Synopsis: Pine profile with hydrosol, origin, storage, organoleptic and chemistry as well as collective information and aroma assessment. Formulas include perfume, skin care, hair care and stories.
Pine Needle Profile
Scotch Pine and Piñon Pine – Hydrosol
Common Name/ Latin Name/ Country of Origin:
Scots pine or Scotch pine is from the evergreen coniferous tree correctly called Pinus sylvestris. It is native to Eurasia but is now grown in multiple areas.
Pine, Piñon or Pinyon Pine is a native tree of the southwest area of USA and northern Mexico There are several species of this tree but mainly Pinus edulis is the one that is used for its essential oil.
Pinon Pine gum
Endangered or not: Some species of Pinyon Pine are considered endangered due to over-harvesting for nuts and wood. In regards to Scots pine, it is of least concern.
Safety Precautions: Use these oils moderately in your blends and perfumes. Remember that the conifer needle oils contain alpha- and beta-pinene and have been known to cause sensitivity and skin irritation in some.
Storage: Keep in a cool dry place and replace every year or so.
samples courtesy of Eden Botanicals
Aroma Assessment/Organoleptics: These two oils although very similar in chemistry are very different in their scent profile. Both are colorless, clear, non-viscous, intensity on the low side about 3-4 and with a bitter, somewhat sweet taste. Both have a green, herbal and fruity odor. However, whereas the Pinus sylvestris is really very much an airy woodsy odor, the Pinus edulis was fruitier with a delicious high note that tasted edible.
Best method of application or what do you use each individual Pine for: Pinus sylvestris is considered to have qualities for convalescence, inhaled for bronchitis, sinusitis and asthma. and is used to tone the respiratory system, or as application in a massage blend. It is a hypertensive, tonic stimulant. Pinyon Pine could be used in the same way, both as an inhalation or an application for aching muscles or pain.
Portion of the plant used in distillation, how it’s distilled, extracted and yields:
“Needles of the Pine, the adult leaves, are green (photosynthetic), and bundled in clusters (fascicles) of 1–6, commonly 2–5 needles together, and when you look at them from the bottom when detached, they look like a perfect circle. The needles persist for 1.5–40 years, depending on species. If a shoot is damaged (e.g. eaten by an animal), the needle fascicles just below the damage will generate a bud which can then replace the lost leaves.”
Pinus sylvestris, Scotch Pine, Norway Pine is a tall, evergreen, up to 150 feet with attractive, reddish-brown, deeply fissured bark with long, stiff needles that grow in pairs. The Essential oil is produced mainly in the Baltic states. The components are greatly influenced by geographical origin and consist mainly of Monoterpenes, Pinene, some Limonene. Needles are steam- or hydro-distilled. Yield varies widely depending on the source from 0.25 to 0.47% and 0.25–0.49% in the current-year and one-year-old needles of pine, respectively.
Piñon Pine. This is a very interesting historic tree whose needles and gum is steam or hydro distilled. Yield is about .05 to .1%. It is a small to medium sized tree with a furrowed and scaly bark and whose needles come in pairs. The cones are green then ripen to yellow. The edible seeds are harvested from many types of Pinyon Pine. There are many species used by Native Americans depending on the area of growth. The tree was only recently described (about 1848).
Pinon Pine tree
Pinon Pine is a historic tree of the Native Americans as it was a staple food, the resin was used in ritual, and the pinyon jay ate the nuts and this was important in the dispersal of seeds and regeneration of the tree.
Hydrosol Use of Pine: Most hydrosols have not as yet been tested as to what components they do or do not contain. Contrary to what several well-known aromatherapy experts say, hydrosols do not contain the same components as their essential oils but in less quantity. Here, in the case of Pinyon Pine, the EO contains mainly alpha and beta pinene while the hydrosol contains alpha-terpineol, terpinene-4-ol and borneol. Using hydrosols is easy: baths, compresses, wound cleansers.
