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Pine – (Pinus sylvestris)


Pine trees grow in northern climates. Fragrant needles adorn the branches rather than leaves. These trees have a lot of uses, ranging from timber to holiday decorating. The Scots or Norway variety is used medicinally in many ways. The essential oil from the needles is used in India and when the Europeans first made it to the New World the sailors were treated for scurvy with herbal tea made from the twigs and needles of the tree. Later, "vitamin P" was found in the bark that cured scurvy. This compound prevented the permeability of blood vessels to reverse the effects of scurvy. It is most effective when combined with grapeseed.

Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Pine oil is used in steam as an inhalant to aid respiratory conditions and laryngitis. "Vitamin P", or oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), is taken to cure scurvy and to strengthen the vascular system.

Externally – Pine stimulates the circulation when rubbed on the skin and it increases the blood supply to that area. Oil is effective in relieving the pain of arthritis, gout and rheumatism. The herbal remedy is also applied as plasters for kidney and bladder complaints as well as rheumatic problems.

Other Uses – Pine needles are put into mattresses in Switzerland to treat rheumatism. It is also used in aromatherapy as well as in many household cleaners, air fresheners and personal products. The timber is used for building furniture and other construction. Turpentine comes from these trees. The rosin used by violinists for their bows comes from the tree. This rosin is also used to make sealing wax, resinous soaps and varnish. Pitch is used in brewing beer and in veterinary medicine.

Herbs to Combine/Supplement

In herbal remedies combine with rosemary, sage, lavender, juniper and cedarwood.

Parts Used

Bark, oil – Oil is distilled from the needles. The bark is combined with grapeseed to create "vitamin P."


Always dilute pine oil when using. The oil should not be taken by people suffering from bronchial asthma, inflammation of the breathing passages, whooping cough, acute skin disease, infectious disease, heart problems or muscles that are abnormally tense. Oil should be avoided during pregnancy. Side effects may include breathing problems and irritation of the skin and mucous membranes. Excessive use can poison the brain and kidneys. Ingesting oil can cause depressed mental function, depression of the central nervous system, respiratory failure and dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract. There are no known drug interactions with this herb.

Preparation and Dosage

Internal doses for oil preparations are a single teaspoon per day. To clear sinuses and breathing passages, add several drops of pine oil to hot water and inhale the steam.

To use externally, add several drops to a carrier oil or cream base and rub on the affected area. For OPC extracts, take 300 mg every day for 10 to 14 days, and then reduce the dose to 100 mg per day.

Pine Herbal Remedies Top