I was brought up in Siberia during the time of Communism ~ surrounded by my family, completely immersed in nature and full of gratitude for life’s simplest pleasures. I’ve come to settle in Hampshire, England now but it’s my Siberian roots and philosophy on life that have led me to the journey I’m on today.

“Children need fairy tales, but it is just as essential that they have parents who tell them about their own lives, so that they can establish a relationship to the past.” ~ Mark Kurlansky.

I distinctly remember how my grandma would use ribwort leaves on my grazed knees as a child. Of course, I now understand why their anti-inflammatory and astringent properties made them such an effective topical treatment. She also swore by bearberry infusions to treat the family’s coughs and splutters.


I was devoted figure skater in my youth

Rumour has it that bearberry gets its name because the bright red berries are a favourite with bears! But either way, I was grateful for its healing properties from a very young age.

Nature itself is the best physician.” ~ Hippocrates

Back home in Siberia, pure pine nut oil is deemed to be “worthy of a Tsar” and it was also the natural remedy my grandmother swore by when I developed an excruciatingly sore tummy. The cold pressed oil would calm the inflammation and bring natural relief ~ just as it would have done for generations of ancestors (and Tsars!) before me.

It’s largely grandma’s philosophy that inspired me to study…

towards a BSc in Human Metabolism / Biochemistry. I have the utmost respect for my ‘natural’ past but also want to see pine nut oil get the scientific praise it deserves. It breaks my heart to see people suffering from stomach problems repeatedly. Or reacting adversely to the medication they’ve been prescribed for their condition. For too many people, the over-the-counter treatment seems to exacerbate their condition but they aren’t yet aware of the alternatives available. So I’m passionate about raising awareness of these alternatives. I want people in pain to be able to make informed choices about their own course of treatment so they can look forward to mealtimes and lead a normal, pain-free life.

Plus, I love that Golden Oils affords me an opportunity to keep that connection with my birthplace strong. My cold-pressed oils are sourced only from reputable suppliers in Siberia whose values around fair trade and preservation of the fragile fatty acids are aligned with my own.

About Elena Rayner

Elena Rayner-Melnikova wants to live in a world where those with persistent and debilitating digestive problems have access to information about the alternatives available. As a Public Health Nutritionist, Elena has a special interest in natural health products and Siberian pine nut oil. When she’s not supporting customers, you’ll find Elena tending to Clyde, her donkey, or researching functional fatty acids, appetite and digestive health alongside one of the UK’s leading Consultant Gastroenterologists. To discover a holistic alternative to calming inflammation, join the Golden Oils community at Goldenoils.co.uk

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This month’s article is devoted to the medicinal properties of Siberian pine and its products.

The medicinal properties of Siberian pine (cedars) have been known to folk medicine from ancient times. Modern scientific medicine does not reject them, and they are supported in Christian, Vedic and popular science literature. As well as producing tasty nuts and edible oil, the Siberian pine is also a source of a disinfectant and an anti-scorbutant (against scurvy) that can be obtained from the resin, shoots and needles.

Europeans used Siberian pine products to restore health.

The medicinal and nutritional qualities of this wonder product were known back in the 15th and 16th centuries when merchants brought the nuts and delicacy oil to England, Italy, Norway and other countries. Pine nut milk was widely used in Swiss spas in the 18th century as a very effective treatment for tuberculosis and kidney infections. Pine nut oil is applied to the skin in cases of eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and dryness.

The resin of the Siberian pine has bactericidal properties.

Ladies around Pine TreeThe resin of the Siberian pine was also equally valued in prehistoric times, and it is justifiably called a balm for its ability to heal wounds quickly. Unlike the resins of other types of conifer, the sap of the Siberian pine takes a long time to solidify and does not lose its bactericidal properties; it is still used in medicine to treat sores, skin infections and erosive conditions. During the Second World War a turpentine balsam was made from pine resin. It was an effective treatment for speeding up the recovery of injured troops in hospitals, and saved the lives of many of them.

