Common Name: Pine
Scientific Name: Pinus Sylvestris
Synonyms: Forest pine, Scots pine, Norway pine, pine needle (oil)
Origin: Northern Europe, Scandinavia (exc. Denmark), Scotland, Northern Asia USA and Canada
This evergreen tree can grow as high as 40 meters (130 feet). It has a flat crown and a reddish-brown deeply fissured bark, needle-like grey-green leaves that grow in pairs, orange-yellow flowers and pointed brown cones. It is a very winter hardy tree and is well suited throughout the Great Plains and Southern Canada.
The main chemical properties of Pine oil are: Sylvestrene, Pinene, Bornyl acetate, Dipentene, Cardinene and Phellandrene. It has a fresh, forest like aroma – funny that!
Pine essential oil is distilled by dry distillation using the finest pines needles only. Gum turpentine is produced by steam distillation from the oleoresin. An inferior essential oil is also produced by dry distillation from the wood chippings, etc.
Pine Needle oil differs from Pine oil, which may utilise all or any part of the tree when distilled. Pine is extensively cultivated for wood, tar, pitch, turpentine and essential oil.
Pine Needle oil was used by the ancient Romans and Greeks to treat respiratory problems and muscular aches. The Native Americans used it to prevent scurvy and stuffed their mattresses with pine needles to repel lice and fleas. The ancient Egyptians used the pine kernels in their cooking.
The therapeutic benefits of pine
The pine kernels are said to be excellent restoratives for consumptives and after long illness. Pine needle is also used to get rid of slugs and snails.
Pine oil is used widely for many purposes such as industrial and household cleaners, hospital and veterinary disinfectants, insecticides, as a room fragrance, commercial paints, soaps and detergents to name just a few.
Its use in Aromatherapy
Pine essential oil has antibacterial, antiseptic, decongestant, diuretic, stimulant, antiviral, anti-rheumatic, deodorant, expectorant and antifungal properties. It is useful in protecting the body against harmful germs. It has a strengthening effect on the mind and body, optimising circulation and easing stiff muscles.
In the bath: Use between 3 to 6 drops. Add to running water to ensure good dispersion.
Massage: Add 30 drops of essential oils for every 100ml of carrier oil
Inhale: Add 2 drops of essential oil to a bowl of boiling water or a steamer
Precautions during use
Although pine and pine needle oil is considered safe since it is non-toxic and non-irritant it should still be used with care on the skin since it can cause irritation in high dosage and may sensitize the skin as well.
Suggested not to be used if you are prone to allergic skin reactions or during pregnancy. Always conduct a patch test. Avoid high doses and regular usage on the skin. Not suitable for babies.