Pine oil, also called pine nut oil, is derived from the needles of the Pinus sylvestris tree. Known for being cleansing, refreshing and invigorating, pine oil has a strong, dry, woodsy smell — some even say it resembles the scent of forests and balsamic vinegar.
With a long and interesting history that stems back to use in ancient Greek civilizations, including by Hippocrates himself, pine oil is an age-old therapeutic method for cleansing, reducing pain, increasing energy and busting stress. Pinus sylvestris trees have been a very important timber tree in Romania for centuries, and their dried bark often accumulates as waste from wood processing. Luckily through steam distillation, pine essential oil can be created even from dead, fallen pine bark.
Once bottled, this concentrated formula holds powerful active constituents that lower disease-causing inflammation, lift your mood through aromatherapy, as well as kill bacteria, fungi, yeast and pathogens. Proven to have the capability to purify air by helping to eliminate various toxins that can live within your home, pine oil is beneficial as an asthma natural remedy, a cough remedy, and can even alleviate allergies, respiratory infections and colds.
Recently, it’s also been studied for its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant constituents that can help battle cancer development and protect vital organs, including the brain, heart, liver and gut.
Pine Oil Benefits
As a detoxifying ingredient and natural disinfectant, pine oil is commonly used in massage oil blends, household cleaning products and air fresheners. It can stimulate blood flow and help decrease swelling, tenderness and pain within sore muscles or joints associated with inflammation.
Pine oil is closely related to eucalyptus oil in terms of plant species and benefits, so they can be used somewhat interchangeably and are both considered “uplifting.” A great way to get even more benefits from pine oil is by combining it with eucalyptus or citrus oils, which all work similarly to fight inflammation, eliminate bacteria and odors, improve your mood, and heighten awareness.
15 Pine Oil Uses
1. Air Freshener
Pine oil is an excellent natural home deodorizer since it eliminates bacteria and microbials that can lead to contamination and odors. Capable of killing toxins in the air that can cause colds, the flu, headaches or skin reactions, pine oil is one of the most beneficial essential oils for improving immune function.
For pure, clean-smelling air throughout your home or even car, diffuse pine oil for 15–30 minutes using an oil differ or combine it with some water in a spray bottle and spray around your furniture, countertops, linens or car seats.
Also, try adding pine oil to a cotton ball and placing it behind your toil seats in your bathrooms to freshen the air naturally. And around Christmas, you can create a homemade “Christmas candle” by combing several drops of pine nut oil, sandalwood essential oil or cedarwood essential oil on a fire log about 30 minutes before burning in your fireplace.
2. All-Purpose Household Cleaner
To cleanse your countertops, appliances, bathroom or floors, combine several drops of pine oil and water in a spray bottle and spray on any surface before wiping down with a clean cloth.
3. Pots and Pans Scrub
For a deeper-acting cleaning scrub, combine several drops of pine oil with baking soda and stir them into a thick paste. Use a brillow sponge to scrub away mold, stains or stuck-on residue from your pots, home surfaces, car or appliances.
4. Floor Cleaner
To mop your floors and leave behind a clean smell, add ½ cup of white vinegar along with 10 drops of pine oil to a bucket and mop into wood surfaces before rinsing.
5. Glass and Mirror Cleaner
You can clean mirrors, glass or kitchen appliances by using pine nut oil along with vinegar to remove residue and leave behind shiny, clean surfaces. Also try using this method to clean your blender, dishwasher or laundry machine.
6. Carpet Cleaner
One of the best natural home deodorizers, use pine essential oil to remove odors from your carpet, mix 15–20 drops of pine essential oil with water in a bucket and then scrub into stains on your rugs. You can either use a carpet-cleaning device to steam or roll the mixture further into carpets or do so by hand. You don’t need to remove the oil from the carpets since it’s non-toxic and will continue to kill odor-causing bacteria and add a fresh scent to your home in the process.
7. Garbage Can Purifier
Douse a cotton ball with two drops each of lemon oil and pine oil, and then place the cotton balls at the bottom of your trashcans to help decrease bacteria and odors.
8. Shoe Smell Reducer
To get rid of shoe or foot odors, add a few drops of pine oil and tea tree oil to the bottom of shoes to freshen them up and kill bacteria.
Pine oil has been used to fight free radical damage and chronic inflammatory responses that can lead to pain or swelling and even contribute to chronic diseases, including arthritis and cancer. To take pine oil as a supplement, you can add one to two drops to tea or hot water with lemon (but this is only recommended if you use 100 percent pure organic oil).
To help stimulate the digestive organs, such as acting like a natural liver cleanse, consume one to two drops of pine oil along with other cleansing ingredients, including lemon and raw honey. This helps detoxify the body and flush out toxins and waste.
11. Headache Reliever
Because it can help decrease toxins in the air or around your home that can trigger sickness or headaches, pine oil is one of the great headache remedies. It’s also useful for reducing stress and lifting your mood, which are other causes of migraines or PMS-related headache symptoms.
For a natural headache remedy and instant relief, rub several drops of pine along with coconut oil into your temples and chest, or spray it onto your clothes as a natural fabric freshener and perfume. You can also directly inhale it when a headache hits or diffuse it into the air for 20 minutes.
