While I was in elementary school I remember going out into the community to plant trees during this time of year. As a child this was a fun way to learn about science while also giving back to a community. The additional benefit was not being in class and playing in the dirt 🙂 Even though the lesson during that time was to talk about Earth Day, which is Friday, April 22nd, it never really resonates as a child why planting trees was so important. Besides the connotation that Earth Day = Plant Trees, did you know that Earth Day has been about the education of environmental issue since 1970!
In the 1960’s Americans were becoming more aware of the environment, the effects of pollution, chemical waste, use of herbicides and much, much, more. From the spark of an Earth Day concept by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1969, Earth Day celebrations have grown globally with more than 200 million people in over 140 nations partaking in some sort of environmental education and awareness activities.
With that, enjoy just some of the fascinating health and wellness usages we obtain from trees.
- Fruit –> One of the main uses of trees is to grow fruit. Fruit tree examples include: apples, cherries, citrus fruit (lemons, limes, orange, kumquats, etc.), peaches, plums, pears, pineapple, bananas, mangoes etc.
- Chocolate –> Chocolate comes from the cacao tree found in the Amazon, South and Central America, the Caribbean as well as Africa and Asia.
- Nuts –> Nuts are nutrient dense source of protein, unsaturated fat and fiber that are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Tree nuts include: cashew, almond, pecan, coconut, chestnut, pine nut, hazelnut, macadamia nut, walnut, etc.
- Water –> Trees can hold upward of 100 pounds of water. It is just tapping into the tree for the water that is difficult.
- Honey –> Bee’s will naturally have hives hanging from a tree. As long as the hive has one queen bee the rest of the bees are worker bees that help make honey and pollinate plants.
- Sugar –> Sugar Maple trees are the number one supplier of maple sugar. It is also an environmentally friendly process where the tree is tapped for its sap in which the collection of the maple syrup occurs.
- Spices –> Think allspice, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg are all processed to the form we receive it from a tree.
Medicine and Natural Remedies
- Salicin –> A component that comes from willow trees that was used to make Aspirin. Before Aspirin, willow leaves were used to help fight aches, pains and inflammation.
- Taxol –> A derivative from the Pacific yew that helps treat cancer.
- Lentiscus Mastic –> A resin used by dentists as a dental cement and as a vapor rub – “vicks vaporub.” Lentiscus mastic was previously used as a chewing gum
- Eucalyptus or elderberries –> Used to treat cold, flu and asthma.
- Chewing Gum –> Most of the chewing gum today is made with synthetically but they use to be made from chicle sap found in sapodilla trees.
- Food dye –> Coloring agents for food use to be made from leaves from trees such as henna, bark or even nuts.
- Flavoring –> Cola, root beer or artificial vanilla flavoring all come from trees!
Products for food/drink made out of trees
- Wine corks –> Wine stoppers are made from the “cork bark” from the cork oak trees found in Portugal.
- Wine Barrels –> Different wines use different type of barrels to age their grapes in. Most are oak and these barrels are recycled several times over.
- Latex Rubber Gloves –> Latex is obtained from the white fluid found under the bark of a rubber tree. It is then transformed and used for both medical and household use.
Now that you know just some of the wonderful things we obtain from trees what type of trees do you think you use the most of on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?