Pine Essential Oil

Pine Essential Oil
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General Description

Pines always stand with pride in most temperate and subtropical regions of the world where they thrive at not only as a source of timber and as ornamental coniferous trees in parks and gardens but also as a blessing to health of mankind. Pine essential oil is derived from the needles, twigs, and cones of plants belonging to the genus Pinus, much commonly referred to as "pines." [1] The essential oil is extracted from the said pine parts through steam distillation (a special type of distillation intended for temperature-sensitive materials) at atmospheric pressure for more than one hour or through solvent extraction process. [2]

The colorless to pale yellow pine essential oil offers a fresh, crisp, evergreen aroma somewhat suggestive of the scent of the northern forest and has a thin consistency. It is used in aromatherapy for its refreshing, invigorating, stimulating, and strengthening effect. [3] It also has a positive, beneficial influence on one's mind and body [4] and can blend well with other essential oils, such as those from citronella, clary sage, coriander, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, juniper berry, lavender, myrrh, rosemary, spikenard, and tea tree. [3]

Pine Essential Oil - Uses and Reported Benefits

The essential oil of the pine species Pinus roxburghii Sarg. is traditionally used in Nepal to remedy cuts, wounds, boils, and blisters. [5] Pine essential oil, in general, boasts antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, and because of that, it has found its place onto being an alternative treatment of arthritis, joint and muscle aches, and rheumatism. Moreover, pine essential oil is indicated too for respiratory difficulties, intestinal disturbances, inflamed gall bladder, and urinary tract infections. [3] When used in massage, it can also soothe stressed muscles and joints. [6] Other pharmacologic properties of pine essential oil include antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-mosquito, anti-mite, and antihypertensive properties.

Pine Essential Oil - Contraindications and Safety

Must like other essential oils, pine essential oil is best stored in an area unreachable by children for safety's sake. Dilution of the essential oil is also advised prior to topical and internal use, especially if it is intended to be applied on sensitive areas such as the face, neck, and genital region. [6] Although the use of pine essential oil at recommended physiological dose is safe and causes no documented adverse reactions, it may irritate sensitive types of skin notwithstanding, [3] so caution on application is still necessary.

Pine Essential Oil - Scientific Studies And Research

A good amount of evidence has been accumulated throughout the years regarding the antibacterial efficacy of pine essential oil. In the study of Jirovetz et al. (2005), pine essential oil was found to be active against different strains of yeast and Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, as noted through agar diffusion and agar dilution methods, respectively. Moreover, pine essential oil exhibited significant antibacterial action against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. [7] Such findings are similar to those of a 2011 Croatian study that had demonstrated the marked antibacterial activity of pine essential oil isolated from Dalmatian black pine (Pinus nigra ssp. dalmatica) needles against Gram-positive bacteria (MIC=0.03-0.50% (v/v)) and Gram-negative bacteria (MIC=0.12- 3.2% (v/v)). [8] Another study had also pointed out the antibacterial activity of pine essential oil, particularly that from P. roxburghii stems; however, this time, pine essential oil was observed to be active not only to Staphylococcus aureus but also to Bacillus subtilis. [9]

In addition to being antibacterial, pine essential oil bears as well some antifungal and antiviral properties. In the study of Hassan and Amjid (2009), the essential oil from P. roxburghii stems displayed antifungal activity against Aspergillus terreus, A. flavus, A. candidus, A. versicolor, A. niger, and Trichoderma viride. [9] Dwarf pine essential oil had been shown to be efficacious also in inhibiting different strains of aciclovir-sensitive and aciclovir-resistant herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). At maximum noncytotoxic concentration, dwarf pine essential oil reduced the formation of plaque by 96.6-99.9% and appeared to intervene with the adsorption of herpes viruses on cells. [10]

Pine essential oil can also be used as a safe mosquito repellent, a natural alternative to synthetic antimosquito chemicals that are usually harmful to humans too. Ansari, Mittal, Razdan, and Sreehari (2005) had evidenced such powerful repellent action of pine essential oil; in their study, pine essential oil endowed absolute protection against the mosquito species Anopheles culicifacies for 11 hours and 97% protection against Culex quinquefasciatus for 9 hours. [11] As A. culicifacies is a major malaria vector on the Indian subcontinent [12] and C. quinquefasciatus is the vector of lymphatic filariasis in the tropics and subtropics , [13] the use of a safe repellent with proven efficacy against the two is important and can serve as a preventive measure against mosquito-borne diseases

