Category Archives: Pine Tar Remedy

Dr. Bell’s Pine Tar Remedy


This bottle was found in the 1960s when the expressway came through the Portland neighborhood of Louisville, KY. The site was a city dump many years before. When building began they dug down about 20 feet and unearthed many bottles that were thrown away years ago. This picture is taken from my private bottle collection.

Collecting The Pine Tar
Pine Tar Remedies were used over the years for many ailments from treating colds to skin treatments.Pine Tar is actually extracted from pine trees. The first thing you have to do is locate a yellow heart pine tree. In the South this is sometimes called a Fat Pine. The tress are usually located in damp places and the tar is lemon colored and greasy.Cut the wood into slender straight pieces and fill a dutch oven with them so they stand upright and stay in place when the pot is inverted.

Next you will need some clay- which sometimes can be found in your yard or a field. Mix the clay with water until it is a thick paste. Set aside but keep this moist.

Take a flat board (larger than the the pot) cut grooves into it to allow the tar to flow down down the board into a pot. You might want to prop the board onto bricks so that the tar will flow down the board.

Invert the pot with the wood pieces and place it on the elevated part of the board. Cover the pot with the clay you set aside. The clay will keep the wood from getting too hot and catching fire.

On top of the clay covered pot start a fire. The tar will begin to flow down the board in about a half an hour.

Collect the tar and use it in one the following recipes.

Pine Tar Cough Syrup
Single dose:
1/2 teaspoon pine tar add 3 teaspoons honey
Blend well

Pine Tar Cough Candy
3 cups water
5 pound sugar

Boil till at the hard crack stage
Spread in a greased cake pan or on a marble slab.
As it is cooling mix these ingredients:

5 drops pine tar (dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoon pine tar in 1 tablespoon alcohol (like vodka-Not Rubbing Alcohol)

1 1/2 teaspoons oil of caspicum (Hot pepper)
1 3/4 teaspoon oil of wintergreen

Work this mixture into the candy like taffy. Work with your hands- blending it till it is mixed well. Divide into sticks and continue rolling it till hard. Registered & Protected