Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany Permission granted to use under GFDL by Kurt Stueber

With winter setting in and Christmas just around the corner, we begin stacking the fire wood and thinking of curling up in front of a roaring fire.  One of my favorite smells is a log fire’s smoke wafting through the cold night air, especially if pine wood is being burned. (I know pine is very bad for a chimney).  And what can beat the smell of a just cut Christmas tree when it first is brought into the house and fills the room with such a fresh comforting odor. Pine tree scent always brings excitement and joy because it means Christmas is near!

Pine essential oil is dry distilled from the Pinus sylvestris (Scotch pine) variety and the best quality oil generally comes from the northern European countries, especially Finland. The pine needles are used for essential oil whereas turpentine is made from the wood chippings – same plant, very different scents.

Pine Needle essential oil is very antiseptic and has been used commercially in many disinfectants and cleaning solutions. But pine also has therapeutic qualities that aid the body in healing.  Used in steam inhalations, pine works to clear chest infections, break up catarrh and loosen mucus. It fights respiratory complaints and eases the discomfort of  bronchitis. It is a wonderful oil to have around the house during cold and flu season. Rubbed on the chest it is soothing and comforting and is a great expectorant. It will also kills germs that cause disease.

Pine stimulates the circulatory system and can help with stagnant arthritis and rheumatic conditions as well as with gout.  When mixed in a massage oil, pine helps relieve tired achy joints and muscle pain.  It aids urinary infections and cystitis, and because of its diuretic effects it lessens water retention.

As mentioned before, pine is very antiseptic and not only cleanses and disinfects on a surface level, but seems to cleanse and help heal on an emotional level. It is an uplifting scent, great for fatigue and mental exhaustion. It also works deeper into the psyche to help release tensions that stem from guilt.  Many of us hold anxiety and depression in the body from feelings of inadequacy and guilt – guilt of not being good enough, not coming up to standards, not giving enough, whatever. Many blame themselves for other’s mistakes, feeding feelings of self-reproach. Pine and its revitalizing and cleansing effects, when burned in an aroma lamp, seems to alleviate the stresses of these guilty feelings. It allows forgiveness in  which helps regain energy and pleasure in life. (Think how it feels to lie under a canopy of pine needles in a forest and how nurturing that is).

So this Christmas, when the stress of the holidays is overwhelming and the guilt of not being able to do enough for others is driving you crazy, sit quietly with  some pine essence burning in an aroma lamp, filling the room with the delightful smell of pine forests and relax. Allow yourself to drift into a winter wonderland of peace and tranquility. What a perfect healing scent for this time of year.