Pine essential oil, particularly from the branches of Pinus pinea L., Pinus halepensis Mill., Pinus pinaster Soil in Ait., and P. nigra Arnold, as evaluated by Macchioni et al. (2002), is acaricidal in nature and can serve as a natural pesticide against ticks and mites. The mould mite, Tyrophagus putrescentiae, has been found to be vulnerable to the effects of pine essential oil and its two components, 1,8-cineole and limonene (100% acaricidal activity at 8 μL). [14] This mite, aside from being a frequent pest of stored products such as meat, cheese, and nuts, proves to be a menace to human health as well, causing diseases such as "copra itch," skin and respiratory allergies, and dermatitis. [15]

Pycnogenol is the patented extract from the bark of French maritime pine, P. pinaster. It currently stands as the frequent treatment for venous insufficiency and other vascular conditions. However, the said extract is being studied now for a vast array of other conditions, including hypertension. A placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel group study had demonstrated that supplementation of 100 mg Pycnogenol for 12 weeks among 58 patients helped to significantly reduce the dose of nifedipine, a calcium channel blocker used to lower high blood pressure and to treat chest pain, [16] and the concentration of endothelin-1 (when compared to placebo). [17] Pycnogenol hence enhances the endothelial function of hypertensive patients. This placebo-controlled study supports the use of Pycnogenol among patients with mild high blood pressure, the said pine extract being with only mild and transient side effects. [17]

Pine Essential Oil - Molecular Components and Chemistry

The three most important compounds in pine essential oil are α-pinene, β-pinene, and germacrene D. [2] A gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MC) analysis done by Satyal et al. (2013) identified sesquiterpenes, namely, (E)-caryophyllene (26.8-34.5%) and α-humulene (5.0- 7.3%), and monoterpene alcohols, such as terpinen-4-ol (4.1-30.1%) and α-terpineol (2.8-5.0%), on pine essential oils obtained from the cone, needle, and bark of P. roxburghii. [5] Politeo, Skocibusic, Maravic, Ruscic, and Milos (2011), on the other hand, identified α-pinene, β- pinene, germacrene D, and β-caryophyllene from the essential oil of Dalmatian black pine (P. nigra ssp. dalmatica) needles. [8]


[1] Pine oil. Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[2] Rezzoug S. A. (2009). Optimization of steam extraction of oil from maritime pine needles. Journal of Wood Chemistry and Technology, 29(2): 87-100. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[3] Pine 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil- 10 ml. Edens Garden. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[4] Pine Essential Oil for Aromatherapy. Tranquility Essential Oils. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[5] Satyal P. et al. (2013). Volatile constituents of Pinus roxburghii from Nepal. Pharmacognosy Research, 5(1): 43-48. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[6] Pine Essential Oil by Young Living - 5ml. Young Living. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[7] Jirovetz L. et al. (2005). Antimicrobial testings and gas chromatographic analysis of pure oxygenated monoterpenes 1,8-cineole, α-terpineol, terpinen-4-ol and camphor as well as target compounds in essential oils of pine (Pinus pinaster), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). Scientia Pharmaceutica, 73: 27-38. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[8] Politeo O., Skocibusic M., Maravic A., Ruscic M., & Milos M. (2011). Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of endemic Dalmatian black pine (Pinus nigra ssp. dalmatica). Chemistry & Biodiversity, 8(3): 540-547. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201000185. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[9] Hassan A. & Amjid I. (2009).Gas chromatography-mass spectrometric studies of essential oil of Pinus roxburghaii stems and their antibacterial and antifungal activities. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 3(9):670-673. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[10] Koch C. et al. (2008). Efficacy of anise oil, dwarf-pine oil and chamomile oil against thymidinekinase-positive and thymidine-kinase-negative herpesviruses. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 60(11): 1545-1550. doi: 10.1211/jpp/60.11.0017. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[11] Ansari M. A., Mittal P. K., Razdan R. K., & Sreehari U. (2005). Larvicidal and mosquito repellent activities of pine (Pinus longifolia, family: Pinaceae) oil. Journal of Vector Borne Diseases, 42(3): 95-99. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[12] Anopheles culicifacies. Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[13] Culex quinquefasciatus. Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[14] Macchioni F. et al. (2002). Acaricidal activity of pine essential oils and their main components against Tyrophagus putrescentiae, a stored food mite. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 50(16): 4586-4588. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[15] Mullen G. & OConnor B. M. (2009). Mites. In G. Mullen, G. R. Mullen, & L. Durden, "Medical and veterinary entomology" (2nd ed.). Academic Press. pp. 423-482. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[16] Nifedipine. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

[17] Liu X. et al. (2004). Pycnogenol, French maritime pine bark extract, improves endothelial function of hypertensive patients. Life Sciences, 74(7): 855-862. Retrieved 14 May 2013 from

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