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Pine Knots (song jie)

What is pine knots? What is it used for?

Pine wood knots come from the branches of pine trees. The knots are collected by cutting off the branch of a tree, then letting the knots dry (either in the sun or the shade). The knots are then soaked in water, cut into slices, and dried in the sun once more before being used in herbal remedies.

The nodes or knots of pine contain a variety of chemical constituents, including cellulose, lignin, turpentine, resin and dipentene. These ingredients are responsible for pine's analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

In traditional Chinese medicine, knotty pine is considered to have bitter and warm properties, and is associated with the Liver meridian. Its main functions are to dispel wind and dry dampness, and to relieve pain, especially pain caused by external injuries. Some practitioners use it to improve blood circulation and treat pain associated with arthritis.

How much knotty pine should I take?

The typical dose of knotty pine is between 10 and 15 grams, taken with water as a decoction. Smaller or larger doses may be used, depending on the condition being treated.

What forms of knotty pine are available?

Sliced, dried knotty pine can be found at some Asian markets and specialty stores. IT is also available (although less frequently) as a powder.

What can happen if I take too much knotty pine? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

While there are no known adverse effects associated with taking large amounts of pine nodules or knots, patients with hyperactivity of fire caused by yin deficiency should avoid taking it. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking pine knots or any other dietary supplement or herbal remedy.


  • Belanger C. Chinese Herb Selection Guide. Redwing Books, 1997.
  • Editorial Committee of Chinese Materia Medica. State Drug Administration of China. Chinese Materia Medica. Shanghai: Science and Technology Press, 1998.
  • Li Y. Textual research on the original edition of Zhu Jie Shang Han Lun. Zhonghua Yi Shi Za Zhi April 1999;29(2):104-8.
  • Wang Z. Textual research on shi kan and shi zai zhi fang (Shi Zaizhi's prescriptions). Zhonghua Yi Shi Za Zhi July 2002;32(3):140-4.
  • Zheng J. A study on Cai Xishan's Mai Jing (Pulse Classic). Zhonghua Yi Shi Za Zhi April 2002;32(2):82-4.
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