The Importance of Trees: How Trees Keep Us Alive and Healthy

importance of treesIt is already common knowledge that trees keep us alive. They provide the oxygen that we need to breathe. Without trees, our entire existence would crumble. But providing oxygen is not the only reason trees are important to our world. The importance of trees goes far and deep into our everyday lives and the balance of the entire ecosystem.

To learn more about our earth and what makes it up, we offer this course on geology. Geology is the study of Earth’s makeup and the history of our earth. It is a good basis to know and learn if you are interested in becoming more aware of our planet and what it provides to us. Trees are just one small, but very important, aspect of how Earth works. So in order to fully understand and appreciate the importance of trees, you should also know the history of our planet and what makes those trees grow and sustain us.

Trees Help Us Survive and Thrive

Trees are defined as perennial plants, with a trunk that supports leaves and branches. They range in many different sizes, shapes and colors. They can be breathtaking to look at, but what is most important about trees is that they help living organisms to survive and thrive by providing oxygen to them.

How trees do this is through photosynthesis. What photosynthesis does is take light from the sun and turn it into chemical energy. This energy is stored using carbohydrate molecules and is synthesized using carbon dioxide – what we breathe out – and water. The waste product from photosynthesis is oxygen, what we all need to survive. Like trees, we release a waste product as well when we breathe out: carbon dioxide. So in breathing out, we are actually providing something trees need, just how they provide the oxygen that we need.

If photosynthesis sounds interesting to you, one of the ways you can learn more about it is through biology. Biology is the study of life and living organisms, which includes trees and other plants. If you are interested in learning more about this subject, we offer a course on basic biology. Discover the science of biology or freshen up on what you may have forgotten from high school or college courses.

Trees Are Homes

Like humans, animals need a place to live. Many live in caves or holes, while many animals make their homes in trees. You see birds flying to their nest high up in a tree or squirrels bouncing from tree limb to tree limb. These small animals depend on trees to not only serve as their homes and protection, but many animals also get their food from trees. The koala’s diet is comprised mainly of leaves from the eucalyptus tree. They spend almost 20 hours a day sleeping in these trees and eating from them when they are awake. A more commonly seen example of an animal that uses trees for both shelter and nourishment is the squirrel. These small rodents eat mostly nuts and also rely heavily on tree buds for food. They also eat plants, seeds, fungi and other foods that come from trees. They make their homes in trees, with their arms and legs adorned with claws that are great for climbing trees.

When we cut down or destroy trees for our own purposes, we are taking away the homes of many tree-dwelling animals. And not just the homes, too. There are countless animals in our ecosystem that depend on trees for their primary diet. Knowing that trees not only help us to be able to breathe, but also provide food and shelter for our animal friends is important for us to be aware of. When we are aware of this, we can be conscious to make better decisions for our environment. If you are having trouble figuring out where to start when it comes to making better choices for our trees and environment, this blog can help get you started. In this blog, you will find 25 ideas to get you started with ‘going green’ and helping our environment.

Trees Can Be Medicine

In addition to keeping us alive and providing food and shelter to animals, certain trees can also help us medicinally. There are many trees out there (some even in your own backyard) that provide us with medicinal benefits. Here are a few examples of these kinds of trees and what they provide to us.

  • Alder

This tree can be found in damp areas – mostly wetlands. The bark from the Adler tree is simmered in water. When it is finished, it is used as a healing wash for deep wounds, helping to pull the edges of the wounds together. Not only can it help with wounds, but the bark and leaves can also be made into a tea that helps with fevers and tonsillitis. And if that was not enough, its sap can be used to help with itchy skin.

  • Beech

Although women who are pregnant should avoid using Beech trees as medicine, the bark can be used as tea that helps with lung problems and cleanses the blood. The tea can also be used to relieve itching caused by poison ivy. The bark isn’t the only part of the Beech Tree that can be used for healing. The leaves can be used to help burns and frostbite.

  • Birch

The Birch Tree is not just important to helping humans, but birds frequently use its bark to build their nests, since it peels easily. As for humans, Birch bark, twigs and leaves can be used to help with eczema and psoriasis. The compounds found in the tree’s sap also has anti-tumor properties and tea made from the leaves can be used as a laxative and to heal mouth sores.

  • Cedar

This evergreen tree makes a tea from its twigs and leaves that is extremely high in Vitamin C. The tea can also be used for fevers.

  • Elm

The inner bark of the Elm is used to help heal wounds, ulcers, tumors and more. It is also very high in calcium, so tea made from Elm bark can help strengthen bones. The tea also can help with diarrhea and sore throats.

  • Holly

While many people associate Holly with Christmastime, this tree is actually very helpful when it comes to helping ulcers, herpes breakouts, fever, diarrhea and more. The leaves can also be used as a beverage that helps coughs and colds.

  • Maple

Because of this tree, we all have something to put on our pancakes and waffles: syrup! This sugary and sweet concoction is not the only thing the Maple tree offers. Young maple leaves can be made into oil to massage into sore muscles. Tea from the bark can help coughs, kidney infections and bronchitis and red maple can be used as a wash for sore eyes.

  • Oak

The inside of the Oak’s bark makes a great antiseptic and can help heal wounds by pulling the edges together. Tea made out of Oak can be used to soothe diarrhea, mucus discharges and more. You can also make a wash that can help soothe poison ivy and burns.

  • Pine

This evergreen tea has healing and antiseptic properties that are usually best used as a healing wash. The Pine’s needles can also be made into a Vitamin-C-rich tea that can also help with sore throats and colds.

  • Willow

This tree dwells close to the water and produces salicylic acid, which is not only a natural form of acid, but can help clear up acne. The tree’s bark helps with muscle pain and inflammation as well as colds, diarrhea, headaches and more. It can also be used as a wash for poison ivy and burns.

Knowing how to use trees to your benefit to keep you healthy is an extremely helpful skill to have. In using trees, you are getting medicine that is natural and saving money by using your own methods. To get started on using trees for medicine, you can take this course, which will teach you how to grow a medicinal forest. By creating your own medicinal garden, you are being sustainable and helping our environment as well. You can do all this on 1/8 an acre as well, so it is not even necessary to have a lot of land to successfully have your own medicinal garden.

If you are interested in taking a deeper look at how gardens like this can benefit your overall health and help the environment, we offer another course that takes a look at how our food can heal. By taking the natural approach to food and using trees and plants to gather your nutrients, you can provide a more healthy lifestyle for yourself and give yourself a better quality of life. As you will learn, using natural resources can prevent and battle cancer, heart disease and obesity. Be good to the plants and they will be good to you.