Pine Needle Oil

Pine Needle Oil (Pinus sylvestris)

Pine needle oil is steam distilled from the fresh needles, branch tips, or the combined fresh branches with needles and branch tips of Pinus sylvestris L. (Scots pine or Norway pine) or other essential oil-containing species of Pinus. Scots pine is an evergreen conifer tree native to Eurasia, introduced to North America by European settlers, now cultivated extensively in the eastern United States and Canada.

In Germany, pine needle oil is official in the German Pharmacopoeia, the Standard Licenses for Finished Drugs Monographs, and it is also approved by Commission E. Drops of the essential oil are added to boiling water for inhalation of steam vapor as a supportive treatment for catarrhal diseases of the respiratory tract. The drops are also applied topically by carefully rubbing into the skin for rheumatic complaints. The Germans also prepare an aqueous infusion of pine shoots for oral ingestion for the same indications as the oil.

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Chemistry and Pharmacology

Constituents include 5097% monoterpene hydrocarbons, such as a-pinene, with lesser amounts of 3-carene, dipentene, b-pinen, Dlimonene, a-terpinene, g-terpinene, cis-b-ocimene, myrcene, camphene, sabinene, and terpinolene. Other constituents include bornyl acetate, borneol, 1,8-cineole, citral terpineol, T-cadinol, T-muurolol, a-cadinol, cayophyllene, chamazulen, butyric acid, valeric acid, caproic acid, and isocaproic acid.

The Commission E reported secretolytic, hyperemic, and slight antiseptic activity. The active principles of some pine needle essential oils responsible for the antiviral and antibacterial activities are thought to be limonene, dipentene, and bornyl acetate. Pine needle oil can cause a decongestant effect by stimulating reflex vasoconstriction.

The Commission E approved pine needle oil for catarrhal diseases of the respiratory tract, and externally only for rheumatic and neuralgic ailments. It has been used as a fragrance and flavor component in cough and cold medicines, vaporizer fluids, nasal decongestants, and analgesic ointments.

Benefits

The health benefits of pine essential oil include its ability to reduce inflammation and associated redness, protect against sinus infections, clear mucus and phlegm, treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, boost the immune system, fight fungal and viral infections, stimulate the mind and body, and protect your home and body from a variety of germs.

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Pine essential oil also increases metabolism and boosts your activity levels. It is also helpful in purifying the body due to its ability to treat intestinal problems. It is diuretic in nature and helps remove excess water from your body through urination. By stimulating the frequency and quantity of urine, you eliminate more uric acid, excess water, salt, and fat from your body. It also keeps the kidneys healthy, because they do not have to filter the toxins more than once.

Pine essential oil is considered an analgesic and is, therefore, a good remedy for people suffering from joint pain, arthritis, and rheumatic conditions. Besides being an analgesic, it is also an anti-inflammatory agent, meaning that it reduces inflammation and redness of the affected areas, simultaneously eliminating the pain.

The ability of pine essential oil to neutralize free radicals through its antioxidant capacity also represents a positive impact on eye health. Macular degeneration, cataracts, and several other vision-related conditions are due to the presence of free radicals in our system that cause degradation of our cells. Pine essential oil has related to improving eye health and protecting them from natural, age-related failure.

Pine essential oil is an antiseptic used to treat boils, cuts, sports injuries, and Athletes’ Foot. This is not only due to its antiseptic properties, but also its anti-fungal characteristics. Fungal infections are some of the most dangerous and difficult conditions to treat, and if they become internal, they can even be fatal. Therefore, using pine essential oil to cleanse your system of any fungal infections is a good idea.

Pine essential oil is helpful for curing respiratory problems and is commonly used as a remedy for cold and cough. This is due to its abilities as an expectorant, meaning that it loosens phlegm and mucus from the respiratory tracts and makes it easier to eliminate them. By reducing the amount of deposition in your respiratory tracts, your body can fight the initial infection faster and reduce your recovery time.

Using Pine Needle Oil

Pine oil blends well with many other essential oils depending on what you are using it for. Try combining it with oils including bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, grapefruit essential oil, juniper, lavender oil, sage, sandalwood, tea tree and thyme.