Spray to refresh the air as the small airborne molecules disperse readily, particularly in cars or airplanes (don’t use too much), rinse to disinfect your hands, a slight spray on clothes after removing from the dryer creates a nice refreshing change, use in fingerbowls after your formal dinner, use in small amounts in creams and lotions to add therapy to the product.
PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh. AND “the very best hydrosols are the ones you distill yourself, for you or your loved ones.”—A. Harman from ”Harvest to Hydrosol”.
Chemistry: Piñon Pine usual GC/MS shows very high levels of terpenes; alpha-pinene up to 65% and beta-pinene to 8%, as well as small amounts of carene and myrcene and oxides of cineol to 11%. This shows its value in inhalation therapy and for healing. Scots Pine α-Pinene (18.5-33.0%) and δ-3-carene (9.1-24.6%) were dominating constituents.
Collective and interesting information: Pine honey is a particular type of honey that the honey bees produce, not on the basis of nectar or pollen, as is the case for other types of honey, but by using the honeydew excreted by an insect, an aphid named Marchalina hellenica, which lives by sucking on the sap of certain pine species, and leaves the honeydew on the trunks of these trees. Pine honey is produced in western (mainly southwestern) Turkey, in a number of Greek islands and in New Zealand.
The pine species on which Marchalina hellenica can be found are the Turkish Pine (Pinus brutia) and, to smaller extent, Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis), Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Stone Pine (Pinus pinea). The insects hide in the cracks and under the scales of the bark of these trees, beneath a white cotton-like wax they secrete.
Pinyon wood, especially when burned, has a distinctive fragrance, making it a common wood to burn in chimneys. The pinyon pine trees are also known to influence the soil in which they grow by increasing concentrations of both macronutrients and micronutrients.
Pines are long-lived, and typically reach ages of 100–1,000 years, some even more. The longest-lived is the Great Basin Bristlecone pine, Pinus longaeva. One individual of this species, dubbed “Methuselah”, is one of the world’s oldest living organisms at around 4,600 years old. This tree can be found in the White Mountains of California. An older tree, now cut down, was dated at 4,900 years old. It was discovered in a grove beneath Wheeler Peak and it is now known as “Prometheus” after the Greek immortals.
Recipes for all Sorts of things.
- Perfume ~ A lovely simple scent can be made by blending 20 drops of Pinus edulis, 10 drops of Clary Sage and 2-5 drops of Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica) or Balsam Fir absolute. When you have blended and used succussion to mix them and then aged your blend at least a week, smell the blend and then add more of each of the oils as you wish.
- Skincare ~ I am particularly fond of using any of the Pine or Fir hydrosols in the bathtub with me. I fill the bath with warm water, add 4 to 8 oz. of hydrosol (even a little Rosemary for the anti-aging effect) and then add small Pine or Redwood branches (no more than inches long), throw in my yellow rubber ducky and then get in with a good book and read for a while. The steamy water lets off a refreshing forest scent, my skin gets tonified and glorified, my mind clears and I am ready for the rest of the day.
- Haircare ~ Have you been out in the sun too long or have icy winds dried out your hair? Use a 50•50 combination of any Pine oil + Rosemary verbenone and then take a drop of this and add to your usual hair oil — you will only need 1 drop per ounce of oil. Rub on y our hands and then massage your scalp, gently pulling your fingers through your hair. Finish with a nice brush-out and you will have shiny hair with less dry-out.
- Jeanne Rose tips and tricks. Also posted in the Black Spruce profile.
Sequential Inhalation (A Treatment)
By Jeanne Rose – 1986
There are six essential oils that I particularly like for colds and flus and include Black Spruce (stimulate the adrenal), Eucalyptus radiata (expectorant and mucolytic or liquefies the mucus in the lungs), Douglas-Fir (antiseptic and disinfectant, Rosmarinus pyramidalis (sinus cleanser and relief), Ravensara aromatica (antiseptic, antiviral), and Fir or Pine, any species as a (cleanser and respiratory tonic).