12. Skin Care
Essential oils can make great natural acne treatments that work fast. And because it can fight bacteria and fungus, pine oil may be useful with a variety of skin conditions, including psoriasis, warts, boils, athlete’s foot, eczema and itching. It’s also helpful for removing dandruff from the scalp and adding shine to hair. However, use caution because certain people can experience skin sensitivity to pine.
13. Natural Energizer
Pine essential oil is often used for relieving mental and physical fatigue since it can help improve thinking, alertness and memory. It makes a great natural perfume or body lotion ingredient for improving focus during studying, exercise, driving and any other situation where you need to remain alert. It also has the ability to increase your clarity of mind.
Because pine can effectively fight fungi lurking in the air, it’s been shown to lower the presence of toxins that can cause difficulty in breathing, allergic rhinitis, watery eyes or flu-like symptoms. To naturally reduce seasonal allergy symptoms, diffuse pine nut oil throughout your home or inhale it directly from the bottle. If you’re already feeling sick, try combining pine oil and eucalyptus with coconut oil and rubbing it into your chest, neck and upper back to open your nasal passages.
Pine Oil Research and Studies
Pine trees are a sustainable crop and widely grown in cold climate areas throughout the world. In fact, unlike many other essential oil plants, pine trees are durable and resistant to weather changes since they can withstand temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees!
Historically, mattresses were said to be stuffed with the needles of the pine tree to help repel lice and fleas. The ancient Egyptians also supposedly used pine kernels in their cooking to kill food bacteria and decrease contamination.
Known for being a fresh-smelling ingredient in many household cleaners, pine essential oil can do more than freshen up your home — it also has the ability to remove potentially dangerous fungi, bacteria, molds and yeast.
Over recent years, as considerable interest has been given to natural plant extracts that have great use for the improvement of air quality without the need for harsh chemicals, pine nut extract has been one essential oil to rise to the top. Pine oil has been well-researched for its abilities to purify poor indoor air quality, which largely depends on the chemical composition of microorganisms living in the air that lead to pollution, odors, germ-spreading and contamination.
Some species of fungi and bacteria living in the air (Aspergillus flavus, A. fumigatus, A. niger and others) and their toxins cause difficulty in breathing, allergic rhinitis, watery eyes, headaches and flu-like symptoms. In 2004, when researchers from Vilnius Pedagogical University in Lithuania investigated the purifying biological activity of Pinus sylvestris L. extract in order to find out its fungicidal benefits against airborne microorganisms, they found positive results. Antimicrobial activity of pine oil was evaluated by technique of oil diffusion to Czapek agar (for fungi), malt extract agar (for yeast and yeast-like fungi) and nutrient agar (for bacteria).
In total, pine oil was tested on 13 species of toxins living within the air (eight fungi, two yeast-like fungi, yeast and two bacteria). Results showed minor to strong activity against all types of fungi, spore bacteria, yeast-like fungi, yeast and bacteria, with pine having the biggest effects on reducing bacteria and lesser effects on more resistant fungi strains. The most active concentration of pine oil against all tested microorganisms was 2.5 percent.
Recently, pine essential oil also has taken notice for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant capabilities. Specifically, pine has been discovered to be rich in polyphenol antioxidants that can help halt cancerous tumor growth and metastasis. And certain studies have also discovered several anti-inflammatory lignans within bioactive extract of pine bark that might be beneficial for heart health and cognitive functioning in addition to acting likenatural cancer treatments.
A 2004 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found stronganti-inflammatory properties of phenolic pine bark extract using high-performance liquid chromatography to reveal the most potent constituents. The phenolic compositions of three pine bark samples were analyzed, and results found eight primary compounds. Among the active chemicals that were isolated and identified for their free radical scavenging capabilities, 28 different phenolic compounds were identified.
The effects of the three pine bark samples on the synthesis of two pro-inflammatory mediators, called nitric oxide and prostaglandin, were also measured. It was shown that pine bark contains multiple compounds that fight oxidative stress and inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory mediators that can contribute to diseases like diabetes, arthritis, cancer and cognitive disorders.
A 2014 study investigating the chemical composition and antitumor effects against HeLa cells of pine extract derived from Pinus sylvestris L. bark showed positive anti-cancer activities. Analysis of pine oil helped researchers identify several other key constituents, including taxifolin, taxifolin-hexoside and several procyanidins. Pine bark extract exhibited a high cytotoxicity against HeLa cells (a type of cell involved in human cervical cancer) and revealed the ability of to induce apoptosis, or self-destruction of harmful cells.
DIY Pine Oil Recipes
Pine oil blends well with many other essential oils depending on what you’re 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.
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.
Internally: You can consume pine essential oil internally, but this is ONLY recommend for very high-quality oil brands. Look for an oil that is 100 percent pure therapeutic oil. You can add a drop to water or take it as a dietary supplement by mixing with honey or into a smoothie.
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’s a good idea to first perform a small patch test to make sure you don’t experience side effects. Apply one to two drops with a carrier oil to a part of your skin that’s not very 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 come into contact with mucus membranes that can easily become irritated. Remember that as with all essential oils, you only want to use them internally when you’re certain you have a pure, therapeutic-grade oil.