Siberian pine resin is a product of the living tree, and it is obtained by tapping: a network of shallow (7mm) cuts is made into the trunk while the tree is dormant. The tree has an exceptionally high regenerative ability, and any shallow wounds quickly seal up. This is the basis of modern techniques that allow long-term tapping, over 16–20 years, without harming the species’ survivability and productivity.

Harvesting pine nuts is a job not for light-hearted.

Nut collecting is physically demanding and quite time-consuming work, using primitive equipment to process the cones and obtain the cleaned nuts in the difficult climatic conditions of the Siberian autumn and a lack of roads. In recent years Siberian pine nuts have been in short supply because of the growing market inside the country and the demand from China.

Siberian pines (cedar) are part of the pine family, but they don’t produce pine nuts at regular intervals.

With optimum ecological circumstances there will be 14 good and plentiful harvests in two decades, with average nut production 200–300 kilos per hectare.

Pine nuts have been collected in Russia since time immemorial. Siberian peasants would often go off into the taiga (forest) and live in huts, hunting and collecting berries and mushrooms as they waited for the period when ‘cones come by themselves’.

With the first frosts and wind accompanied by rain the cones would fall, to be collected and processed. Even now experienced tree-climbers knock cones down by tapping gently with a long rod on the branches of the crown. A gentle tap makes ripe cones fall, whilst the immature ones which will ripen in the following year and cone-bearing branches remain undamaged.


Tree-climbers ensure the bark is not damaged by wrapping a rope around themselves and the tree – this is how they reach the height of a 7–9 storey building!

Bears are not so careful… nor patient. They sometimes climb to the upper crowns seeking the delicacy. The fragile top may fail to support the weight and break, often ending in tragedy for the bear. However, such greed can benefit the tree – if two tops replace the top branch they produce even more cones.

Cedar nuts were a valuable economic resource in Russia and when the trans-Siberian railway was planned at the end of the 19th century, they made up a seventh of goods transported and between 1899-1908 almost 3,000 tonnes was transported annually.

They remain a precious, natural, delicious and sought-after resource.

We have come to rely on a magnificent specimen of nature for maintaining healthy bodily systems – the Siberian Pine – which produces the nuts from which Pine Nut Oil is extracted.

It is both entrancing and striking to catch a sight of Siberian pine or co-called cedar trees. Their mighty chocolate-coloured trunks, several arm-spans in circumference, are framed by long, soft dark-green needles, and topped, 30m above the ground, by a spreading, cone-strewn crown.

The Siberian pine is a member of the pine family and may have been named by the Christian Cossacks who opened up Siberia in 1581. Enchanted by the beauty of the trees they may have called them Siberian cedars because they resembled the real cedar, which they knew of by hearsay and Biblical references to a pleasant resiny scent and majestic appearance.

Siberian pine tree (cedar)


For centuries, life, material and spiritual culture in Obdoria, as the ‘eastern land beyond the Urals’ was called in ancient times, were closely linked to the Siberian pine.

For the inhabitants it was the ‘cow-tree’ and the ‘mother-tree’, for from the cedar nuts they could get milk, cream and oil. Siberia is the homeland of the Siberian pine and the tree does not exist in any other countries apart from Mongolia and Kazakhstan, in small pockets close to the frontiers. The Altai is viewed as the Siberian pine’s cradle, its genetic centre. During the glacial period the mountains of the Altai were one of its last refuges on Earth; it survived and spread throughout Siberia. Giant trees, 45 metres high and 2.4 metres in diameter, at least 800–850 years old, have been discovered in the forests of the north-eastern Altai. Our oil comes directly from Altai region of Siberia.

The cedar grows very slowly. During its first 5–7 years it reaches 20–24 cm; it only starts producing cones at 40–70 years, reaching maturity at 200–250 years.

That makes today’s 500-year-old cedars living historical monuments. They were young when Ivan the Terrible came to the throne in the 1540s, they started producing cones as Yermak began the conquest of Siberia in the 1580s, reached the peak of their fruitfulness under Peter the Great at the start of the 18th century, and yielded rich harvests a century later under Catherine the Great.

