts come from Pinon (Pinus edulis).
My preferred needles for medicine making are found on new growth branch tips of the Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). The citrusy aroma and taste on these tips is evidence of the limonene content. Many other species in this family can be used in similar ways.
The species encountered locally in this family include:
Pinon – (Pinus edulis)
Bristlecone pine (P. aristata)
Limber pine (P. flexibilis)
Ponderosa – (P. ponderosa)
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii)