Pine essential oil has many uses, from use as a cleaning agent, in alternative medicine and aromatherapy, and even as a lubricant for the tiny gears inside some clocks. Pine essential oil is produced from steam distillation of the wood, needles, and cones of pine trees, most commonly the Scotch or Norway Pine (also called pinus sylvestris). Using a distillation still, steam is forced through a chamber containing the pine material at high heat, passes through a cooling coil, and is collected at the end of the process. Once cooled, it is bottled in dark or amber glass with opaque caps, labeled, and brought to market. It provides profound health benefits and is a natural antiseptic that kills many common types of bacteria, fungus, and even some viruses. Its use dates back to at least the ancient Greeks, and it is a useful today as it was then, both as a household cleaner and as a potent medicine.
It can be used to protect clothing made from wool or other natural fibers from moths and other insects which commonly feed on such things.
Pine Oil for Massage
It makes a wonderful massage or post-workout rub down oil to treat sore muscles.
Medicine and First Aid
Pine essential oil can be used undiluted as a topical skin treatment for cuts, bruises, scrapes, or acne.
What Is Pine Essential Oil?
Pine essential oil can be clear or a light, greenish-yellow color, is highly aromatic, and is usually sold in small, dark-colored bottles which protects it from the effects of sunlight. Exposure to sunlight, bright artificial light, or air can oxidize and break down some of the compounds found in pine oil over a long enough period of time. Subsequently, care should always be taken in how you store pine oil—it should be tightly capped and kept away from high heat and out of direct sunlight. Depending on the kind of pine wood and foliage used in its creation, pine essential oil may have an earthy, ferny, or moss-like fragrance reminiscent of pine forests, or it can have a strong, pungent smell much like turpentine (which is a naturally occurring compound found in pine, from which it is manufactured). Pine oil is sometimes called fir leaf oil, and can also be found under its scientific name, oleum folii pini sylvestris.
Pine Essential Oil vs. Pine Nut Oil
Pine essential oil is not the same as pine nut oil, which is used as a flavoring in food preparation. While pine nuts used in food do come from certain species of pine, pine nut oil is most commonly extracted using the cold press method and does not contain the same sort of compounds and chemicals found in steam-distilled pine oil.
Protected By Terpenes
Pine oil contains varying amounts of various chemical compounds called terpenes, pungent and highly aromatic organic compounds which the pine tree has evolved over millions of years as a deterrent to insects and herbivorous animals who would otherwise eat the bark and needles of the tree. It is these terpenes and terpene-related compounds which give pine essential oil its many medicinal properties. For use in aromatherapy or as a massage oil, pine oil can be used on its own or blended with other botanical oils like juniper, sage, cedar, and rosemary, or with a carrier oil such as sweet almond or jojoba oil.
The Use Of Different Species Of Pine
While pine essential oil is commonly made from the Scotch or Norway pine, it can also be produced from various other pine species, such as the Long Leaf Pine, a towering tree which grows in North America. Native peoples used the oil from this tree, which can reach heights of over one hundred and fifty feet, to treat superficial wounds, irritation or diseases of the skin, and to protect against scurvy. Pine oil can sometimes also be made from pinus mugo, the Dwarf Pine, which grows in the high mountains of Europe. Pine oil has been used there for centuries to treat skin and scalp conditions such as psoriasis and common dandruff and is a staple of practitioners of traditional and alternative medicine.
What Are The Main Uses Of Pine Essential Oil?
Pine essential oil has many practical uses, including as a simple fragrance in candles and soaps, as a detergent and general cleaning antiseptic, in many medicinal preparations such as ointments and creams with pain-relieving properties, and in aromatherapy to treat coughs, colds, sinus congestion, and breathing difficulties such as asthma or COPD. It is an edible oil, and is used to flavor foods like cakes, candies, ice cream, pudding, and even alcoholic drinks.
It can be used to protect clothing made from wool or other natural fibers from moths and other insects which commonly feed on such things. To use pine oil as an insect repellant, liberally coat cotton balls or untreated wood with eight to twelve drops of the oil and place the cotton or wood in wardrobes, closets, or trunks where clothes are stored. It can also be used as an air freshener and odor eliminator to dispel strong cooking smells, pet odors, and even the lingering smell of cigarette smoke. To use it in this manner, dilute four drops of pine oil with one cup of water, pour into a spray bottle and shake well before spraying any area that could use some freshening up. Avoid spraying it on wood or directly onto upholstery, drapes, or other fabrics as it may stain lighter colored cloth.
Pine Oil For Massage
It makes a wonderful massage or post-workout rub down oil to treat sore muscles. Combine two ounces of jojoba, sweet almond oil, or another massage oil base that is liquid at room temperature with three to five drops of pine oil, and a similar amount of juniper, rosemary, or cedar oil. Use liberally on the skin, but take care not to use near the eyes, as it will sting.
Medicine And First Aid
Pine essential oil can be used undiluted as a topical skin treatment for cuts, bruises, scrapes, or acne. It can be used on areas of skin prone to excessive perspiration and as a rub to treat joint pain, arthritis, and even gout. For asthma, flu, common cold, and bronchitis, rub pine oil liberally onto the skin of the chest and neck. It can even be used to treat painful nerve conditions such as neuralgia or sciatica.
What Are The Benefits Of Pine Essential Oil?
Pine oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is a potent antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal agent. As stated above, it is an excellent anti-neuralgic and anti-rheumatic treatment. It is also useful as an expectorant and decongestant. It is one of the few natural oils known to ease all manner of muscular stiffness, swelling, and rheumatic ailments and as a rubefacient agent, which promotes healthy circulation through the dilation of blood vessels under the skin.
In The Bath
When added to bath water, it is absorbed through the skin, and its effects range from stimulating the metabolism to eliminating excess water, uric acid, sodium and other salts from the body. Through these actions, pine oil can give its user more energy and boost activity levels, as well as being a natural antioxidant which neutralizes or destroys dangerous free radicals. When used in the bath, it can also relieve urinary tract infections.
Pine Oil Painkiller
Pine essential oil is a natural painkiller and can be used as a topical substitute for acetaminophen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), but without the unpleasant side effects that those analgesics can sometimes have.
How Safe Is Pine Essential Oil?
Pine oil has a low risk of toxicity, but inappropriate dosage, improper application, or use of low-quality and oxidized variants may cause skin rashes, eye irritation, gastrointestinal issues, and aspiration or respiratory distress. As with all essential oils, it is recommended that you consult with your healthcare practitioner or natural healthcare provider before use. Some individuals may have specific chemical sensitivity to pine oil, but it is generally safe for most people to use.
Dwarf Pine Oil
Oil made from the European Dwarf Pine can be somewhat stronger than other variants, and when oxidized or containing impurities, it can cause minor rashes or contact dermatitis. To avoid this, you should be sure to purchase pine essential oil from well-known and trusted manufacturers, keep the bottle well sealed and stored properly, and discard pine oil that may have been oxidized by exposure to air or sunlight over a long period of time. Commercially produced pine oil sometimes comes with expiration dates written on the container, and any oil that has expired should be discarded.
Test Skin For Sensitivity
Before using pine essential oil topically or as a moisturizer or massage oil, do a skin test on a small area of sensitive skin, such as the underside of the forearm or inside the crook of the elbow. It’s best to wait 24 to 48 hours to determine if any redness or irritation might occur. If that is the case, you can try diluting the pine oil with a carrier oil such as jojoba and repeating the skin test. Pregnant and nursing women should consult their doctor or their child’s pediatrician before using pine oil either internally or on the skin.
Pine essential oil is a wonderful, all-natural remedy for many different ailments and conditions. It has been used for thousands of years and is one of the earliest medical preparations in recorded history. Whether using it to clean and freshen your environment or to treat various medical complaints, pine oil is sure to be a welcome addition to your home.