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Pinus sylvestris

Pinus sylvestris

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Scotch pine, scots pine, pine, fir leaf oil

Original Habitat

There are over 140 subspecies of the Pinus genus. This particular species known as Scotch Pine or Scots Pine grows upwards of 40 metres high. This evergreen tree is native to Europe and spreads all the way into Asia. The essential oil is derived from the needles which are blue green in colour. The needles live on the trees for 2 to 3 years.

Plant Part Used



The essential oil of P. sylvestris is used in the food and beverage industry. It is also used as an inexpensive fragrance material in household products such as detergents, soaps and disinfectants.[1] In therapeutic aromatherapy it is primarily used in combination with other oils. 


This oil is steam distilled from the needles which separates it from Pine oil that is extracted from the bark, cones or sawdust. The moderately thin oil as distilled from the needles is of higher quality and more appropriate for use in aromatherapy. It has a pale yellow to clear colour with a strong pine scent reminiscent of turpentine.

Chemical Constituents

Monoterpenes: Alpha pinene (40%)
Beta pinene (13%)
Limonene (30%) [2][3][4]

Note: This monograph reports on this essential oil in regard to its potential use in the French school of aromatherapy, as well as reporting any additional science that has been published. The ratings range from +, indicating a lower therapeutic value, to ++++ indicating a higher therapeutic value.

Medicinal Uses

Hormone-like, cortisone-like, sexual stimulant +++
Anti-diabetic tonic, stimulant, nerve tonic, hypertensive +++
Lymphatic decongestant ++
Restorative, bronchial expectorant ++

Traditional Use

Asthenia, general fatigue +++
Diabetes, multiple sclerosis ++
Bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma +++

Other traditional uses include treatment for lice, cuts, sores on the skin, muscle aches, poor circulation, gout, arthritis and respiratory problems. A study examining the effect of Pine needle oil on lice found that it was less effective than other essential oils tested.[5]

Antifungal- Poor indoor air quality is commonly known as ‘sick building syndrome’. This can be caused by different types of fungi including Aspergillus flavus, A. fumigatus, A. niger, A. parasiticus, or A. oryzea.  The symptoms that can occur are flu-like symptoms, watery eyes, and breathing issues. This study examined the antimicrobial activity of pine oil. The results showed antifungal activity against fungi, spore bacteria, yeast-like fungi, yeast, and bacteria, which may be of use in sick building syndrome.[6]

Contraindications and Precautions

The oil was not found to cause skin sensitivity.[7]

 Those allergic to the Pinus genus should avoid this essential oil.

Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women.

No photo toxicity has been reported.[1]



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]


1.     Lis Balchan M. Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.

2.     Apšegaitė V. Polymorphism of Lithuanian Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) with regard to monoterpene composition in needles. Ekologija. 2008;54(1):17-21.

3.     Venskutonis PR. Composition of essential oils of Pinus sylvestris L. from different locations of Lithuania. J Essen Oil Res.

4.     Ustun O. Study of the essential oil composition of Pinus sylvestris from Turkey. Chem Nat Comp. 2006;42(1):26-31.

5.     Veal L. The potential effectiveness of essential oils as a treatment for headlice, Pediculus humanus capitis. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. Aug 1996;2(4):97-101.

6.     Motiejūnaite O. Fungicidal properties of Pinus sylvestris L. for improvement of air quality. Medicina (Kaunas). 2004;40(8):787-794.

7.     Willms RU, Funk P, Walther C. Local tolerability of two preparations with eucalyptus oil and pine-needle oil. MMW Fortschr Med. 6 Oct 2005;147(3):109-112.

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