Aromatically: You can use pine essential oil (or pine nut oil) for aromatherapy by diffusing it within your home using a diffuser. Adding some to firewood is a great way to create a scented fireplace that will travel throughout your home. Another good option is to inhale the oil directly from the bottle when symptoms strike.

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Topically: The oil should be diluted with a carrier oil like coconut oil in a 1:1 ratio before applying it directly to your skin. Note that some people react to pine oil by experiencing skin irritation, so perform a patch test first to be safe.

Interactions and Concerns of Pine Oil

Internal consumption of pine essential oil can be dangerous because there is a possibility of kidney damage. It should also not be given to people who are suffering from kidney disorders. Furthermore, pine essential oil can cause irritation to sensitive skin, so it must be used only in a diluted form. Children and elderly people should not be given pine essential oil as it may cause hypertension and irritation.

Some people with sensitive skin or even allergies might experience redness, itching or other skin irritation when using pine nut oil. So as with all essential oils, it is a good idea to first perform a small patch test to make sure you do not experience side effects. Apply one to two drops with a carrier oil to a part of your skin that is not overly sensitive, such as your feet or forearm, and wait for your reaction before beginning to use pine oil on your face, chest or other sensitive areas.

Always combine pine oil with a carrier oil, and never use them undiluted directly on your skin. Keep pine oil away from your eyes or inside of your nose, where it can encounter mucus membranes that can easily become irritated.

Remember that, as with all essential oils, you should never ingest pine needle oil.

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References

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https://acaai.org/allergies/types-allergies/pine-tree-allergy

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Braun, R. et al. 1997. Standardzulassungen f r FertigarzneimittelText and Kommentar. Stuttgart: Deutscher Apotheker Verlag.

Budavari, S. (ed.). 1996. The Merck Index: An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals, 12th ed. Whitehouse Station, N.J.: Merck & Co, Inc.

Bundesanzeiger (BAnz). 1998. Monographien der Kommission E (Zulassungs- und Aufbereitungskommission am BGA f r den humanmed. Bereich, phytotherapeutische Therapierichtung und Stoffgruppe). Kln: Bundesgesundheitsamt (BGA).

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Deutsches Arzneibuch (DAB 1997). 1997. Stuttgart: Deutscher Apotheker Verlag.

Grieve, M. 1979. A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

Koelling, M.R. 1999. History and CharacteristicsScotch PinePinus sylvestris L. Okemos, MI: National Christmas Tree Association Internet Committee. Available at: www.christree.org/treetype/scotch.html

Lacey, L. 1993. Micmac MedicinesRemedies and Recollections. Halifax, NS: Nimbus Publishing Ltd. 29, 36, 99, 115.

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Pine Needle

Pine Needle (Pinus sylvestris)

A few of the health benefits of pine needles are the high levels of vitamin A which makes it wonderful for the skin and its extremely high levels of vitamin C (in fact several times more than that of a lemon or a glass of orange juice). Pine needles and their high vitamin C levels help to boost the immune system which in turn helps to fight off infections.

The benefits of pine needle tea include maximizing the immune system, improving vision, preventing respiratory infections, stimulating circulation, avoiding chronic disease, increasing cognitive performance, strengthening heart health, and speeding healing. With more than a hundred varieties of pine trees in North America alone, you must use the correct pine needles, as some varieties may contain toxins or cause negative side effects.

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And although pine needles may not be FDA approved, they have been successfully used by indigenous people of northern regions of the Americas and Europe for centuries (or likely even longer) to combat symptoms of scurvy, which becomes present with low levels of vitamin C.

Other ailments pine is known to help:

  • chest congestion
  • sore throat
  • fights depression/ anxiety
  • improves mental clarity
  • improves adrenal function
  • calms the nervous system
  • lowers blood pressure
  • aids in preventing weight gain
  • powerful insecticidal to help keep bed bugs, fleas or lice away

Cognitive Function: Early studies on the effect of this potent tea on neurodegenerative diseases have shown promising results. An animal study showed that it can be very effective against memory impairment or amnesia. The antioxidants in this tea can help repair neural connections and improve memory.

