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Pine Essential Oil

Pine (Pinus Sylvestris) essential oil is derived from the needles, twigs, and cones of plants belonging to the genus Pinus, more commonly referred to as ‘pines’.7

The scent of pine essential oil is similar to both the pine bark and needle oil, which have a particularly pungent odor that is both airy and grounding. Entire branches, including the needles, are distilled to make the essential oil.2

The essential oil is extracted from these parts of the plant through steam distillation, which is used when dealing with temperature-sensitive materials.8

Pine Essential Oil Uses

Pine essential oil has a scent reminiscent of a forest and offers a fresh, crisp aroma. It has a thin consistency and is commonly used in aromatherapy for its strengthening and reviving effect on the body and mind. Pine essential oil has been reported to blend well with other oils such as eucalyptuslavender and tea tree. Below, find some surprising, everyday uses for pine essential oil.

Household Cleaner
Due to its strong antiseptic properties and pleasant smell, pine essential oil has been added to disinfectants for years. To make a natural household cleaner, mix 3-5 drops of pine essential oil with water in a spray bottle. Spray on surfaces before wiping down to help eliminate everyday germs and bacteria.4

Diffusing pine essential oil in your aromatherapy diffuser is a great way to eliminate microbes such as bacteria in the air. Add 3-5 drops of pine essential oil to a diffuser or steaming hot water and allow it circulate for 15 to 30 minutes.9

Mosquito Repellent
Another use for pine essential oil is as a safe mosquito repellent, a natural alternative to synthetic anti-mosquito chemicals that can be harmful to humans.

In a 2005 study, pine essential oil was found to provide almost 100% protection against mosquitos for 9 to 11 hours depending on the species.6 To use pine essential oil as a natural insect repellant, apply the diluted oil to your skin before heading outdoors.

Pine essential oils have demonstrated antioxidant properties that may positively impact the skin.15  To harness the antioxidant properties of pine essential oil, add 1 drop to an unscented moisturizer before applying to your skin.

Pain Relief
When applied topically, pine essential oil may help eliminate inflammation and redness.11 This may be due to its antimicrobial and disinfectant characteristics. To provide pain relief, dilute 2 drops of pine essential oil into a carrier oil and massage over sore areas of the body.

Benefits of Pine Essential Oil

Pine essential oil is considered to be an uplifting, and mood-enhancing oil, which can be used therapeutically to remove adrenal fatigue.17,18 Below are some of the scientifically researched benefits of this natural essential oil.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Researchers have recently discovered that select components found in pine can inhibit nitric acid and other causes of inflammation in the body. Pine needle essential oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent and may be used as a natural substitute for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).12  When applied topically, pine essential oil may help reduce the redness of sore areas, and lessen the amount of perceived pain.11

Anti-Cancer Properties
Pine essential oil has also been discovered to be rich in polyphenol antioxidants that can help halt cancerous tumor growth and metastasis.11 One study found that the high levels of phenols in pine are what helps to reduce tumor size and viability.12

Another study published in Nutrition and Cancer found that pine needles of the Pinus densiflora variety inhibit many of the processes by which cancer forms in the body.13

Note: While this information is promising, additional research is needed before pine essential oil can be considered as a possible treatment for cancer. Do not replace traditional cancer treatment with essential oils.

Burn Relief 
Scientists from the Medical College of Georgia investigated whether a pine oil-based treatment could be used as an effective burn treatment for humans. Researchers found that pine oil was able to significantly counteract the injuries caused by scalds and burns in animal subjects and shows promise as a possible at-home remedy.14

Antioxidant Properties
Pine essential oil has antioxidant properties that when applied topically, may help to fight free radicals inside the body and reduce their negative impact on the skin. Studies suggest that in time, antioxidants may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, sagging and other signs of premature aging.15

Calms Respiratory Ailments
Another benefit of pine essential oil is its ability to help reduce inflammatory respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, and infectious coughs when inhaled.16

A recent clinical study has shown that their anti-inflammatory nature may reduce spasms and keep airways open.16

Antimicrobial Properties 
The antimicrobial effects of pine essential oil may help irradiate inhaled pathogens. When inhaled, select pathogens can contribute to gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea.17

Pine essential oil uses and benefits

Side Effects of Pine Essential Oil

Pine essential oil is safe for topical use and inhalation. Pure essential oils should always be diluted before being applied to the skin, as allergic reactions may occur.

Children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should only use essential oils under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner. It is not recommended to ingest essential oils, unless under the direct supervision of a trained professional.