They were contemporaries of the great writers Pushkin, Turgenev and Tolstoy, who spanned the 19th century.

More about these incredible trees in the next post…


In the first of a two-part blog post, I would like to get personal and explain how I followed my gut feeling by incorporating a Siberian recipe from my youth as part of my winter health regime.

We have trillions of bacteria living in our gut. They are our friends and need to be nurtured because of their connection to our immune system. They line the intestinal tract and comprise a natural barrier, but if ‘good’ bacteria is less dense we are more susceptible to various winter bugs.

Some foods promote ‘good’ bacteria – such as probiotic products increasingly found in shops – but there are few studies which confirm the connection.

Sauerkraut is hugely popular in Siberia, but provokes mixed reactions from people only familiar with a vinegary German product.

However, if you make it from scratch at home using natural fermentation, it’s delicious!

I made sauerkraut from fermented cabbage throughout the winter. It’s high in probiotics, with the potential to aid the digestive and immune systems, with plenty of vitamin C.

I personally believe that incorporating this into my diet regularly helped ward off winter illnesses.

Please try the recipe below and contact me with feedback.

Siberian Sauerkraut

200g Shred or chop finely an organic white cabbage.
4g      Add salt and some grated carrot.
Scrunch it together to mix well and bring out the juice from the cabbage before pressing tightly into a container with a couple of bay leaves, peppercorns and cumin seeds.

Cover with a tea towel and Leave at room temperature.

After 2 days, the cabbage mixture will start to ferment and become more crunchy – that’s the time to bottle using a sterilised jar, where it will keep for up to a year (if you choose to make bigger quantity).

Serve it with a little chopped onion and a drizzle of Pine Nut Oil.


If you consider buying Siberian Pine Nut Oil,

Then you’ve probably researched its therapeutic power in alleviating numerous digestive disorders, plus other conditions. Your next questions are like to be these…

How much should I take?

We suggest you start with 1 teaspoon for the first 2-3 days, then increase to 2 teaspoons (or 3-5 capsules), ideally 30 minutes before meals.

What else can I use it for?

Skin conditions – apply the oil liberally to affected areas once or twice a day.
Salad dressing – it’s a tasty salad dressing but it’s not suitable for frying or cooking as the valuable nutrients are damaged by heat.

How long should I use it?

As a health or nutritional supplement, we recommend incorporating it for 1-3 months. This will give you time to appreciate its benefits and notice improvements. Our Pine Nut Oil is a 100% natural food product that only contains oil from cold pressed pine nuts, but before you order it, please seek nutritional advice (and see our Disclaimer).

Why is it pricey?

Location – Siberian pine (Pinus Sibirica) trees grow in Siberia’s extremely remote natural forest, where access is difficult and transport costs high. It’s a highly labour intensive process to pick pine nuts, de-shell and cold press them, which is why the oil is a precious product and expensive to produce.

Age – It can take up to 25-30 years before a tree produces pine nuts ready to be harvested and a one year resting period is needed every three to four years.

What does it taste like?

It has the same woody pine taste you may be aware of from pine nuts, plain or tasted, used as food garnish and a pleasant, mild aroma.

How do I store it?

We advise below 24 degrees C or in the fridge.

Spread the word!

Did you buy Siberian pine nut oil before? Were you satisfied with the quality? Please let me know by leaving a comment below. Your personal insights and suggestions are so important to me. Thank you.

Share this post and add your name and email address to the top of this page to be the first to hear about more tips and insights just like these ones.

In the second of a two-part blog post, I would like to get personal and focus on diets, because a recent study highlighted that one size doesn’t fit all…

Spring is often the time when people commit to making beneficial health and nutrition changes. Yet before long, people find they slip back to poor eating habits, despite their best intentions.

Scientists have found it’s not just a question of willpower. Genes, hormones and psychology all come into play – the very essence of what makes you an individual.

The latest weight-loss theory is that people should follow a diet tailored to their needs.

