Pine Needle Oil

Pine tree Pinus sylvestris with closeup

Classified as a top note, Pine Needle essential oil has a refreshing aroma that has uplifting and purifying properties.  It has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of medical ailments including respiratory, muscular, and joint conditions.  Pine Needle essential oil is very effective against ordinary stress and tension that builds up throughout the day.

Today more and more people are turning to essential oils as alternative medications and for the beautiful aromas they provide.  Many studies have been conducted and are currently being conducted to study these medicinal effects.

Pine needles have long been used in herbal medicine and Pine Needle essential oil is a favorite essential oil for aromatherapists due to its uplifting scent.

Here we will discuss everything you may want to know about Pine Needle essential oils

DISCLAIMER:

Information provided in this description is for educational purposes only.  For possible treatments of physical or mental diseases, please seek a trained and licensed health professional.  Enchanted Aromatics is not responsible for any adverse side effects resulting from the use of any suggestions, products, preparations, or procedures mentioned or from following historical uses of essential oils.

Brief History Of Pine

Pine Needle essential oil comes from the needles and cones of various species of pine trees belonging to the genus Pinus, which is part of the Pinaceae family that includes more than 250 species spread across most of the planet.

Although pine is considered a conifer, the thing that distinguishes them from conifers is its needles.  The needles are typically clustered in groups of 1-6.

Pine trees come in a variety of sizes.  Some pine trees such as the dwarf pine tree grow no taller than 4 feet while some can reach heights of over 150 feet. 

Some pine trees can live for a VERY long time.  In May of 2017, it was discovered that in the White Mountains of eastern California there is a pine tree called the Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) that has been dated to be 5,062 years old!

Although Pine needle essential oil can be distilled from a variety of species, the most common pine tree used to extract Pine Needle essential oil is the beautiful Pinus sylvestris, also known as Scotch, or Scots, Pine.

This particular species grows to a height of about 130 feet.  This tree can grow in a variety of locations and has the widest distribution of all pines.  It can grow in a wide variety of temperatures including Siberia where the temperatures can drop below -83 degrees Fahrenheit and also grows in the hot regions of the Mediterranean. 

Pinus sylvestris typically lives between 150 to 300 years. 

The fragrant needles which the essential oil is derived from grow 3-6 cm in length and are blue-green. 

 

What Is Pine Needle Essential Oil

Bottle of pine needle essential oilPine Needle essential oil is an essential oil obtained by the steam distillation of the Pine needles. 

Because of the numerous purported health benefits of Pine Needle essential oil, it has become one of the most important essential oils used in aromatherapy.

Another reason Pine Needle essential oil has become so popular is its availability.  Pine trees grow in huge numbers throughout the world and the essential oil is relatively easy to extract. 

And finally, another reason why Pine Needle essential oil is so popular among the aromatherapy community is it has very low toxicity and is considered one of the safest essential oils to use. 

Pine Needle essential oil has a very distinctive fragrance.  Taking a single sniff of that fresh, earthy, balsam aroma may remind some of you of a fresh Christmas tree or taking a walk through a thick pine forest right after a light rainfall.

For many people, the aroma of Pine Needle essential oil has uplifting, stimulating, and invigorating properties.  This essential oil has a way of wiping away those negative feelings and replacing them with a positive outlook.  Pine Needle essential oil can ease stress away and enhance concentration.  As a result of these properties, Pine Needle essential oil is an excellent oil to use for meditation, relaxation, and spiritual practices. 

 

Historical Use of Pine

Although Pine Needle essential oil is relatively new, various parts of pine trees have been used throughout history.

Many types of pine have had a long and remarkable history throughout the world.  Nearly every part of the pine tree has been used by indigenous people to create various teas, salves, or food.

The ancient Egyptians used pine kernels in their cooking.  

Romans and Greeks would use this oil for respiratory problems and general muscle aches.  Some of the ancient literature indicates that physicians, including Hippocrates, may have used pine to ease respiratory issues.

For many Native Americans and Native Canadians, eating various parts of the pine tree was a regular staple in their diet.  They ate the needles to prevent scurvy and their mats were stuffed with the needles to repel lice and fleas.

They also used the needles to treat various bronchial conditions, and rheumatic pain, and would burn parts of the tree as part of their purifying rituals.

For centuries throughout Europe, people have used pine to treat a wide variety of ailments including respiratory issues, muscular issues, and painful joint conditions. 

For centuries, Chinese and Koreans have used Pine Needle tea to promote health and to consume as food and dietary supplements. Today it is estimated that Koreans consume over 100 tons of pine needles.  They can be found in beverages, candy, tea, and wine.

