Like most plants found in the Southwest, the pinyon tree has many uses for native people.
Pinyon pitch is chewed like gum for its flavor but it can also be mixed
with red clay and mutton tallow to make a skin salve. The salve can
be used warm to soothe skin irritations or to protect the skin from sunburn.
The pitch, when boiled with juniper needles, is also used to treat diarrhea.
The sticky pitch also gives Navajo baskets their shiny coating and pottery
its shine. Pitch is heated and poured into baskets to coat the inside.
Pinyon pitch is also used for making a black dye.
When pinyon wood is rotting, it can be ground up into a powder
used for infants like baby powder.
Pinyon seeds or nuts are a favorite snack in the Southwest.
They are a good source of protein, niacin, riboflavin and calories. Seeds can be eaten raw, roasted or mashed into a nut butter.