Friday, October 07, 2011

Pine Essential Oil: It's not just for cleaning anymore By ACHS Student Stacey Ford

Pine essential oil is the product of the steam distillation of the needles of the pine tree (Pinus sylvestris). Pine also goes by the names forest pine, Norway pine, or Scotch pine. Pinus sylvestris is found mainly in Siberia and Finland, with Pinus palustris being found mostly in the United States. Pine has many uses, but one may ask, “What is it that makes pine so effective?" The answer to that question can be found in the next section.

Active Constituents and Therapeutic Actions

Pine essential oil contains two main ingredients, terpenes and esters, each of which are responsible for certain actions. Terpenes have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, and bactericidal action. Think of all the times you bought the cleaner Pine-Sol and the smell that hit your nose when you opened the bottle. Yep, that was definitely pine, but with a bunch of other “stuff” added to it. When you open a vial of pine essential oil, you’ll still get that strong woodsy aroma and that’s it. No extra anything. Esters, the second constituent, specifically, bornyl acetate, is the one that aids in promoting calmness and nervous system stability. Think pine essential oil is just for cleaning? Think again. Pine essential oil has uses that you may not have known about. It’s good for the skin, joints, and the nervous system. The next section will discuss what it can be used for.

Uses for Pine Essential Oil

For the skin, Pinus sylvestris is useful against overgrowth of yeast and fungi (such as Candida albicans) and other conditions such as scabies, ringworm, psoriasis, eczema, sores, fleas, and athlete’s foot. It may also be tried for the pain and stiffness of joint pain, namely, rheumatoid arthritis.
For nerves, pine essential oil can be diluted in a carrier oil (almond oil is a good choice as it is good for its softening, balancing action. However, it’s important to note that almond oil can’t be used by those allergic to nuts. Another good, light, oil that can be used is grape seed oil, which contains antioxidants).

And, of course, there’s the disinfectant nature of Pinus sylvestris when it’s used to clean one’s home, especially when it’s used to help combat that pesky mold and mildew that can be found in the bathroom on the walls and shower curtain.
As you see, pine essential oil has several uses, with “spring-cleaning” being only one of them. So, the next time you’ve had a rough day at work, reach for that vial of pine essential oil, open it, take a whiff, and let your mind float to that vacation spot from years gone by and feel that tension melt away.


References
1. Organic Facts. (2011). Health Benefits of Pine Essential Oil. Organic Facts. Retrieved from http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/natural-essential-oils/health-benefits-of-pine-essential-oil.html
2. Petersen, D. (2011). Aroma 101: Introduction to Aromatherapy. Portland: American College of Healthcare Sciences, 209, 238-241.
3. Plants and Oils. (2011). Essential Oil of Pine: Uses and Benefits of Pine Oil. HubPages. Retrieved from http://plantsandoils.hubpages.com/hub/Essential-Oil-of-Pine-Uses-and-Benefits-of-Pine-Oil

Disclaimer
This information is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease, and is not a replacement for the advice given to you by your doctor.

Note of Caution
As a precaution, don’t use pine essential oil if you’re pregnant or if you have “allergy-sensitive” skin as it can cause a rash resembling eczema. If you have sensitive skin, please do a skin patch test first.

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