How to use Pine Needle essential oil

Diffusing

wood essential oil diffuser with pink light and steamDiffusing is probably the most popular way of enjoying the aroma of Pine Needle essential oil.

Classed as a top note, Pine Needle essential oil adds a fresh aroma when used alone or in combination with other essential oils.  Plus, it will help give your home a cleansing feeling.      

Pine Needle essential oil makes a great air freshener.  You can purchase air fresheners being sold that are made from this essential oil.  You will find many vehicles with that green tree-shaped air freshener hanging from the mirror.  Yes, Pine Needle essential oil was used to create this air freshener.

Besides just creating a nice scent, the aroma is considered by many to be stimulating, energizing, refreshing, and purifying. 

You can recreate that wonderful forest aroma in your home by using a few drops of Pine Needle essential oil in your diffuser.  Pine Needle essential oil has a powerful aroma, so a little goes a long way. 

For essential oils, whatever your diffuser instructions suggest you use, you may wish to only use half that amount when using Pine Needle essential oil because it is so powerful.

When choosing a diffuser, an ultrasonic diffuser that uses water mixed with a few drops of Pine Needle essential oil will be your best bet. 

A Nebulizer diffuser will emit too much Pine Needle essential oil and will be too powerful.  

Diffusers that use heat will destroy much of the essence of the Pine Needle essential oil.

Pine Needle essential oil can be mixed with most other citrus-based essential oils including Bergamot, lemon, marjoram (sweet), and others.  It also mixes well with cedarwood, chamomile german, chamomile roman, cypress, eucalyptus, juniper berry, lavandin, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, sage, spruce, tea tree, thyme.

Inhalation

essential oil bottle and flower for inhalingSimply inhaling the aroma of Pin Needle essential oil can provide you with many of the benefits of the essential oil. 

Do not inhale directly from the bottle as this may prove too powerful.  Add a couple of drops to a tissue or cotton ball and inhale the aroma for a few seconds. 

Spray

Essential oil spray from a spray bottleYou can create a wonderful Pine Needle spray by simply diluting the essential oil in a bottle filled with water.  It is best to use a glass spray bottle as the essential oil has the potential of damaging the spray bottle over the long term. 

Spray it around the house, in your car, in the restroom, etc.

This simple spray will help promote clarity, mental alertness, or anywhere you may wish to have increased focus.

Apply topically

essential oil applied topicallyNever apply Pine Needle essential oil undiluted to the skin since this can cause skin irritations.

Pine Needle essential oil can be diluted and applied either directly to the skin or by massage.

When used alone or enriched in various blends, massage therapists use Pine Needle essential oil in their practice to help ease tension, relieve stress, increase energy, promote clarity, and reduce pain. 

Mixed with a carrier oil such as Jojoba or Almond, a Pine Needle blend can help your skin feel younger, smoother, and more supple.

It is never safe to apply essential oils to the skin without first diluting them.  Applied directly, essential oils can cause skin burns and other issues. 

It is best to mix Pine Needle essential oil with a carrier oil such as Jojoba or Almond.  After being mixed with a carrier oil, apply to a small area of the skin and observe for 24 hours before using Pine Needle to make sure you are not sensitive to Pine Needle essential oil.

You can create your own simple massage blend by mixing 4 drops of Pine Needle essential oil with 1 ounce of unscented lotion.

Hair Enhancement

Pine needle essential oil being prepared for hairYou can add 10-15 drops to an unscented bottle of shampoo.  This combination is purported to help enhance the overall health of your hair.  In the past, some have used this blend to get rid of lice.

 

 

 

 

 

Bath

pine needle essential oil in relaxing bathAdding 5-10 drops to your bath will help create a balancing and soothing atmosphere while you relax in your warm bath.  But please remember that essential oils can cause the surface of your bathtub to become slippery so please be careful when getting out.

Main Components of Pine Needle Essential Oil

Pine needles are composed of a variety of essential oils, acids, procyanidins, and flavonoid glycosides.

Although the compounds found in Pine Needle essential oil will vary depending on the species, most species contain the following main compounds:

α-pinene

β-pinene

β-phellandrene

D-limonene

germacrene D

δ-3-carene

Β-caryophyllene

Individual species will have smaller amounts of various other compounds.  For example, Pine sylvestris is made up of about 30 compounds.  Combined, over 190 compounds have been detected in the various varieties of pine. 

Even in the same species, there is considerable variation in the chemical makeup of individual essential oil batches.  These compounds can even vary within the same species depending on growing conditions such as soil, water, temperatures, locations, air pollutants, age of the tree, etc.