Heart health: Pine needle tea may be good for your heart. Research has shown that it protects against LDL oxidation, a condition that can threaten your cardiovascular health. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties which further help in minimizing any damage on your heart due to pollutants or other factors.

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May Aid Weight Loss: Pine needle tea shows some of the same potentials as green and black tea. Research shows that it may help in weight loss. A Korean study on rats and overweight humans found that pine needle extract along with green and black tea reduced body weight gain and visceral fat mass.

Respiratory Conditions: Pine needle tea was often used by indigenous cultures for treating respiratory problems. The Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World records how the Native Americans used white pine for its expectorant and decongestant qualities.

Rich in Antioxidants: Pine needle tea could be a very rich source of antioxidants, essential for fighting free radicals, chronic conditions, and preventing diseases. According to research published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, a water extract from pine needles showed a high level of antioxidants and DNA-protective properties.

Vision health: Pine needle tea is also believed to contain vitamin A. Together with vitamin C, it can improve our vision. Vitamin C is good for aging eyes, giving it antioxidant protection against normal pollutants. Vitamin A is essential for our cornea and in improving vision.

Recipes

DIY PINE HOUSEHOLD CLEANER

Pack a jar half to two thirds full of pine needles and cover them with white vinegar. Let this sit and infuse for 4-6 weeks. If you want a stronger pine smell, stain the pine needles out and compost while packing the jar full again and repeat the infusion process again. You will have a very strong pine vinegar.

Using a spray bottle use your pine infused vinegar as an all-purpose cleaning solution diluted down with water. Great for cleaning windows, surfaces anything. If you would like an antibacterial cleaner add 5-10 drops of tea tree oil as well.

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PINE & CALENDULA FACE AND BODY OIL

The fact that pine needles are packed so full of vitamins and minerals makes them a great plant to use in beauty and skincare. High amounts of vitamins both A and C make it wonderful for anti-aging and overall skin health.

To make Pine oil, pack a jar half to two thirds full of cleaned and dry pine needles. Fill the jar full of your choice of oil. Olive oil make s a great oil for dry or mature skin, grapeseed or almond oil make great options for sensitive skin. With a lid on the jar place in a sunny place for 4-6 weeks then strain out pine needles.

Mix half and half with a freshly infused Calendula Oil. Using Calendula together with pine infused oils will have amazing anti-aging, skin cell repairing, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and healing effects. Use this super-rich potion of pine and calendula oil for almost everything face and body! Oil method make-up removal, after bath face & body oil, put in the bath as a bath oil. Or use as the base of a healing salve or face cream!

STOVE TOP DIFFUSED PINE

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All you really need is your plant material in this case pine needles, along with any other plants you wish to use. Fill a small pot 3/4 full of water, toss in your plants or herbs, and put it on a burner over low.

Some of the plant combos that are useful:

Immune boosting- pine, clove & cinnamon (decongestant, anti-viral, circulatory stimulant)

Winter friendly- pine, sage & bay (refreshing, antidepressant, uplifting)

Tranquility- pine, juniper berries & lavender (refreshing, healing, calming)

This method of diffusing plant power into the air uses much less plant material than traditional essential oils and it puts a little extra humidity into the air which is always helpful when feeling under the weather.

Beware of the Wrong Pine Needle

There are 20 known toxic varieties of pine trees, so do thorough research or acquire pine needles from a trained herbalist or natural medicine practitioner. Some of the most well known toxic varieties include the ponderosa pine, balsam fir, lodgepole, and Monterey pines. There are also quite a few trees that are commonly called “pine trees”, but are in fact toxic imitators, such as the English Yew, Norfolk island pine, and the Yew pine.  Avoid using any these when brewing your tea.

For pregnant women: The USDA cautioned against the ingestion of ponderosa pine needles. Given the toxicity of some pine species, it is best to avoid drinking this tea if you are pregnant.

Allergy: You should also be aware of any potential allergies to pine trees. Pine oil that is released when brewing the tea, can have inflammatory effects on the skin and stomach, resulting in stomach upset in some people. Given these possible side-effects, it is recommended that you only try about half a cup in the beginning.

References:

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