BBC Science and obesity experts monitored 75 dieters for three months and looked at three types of overeaters:


  • feasters, who find it hard to stop eating once they start;
  • constant cravers, who feel hungry all of the time;
  • emotional eaters, who turn to food when they get stressed or anxious.

Our relationship with food is a highly personal thing, so to understand why biology is working against you is empowering when making dietary changes.

If you are seeking nutritional guidance or information, please consult registered UK nutritionists and qualified practitioners. You can find out more from the Association for Nutrition, www.associationfornutrition.org.

New research trials are planned into Pine Nut Oil, because it’s proving a strong contender in alleviating inflammatory conditions in the upper digestive tract.

This will be of great interest to dieters too, because Pine Nut Oil increases the CCK and GLP-1 hormones which are responsible for people feeling ‘full’ at mealtimes. And if you feel full you are less likely to snack.

As well as Pine Nut Oil we supply Pine Nut Meal, a concentrated form of protein, low in fat and high in nutrients, which enhances baked goods with its sweet nutty flavour (substitute approximately 1/3 of a cup of flour in any regular recipe).

What’s The Right Diet For You? A Horizon Special is currently available as a BBC ebook, optimised for tablets with full screen videos throughout.

The therapeutic properties of the Siberian pine and products derived from it have been known to folk medicine from ancient times.

Modern medicine does not reject them and as well as producing tasty nuts and edible oil, resin, shoots and needles of the Siberian pine is known for its antibacterial and an anti-scorbutant (against scurvy) properties.

Siberian pine


The medicinal and nutritional qualities of this wonder product circuited during the 15th-16th centuries when merchants brought the nuts and oil to England, Italy, Norway and other countries.

[quote]Pine nut milk was widely used in Swiss spas in the 18th century as an effective treatment for tuberculosis and kidney infections, whilst cedar oil is applied to the skin to alleviate eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and dryness.[/quote]

Siberian pine resin is a product of the living tree, obtained by tapping: a network of shallow cuts is made into the trunk while the tree is dormant. The pine tree has an exceptionally high regenerative ability and shallow wounds quickly seal up. This is the basis of modern techniques which allow long-term tapping, over 16–20 years, without harming the tree or productivity.

The resin, meanwhile, was valued in prehistoric times, as a balm with the ability to heal wounds quickly. Unlike the resins of other types of conifer, cedar sap takes a long time to solidify and does not lose its bactericidal properties. It’s still used to treat sores, skin infections and erosive conditions. During the Second World War a turpentine balsam was made from pine tree resin, which proved effective in speeding up the recovery of injured troops and saved many lives.

Nut collecting is physically demanding, time-consuming work, using primitive equipment to process the cones and obtain the cleaned nuts in the difficult conditions which are part of autumn in Siberia, not forgetting a lack of roads.

In recent years cedar nuts have been in short supply because of growing demand inside the country and from China, making them an expensive and premium product.

Demand continues to increase as more people discover the health and healing benefits from incorporating Pine Nut Oil into their regular diets.

I’m looking to speak with 10 people living with the debilitating symptoms of a stomach problem.

Whether you’ve been prescribed PPIs for a stomach problem like GORD, an ulcer, gastritis, H. pylori or a hiatus hernia, or you’re taking over-the-counter antacids like Gaviscon for heartburn, indigestion or reflux, if this sounds like you and you long to be able to eat normally, without pain, I’d love to speak with you.

Are you my next research participant?

This confidential research conversation (no more than 30 minutes) will be invaluable in making sure the services and products I create moving forward genuinely meet the very real needs of people just like you. We’ll be chatting about your symptoms, your frustrations, what you long for and how you’ve been managing your condition to date.

In exchange for your time and insights

As a thank you for your valuable time and for sharing your insights with me, I’ll be gifting you a 100ml bottle of Siberian Pine Nut Oil worth £12.49.

Book in for a research interview

I’d love to hear from you (or any of your contacts who might fit this profile). Click here to contact me and let’s schedule a mutually convenient time to speak.

Thank you