Pine Needle Essential Oil
Pine Needle (Scotch Pine) Essential Oil
The venerable pine has been used for many centuries as a medicinal plant. Native Americans used it to prevent scurvy and repel lice and fleas; they also burned it with cedar and juniper for purifying rituals. In addition the needles and shoots have been prepared in various ways for use with coughs, bronchial complaints, rheumatic pain and nervous exhaustion.
Pine Needle essential oil is a pale yellow or colorless, pourable liquid with a, sharp, balsamic, "piney" odor. It blends well with cedarwood, rosemary, lavender, juniper, and eucalyptus but it can overwhelm more delicate fragrances.
It is antibacterial, antiviral, antineuralgic (reduces nerve pain), soothing, cholagogic (stimulates the flow of bile into the duodenum), choleretic (promotes excretion of bile by the liver), diuretic, expectorant (promotes removal of mucous from the respiratory system), hypertensive, insecticidal, and rubefacient (causing redness of the skin). It also stimulates the adrenal cortex and the circulatory and nervous systems and is said to have a restorative and strengthening action.
In aromatherapy, the essential oil of Pinus sylvestris has been used to help relieve coughs, bronchitis, sore throat, sinusitis, cystitis, colds and flu, arthritis, gout, muscle pain, poor circulation, rheumatism, neuralgia, fatigue and exhaustion, and stress-related conditions. It is also sometimes used as a component of deodorants to help decrease perspiration.
Julia Lawless describes Pine essential oil as non-toxic, non-irritant (except in concentration), and as a possible sensitizing agent (one that can lead to allergic-like reactions with repeated use). She recommends avoiding it in allergic skin conditions. Tisserand and Balacs do not report skin sensitization with this oil but I believe that it is best to err on the side of caution and I would avoid it or use it very cautiously in persons who have a history of allergic reactions or who have experienced sensitization with other oils.
Many aromatherapy books do not have anything on essential oil of Pine and in this respect it seems to be less popular than some other oils. This may be due to the fact that its aroma reminds some people of pine-scented cleaners. Personally, I like the odor and find it clean and uplifting. It is such a shame that some writers have not included Pine in their books, because this essential oil is so useful, especially when there are respiratory problems, muscle aches and pains, or exhaustion.
One of my favorite authors, Gabriel Mojay, does write about Pine essential oil in his wonderful book, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. He describes it in terms of oriental medicine as being warm and dry and says that it tonifies the Qi. He says that it is psychologically fortifying and invigorates the "P'o" or Bodily Soul, the source of our vital spirit. Valerie Worwood, another of my favorites, describes it as helping to bring acceptance, understanding, patience, and self-forgiveness.
Pine is related to the Air element, and this points towards its use for respiratory problems. I use pine for colds and flu and other times when I need to clear my respiratory tract and ease muscle aches and pains. I also use it when I feel in need of "fortifying" and strengthening. The element of Air rules the mental plane and here too, Pine may have great powers, as it helps to bring clarity, fortitude, and purposeful focus.
It is important to use Pine in moderation - no more than one or two drops in a steam inhalation, diffuser, or a massage oil. By using it in a diffuser, you can avoid any potential problems with skin irritation. I do not recommend this oil for use by those who have hypertension (high blood pressure) or asthma.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only, and not intended to treat, prescribe, cure, or diagnose any disease or condition. This information is not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician or other health care provider. Dreaming Earth Botanicals is not responsible for any adverse effects resulting from the use of any of the suggestions, preparations, or procedures discussed. All matters pertaining to your physical health should be supervised by a health care professional. Keep all aromatherapy products out of reach of children.