Pharmacological use

Besides just smelling good, Pine Needle essential oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties.

Antimicrobial Properties

Pine Needle essential oil has mild anti-biological properties against several bacteria including Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, and Bacillus cereus, as well as the fungi Aspergillus niger, Penicillium citrinum, Rhizopus oryzae, and Aspergillus flavus.

There have been and continue to be studies on these antimicrobial properties.  Here are a few studies you may find of interest. 

Study 1

Study 2

Study 3

Since Pine Needle essential oil has minor antimicrobial properties, in theory, it could be used to treat minor infections if applied properly.  However, it would be best to consult with a physician before using Pine Needle essential oil for this purpose.

Anti-fungal Properties

Studies done in laboratory conditions show that Pine Needle essential oil can successfully combat a variety of fungi, but there have not been any real studies to know if Pine Needle essential oil can fight infections in humans.

Study 4

In this study, a variety of essential oils were studied to test their effectiveness in combating various strains of fungi.  Of all the essential oils tested, Pine oil showed the best activity when using the “broth microdilution method.

This is the process of using plates filled with broth and supplements of blood and the bacteria or fungi being tested.  Varying concentrations of the antifungal or antibiotic (in this case, pine oil) are added to the plate.  After an allotted period, the plate is examined for bacterial or fungal growth. 

Some fungi that Pine Needle essential oil is effective in controlling includes: Fusarium culmorum, Fusarium solani, and Fusarium poae.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Massage therapists will sometimes use Pine Needle essential oil on those who are suffering from inflammatory issues such as arthritis, rheumatism, and general soreness. 

Despite its use for inflammation, the inflammatory properties of Pine Needle essential oil have not been fully investigated by the scientific community.  There have been limited studies with mice that show there is a potential for Pine Needle essential oil to have some anti-inflammatory actions, but studies in humans still need to be completed.

Respiratory Properties

Inhaling Pine Needle essential oil acts as an effective decongestant and as an expectorant to rid the body of excess mucous and fluid buildup.  It can also help clear up that stuffy nose.

You can use a Pinimenthol ointment that contains Pine Needle, Eucalyptus, and menthol. This ointment has been used on individuals suffering from upper respiratory tract infections according to one study published in Phytomedicine – Kamin W, Kieser M. Pinimenthol ointment in patients suffering from upper respiratory tract infections – a post-marketing observational study. Phytomedicine. 2007;14(12):787-791.17980566. 

Other Uses

There are various claims, some backed by limited studies that indicate Pine Needle essential oil may be useful.  These include treating some cancers, obesity, antioxidant activities, wound healing, skin disorders, slow metabolism, water retention, excel of free radicals, and premature aging.

Warnings

Because there is money to be made with Pine Needle essential oil, you need to look out for scammers.  If you find a company selling Pine Needle essential oil very inexpensively, it’s probably not pure Pine essential oil, despite what the label says.

Turpentine is commonly used to mix with Pine Needle essential oil by unscrupulous sellers.  They may also use terpenes such as camphene and esters such as iso-bornyl acetate.

Side Effects

Just because essential oils are natural does not mean they are safe.  Using Pine Needle essential oil can result in redness, hives, peeling skin, itchiness, dry skin, and allergy-like symptoms.   If you are allergic to pine trees, then do not use Pine Needle essential oil. 

Some other adverse effects that have been observed include hypersensitivity reactions of the skin and mucous membranes as well as cough.

If you are using Pine Needle essential oil for treating something versus just for the aroma, be sure and use fresh Pine Needle essential oil.  This is because Pine Needle essential oil oxidizes over time.  Oxidized essential oils can cause adverse skin reactions if applied topically. 

As far as possible toxicology, information is lacking.

Safety

Limited clinical data is available.  Do not use Pine Needle essential oil near your eyes.  Essential oils should not be used on or near young children without first consulting a professional. 

Essential oils have the potential to interfere with other medications, so it is best to check with a professional before self-treating yourself. 

Treat all essential oils as if they are poisonous, especially around children.  If ingested, seek immediate medical attention. 

Most essential oils are considered toxic if ingested, based on the amount ingested.  Some are much more toxic compared to others.

General Essential Oil Guidelines:

  • Do not take internally unless directed by a medical professional.
  • Do not apply to eyes, sensitive areas, or mucous membranes.
  • Do not apply undiluted to the skin.
  • Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children should not use essential oils without first consulting a medical professional.
  • Keep essential oils from, and out of reach of children.
  • If you are experiencing adverse side effects, stop using immediately.
  • The information on this website is not intended to be used in the diagnoses, treatment, or mitigation of any physical or mental illness.
  • The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA.

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