When there is any sort of respiratory congestion, it is good to inhale the essential oils in hot water. Your mother probably taught you to do this. You will need a pot, water, essential oils and a towel. Bring two cups of water to a boil in a small pot. Bring the pot to the table. Cover your head with a towel over the pot making a tent. Now add one drop of essential oil at a time to the pot. Inhale one at a time until the scent is gone and then add the second oil. Continue until you have used all six oils. Use the oils in the sequence as given above. This will take about six minutes. Do not add more than one drop of essential oil at a time. Inhale the scent until the scent is gone (about one minute). [If you add more than one drop at a time you will probably gag and cough which is not a healthy act and not what you want.
Inhale through the mouth, exhale through the nose; then inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Alternate throughout the procedure. This gives the essential oils a chance to cleanse both the sinus area and the throat and lungs. —using this Jeanne Rose method since 1990.
- Another Amazing Tomato Tale ~ While on a walking excursion in northern California near Weaverville some years ago, my companion brought me to what he said was the ‘biggest’ Pine tree of the area. Thankfully, I have kept this picture of the tree as several years later it was blasted with a lightning bolt and split and fell in the forest. What a mighty beautiful Pine tree.
- Britton, Lord and Hon. Addison Brown • An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and CanadaVol. II • (New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1970.)
- Franchomme, P. and Pénoël, Docteur D • L’Aromatherapie Exactement • (Limoges, France: Roger Jollois Editeur, 1990.)
- Guenther, Ernest, Ph.D. • The Essential Oils• (Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company 1976) (original edition 1952.) (in VI volumes)
- Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol, botannicals, 2015
- Rose, Jeanne • The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations• (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 3rd edition, 1994.)
- • 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols• (San Francisco, CA: Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy, 3rd edition, 1994)
- Sudworth, George B. • Forest Trees of the Pacific Slope• (New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1967.)
- Tutin, Heywood, Burgers, Moore, Valentine, Walters and Webb, Editors • Flora Europea, Vol 4 • (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1976.)
See these other blog posts for the Conifer Needles.
Do not Ingest essential oils: Although some oils are important flavoring oils in the flavor industry and thus ingested in very small amounts in many foods, especially meats and sausages, it is not a good idea to use them yourself either in capsules or honey to take internally.
Safety Precautions: Do not apply the essential oil neat, especially to the underarms or delicate parts of the body. Most oils are probably not to be used on babies, children or pregnant women. Many aromatherapists suggest that there are some oils not be used at all. However, as with many plants, essential oil chemistry is subject to change depending on species and terroir.
Patch Test: If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 1 drop carrier) to the area. Then apply a loose Band-Aid and wait 24 hours. If there is no reaction, then go ahead and use the oil in your formulas. —The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations, p. 64
DISCLAIMER: This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor. The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies – Jeanne Rose©
Jeanne Rose ~ Jeanne is the founder of New Age Creations, the first body-care company in the United States to use aromatherapy (since 1967) based on the formulas she invented and then used in The Herbal Body Book; she is the Director/Educator of both the Herbal Studies Course and the Aromatherapy Studies Course by home-study and Distance-Learning and the author of 25 books. She coined the word ‘hydrosol’ for the aromatic waters of distillation. She was the first to teach the Art of Distillation to aroma practitioners.
She brings 45 years of experience and personal research in her practice of Aromatherapy. Jeanne Rose has held the Executive positions of (NAHA), The American Herbalist Association (AHA), and The Aromatic Plant Project (APP) —which encourages the production and use of American grown essential oils and hydrosols. Jeanne Rose teaches all aspect of aromatherapy and herbalism as well as Aromatherapy Certification Courses; and the Art of Distillation.
She practices a personal ecology and eats organically grown and locally sourced foods.