Scientific Research Referenced in this Article

  1. Sinkkonen, J., Karonen, M., Liimatainen, J., & Pihlaja, K. (2006). Lignans from the bark extract of Pinus sylvestris L. Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry44(6), 633-636. doi:1002/mrc.1780
  2. Rose, J (1999). 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Frog Books.
  3. Tisserand, R and Young, R (2003). Essential Oil Safety. A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Elsevier Health Sciences
  4. Chevallier, A (1996). The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Dorling Kindersley NY.
  5. Schiller, C. & Schiller, D. (1996). Aromatheraphy Oils: A Complete Guide. Sterling Publishing Co. NY
  6. Ansari, M. A., Mitaal, P. K., Razdan, R. K. & Sreehai, U. (2005). Larvicidal and mosquito repellent activities of pine (Pinus longifolia, family: Pinaceae) oil. Journal of Vector Borne Disease, 42(3), 95-99. Retrieved February 14, 2017 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16294807
  7. Raal, A., Hoai, N., Duc, H., Thao, D., & Orav, A. (2015). Selectivity of Pinus sylvestris extract and essential oil to estrogen-insensitive breast cancer cells Pinus sylvestris against cancer cells. Pharmacognosy Magazine11(44), 290. doi:4103/0973-1296.166052
  8. Rezzoug S. A. (2009). Optimization of steam extraction of oil from maritime pine needles. Journal of Wood Chemistry and Technology, 29(2), 87-100. Doi:1080/02773810902879025
  9. Motiejūnaite, O., Peciulyte, D.(2004). Fungicidal properties of Pinus sylvestris L. for improvement of air quality. Medicina (Kunas)40(8), 787-794. Retrieved February 14, 2017 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15300001
  10. Karonen, M., Hämäläinen, M., Nieminen, R., Klika, K. D., Loponen, J., Ovcharenko, V. V., & Pihlaja, K. (2004). Phenolic Extractives from the Bark ofPinus sylvestrisL. and Their Effects on Inflammatory Mediators Nitric Oxide and Prostaglandin E2. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry52(25), 7532-7540. doi:1021/jf048948q
  11. İbrahim, T. & Reunanen, M. (2010). A Comparative Study on Turpentine Oils of Oleoresins of Pinus sylvestris L. from Three Districts of Denizli. Retrieved February 14, 2017 from http://www.acgpubs.org/RNP/2010/Volume%204/Issue%201/27-RNP-1008-297.pdf
  12. Amalinei, R.L., Trifan, A., Cioanca, O., Miron, S.D., Mihai, C.T., Rotinberg, P., & Miron, A. (2014). Polyphenol-rich extract from Pinus sylvestris L. bark–chemical and antitumor studies. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi, 118(2), 551-557. Retrieved February 14, 2017 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25076730
  13. Kwak, C. S., Moon, S. C., & Lee, M. S. (2006). Antioxidant, Antimutagenic, and Antitumor Effects of Pine Needles (Pinus densiflora). Nutrition and Cancer56(2), 162-171. doi:1207/s15327914nc5602_7ncibi.org
  14. Clark, S. P., Bollag, W. B., Westlund, K. N., Ma, F., Falls, G., Xie, D., & Bhattacharyya, M. H. (2013). Pine Oil Effects on Chemical and Thermal Injury in Mice and Cultured Mouse Dorsal Root Ganglion Neurons. Phytotherapy Research28(2), 252-260. doi:1002/ptr.4991ncibi.org.
  15. Kähkönen, M. P., Hopia, A. I., Vuorela, H. J., Rauha, J., Pihlaja, K., Kujala, T. S., & Heinonen, M. (1999). Antioxidant Activity of Plant Extracts Containing Phenolic Compounds. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry47(10), 3954-3962. doi:1021/jf990146l
  16. Yang, Z., Wu, N., Zu, Y., & Fu, Y. (2011). Comparative Anti-Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) Activity of (-)-Pinene: Effect on Nucleocapsid (N) Protein. Molecules16(12), 1044-1054. doi:3390/molecules16021044
  17. Sadraei, H. (2001). Spasmolytic activity of essential oil and various extracts of Boiss. on ileum contractions. Phytomedicine8(5), 370-376. doi:1078/0944-7113-00052
  18. Moghimi, A., Bolandghamat, S., & Iranshahi, M. (2011). Effects of ethanolic extract of pine needles (Pinus eldarica Medw.) on reserpine-induced depression-like behavior in male Wistar rats. Pharmacognosy Magazine, 7(27), 248. doi:4103/0973-1296.84240