Piñon is a resilient and joyful tree; this pine smells like bright citrus. Energetically, piñon helps us embrace more joy in our lives. We ethically wild-harvested our piñon in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and lovingly processed it on our micro-farm in Sausalito, California under the light of October’s blue moon.
New Mexico Piñon
On a crisp fall afternoon in the outskirts of Santa Fe, I met with one of my best girlfriends, her daughter, and my daughter to harvest piñon needles from wild trees lining her property. It’s always been a dream of mine to make a piñon hydrosol because of its antiseptic, antibacterial skin-loving properties, and also because ever since I can remember, piñon has been one of my all-time favorite smells.
Piñon trees are possibly the first indigenous nut tree on our continent. The tribes of the southwest have used their medicinal and nutritional properties for thousands of years. They stand five feet tall and live for 600 years!
One of the coolest things about piñon trees is that these trees are micronutrients and macronutrients to the soil surrounding them. Proving what we already know about nature is a closed system, that all living things work in synergy with each other when in balance, feeding each other. Since the early 2000s, the piñon population of trees has been dying for an unknown reason. Maybe it’s a beetle, some scientists have speculated. Perhaps it’s climate change, others have said, but what we know is that this tree is essential to the land it nourishes. It is precious.
With all of these facts in my mind, we set out to find a grove of healthy trees that create a border around a river bed behind my friend’s home. The river bed was lined in rose quartz crystals and large sandy boulders, the sky was a neon blue with big white New Mexico clouds, and the air smelled cool and crisp like dirt and pine.
As we walked, my five-year-old daughter said to me, “mom, I wonder if we will find an arrowhead in this arroyo” (arroyo is Spanish for river bed). I told her that I bet she would if she kept her eyes on the rocks and moved slowly. Almost instantaneously, an arrowhead appeared to her in the sand. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true, finely made out of volcanic glass.
As we walked through the arroyo, I selected only one or two branches from each tree to not harvest too much from a single area. We thanked the trees. My girlfriend and I spoke about love lost and love gained as we wandered through that river bed. It’s the medicine of New Mexico’s wilderness that I feel is some of the most untouched and powerful. Saying words out loud, and they seem to manifest like magic. The earth there has been unchanged since its formation and has a wild beauty that shocks your senses. This is why New Mexico is the land of enchantment. It’s enchanting.
As we made our way back to her house, with two kids and two dogs and fresh piñon, I resolved to tell you how extraordinary this hydrosol is, that it comes from a unique place that is otherworldly.
When I returned home to Sausalito, I processed this piñon as delicately as I harvested it. I filled a large bathtub with ultrapure water and submerged the piñon needles for 12 hours under the full moon. I did this to soften the hard cuticles surrounding the piñon’s needles, and then on Halloween, I packed my copper still. Under the blue moon of October, we made our piñon hydrosol, in its witchiest form. It took us a total of 12 hours to process our hydrosol. In the end, we made four gallons, just enough to make 100 bottles. All in all, it took precisely 24 hours to complete and 4 hours to collect.
Making skincare and hydrosol tonics is a labor of love—it’s my art in the world. For our label this year, I decided to go with the piñon tree’s wood grain because it’s the heart of the tree, the center of who it is, its core.
This holiday my hope that you use this hydrosol or our juniper hydrosol (also harvested in the same valley in New Mexico) and feel the love that the earth provides us, that we are a system with all living things, and that the nutrients of the piñon that also heal the soil in the land are the same nutrients that now heal your skin. Filled with tannins that are antiseptic, minerals, and vitamins that protect and nourish your skin, and aromatically create joy in your life.
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Antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal & decongestant
HOW TO USE
Apply morning and evening to freshly cleansed skin before moisturizing. All Botnia products are made with organic ingredients and are meant to be used fresh! For added moisture morning and night, follow by massaging our Replenishing Facial Oil and/or Daily Face Cream into the skin, and finish with another spray of your hydrosol to lock in moisture.