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Spruce needle oil: effect & application

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 404 views

The spruce is not only used for the production of furniture and toys, but is also valued as an effective medicinal plant. Spruce needles help, for example, with colds, rheumatic complaints and nerve pain. Read more about the healing power of spruce!

What are the effects of spruce needles?

The essential oil contained in the needles of the Norway spruce (Picea abies) and fresh twig tips are used internally to treat catarrh of the respiratory tract (colds). They are also used externally for rheumatic complaints and mild muscle and nerve pain.

The essential spruce needle oil has a mucous-promoting effect, stimulates blood circulation and is slightly anti-inflammatory. Important ingredients are for example

  • Bornylacetat
  • Pens
  • Phellandren
  • Camphen

The spruce needle oil is extracted from the needles, twigs or branches of the spruce by means of steam distillation.

However, so far there is little scientific evidence of the effectiveness of spruce. It has also not been clinically proven that spruce needle oil helps against nail fungus.

In addition to the Norway spruce, several other representatives of this plant family (pine family, Pinaceae) serve as suppliers of the medicinally used spruce needle oil (Piceae aetheroleum). However, the Norway spruce is one of the main suppliers.

How is the spruce used?

The essential oil of the spruce and corresponding ready-made preparations are primarily used medicinally. There is also spruce needle tea. We will introduce you to the various options.

Spruce as a home remedy

Folk medicine uses spruce needle tea for colds. To do this, pour 150 milliliters of hot water over a teaspoon of very finely chopped spruce needles . Cover and let the infusion steep for seven minutes, then strain.

You can drink a cup of spruce needle tea sweetened with honey two to three times a day. You should not exceed a daily dose of five to six grams of spruce needles. This dosage per day also applies to children from the age of ten and adolescents. For the other age groups, the following daily doses are recommended:

  • one to three years: 1 – 2 grams
  • four to nine years: 2 – 4 grams

For a full bath for a cold, adults can scald 200 to 300 grams of spruce shoots with a liter of hot water, leave for five minutes, then strain and add to the bath water. The recommended water temperature is 35 to 38 degrees Celsius.

The bathing time should not exceed 20 minutes. Such a spruce needle bath is also beneficial for rheumatic complaints, muscle and nerve pain.

Home remedies have their limits. If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time, do not improve or even get worse despite treatment, you should always consult a doctor.

Spruce in aromatherapy

You can use the pure spruce needle oil for inhalations if you have a cold: To do this, add five to a maximum of ten drops of the essential oil to one liter of hot water and breathe in the rising vapors under a towel pulled over your head.

Unless otherwise stated, aromatherapy recipes are for healthy adults. In children, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, the elderly and people with certain underlying diseases (such as asthma, epilepsy), the dosage often has to be reduced or some essential oils have to be dispensed with altogether. You should therefore first discuss the use of essential oils in such patient groups with an aromatherapist – for example with a doctor or alternative practitioner with appropriate additional training.

A cold bath with spruce needle oil is also recommended. Use up to five grams of pine needle oil for a full bath. To help the essential oil disperse better in the water, you should first mix it with some cream, condensed milk, salt , honey or lemon juice in an egg cup or shot glass before adding it to the water.

Bathe in the 35 to 38 degrees Celsius warm water for a maximum of 20 minutes. This spruce needle oil bath can also be beneficial for rheumatic complaints.

Siberian spruce needle oil has a composition similar to that of ethereal oil from spruce. It is obtained from the Siberian fir (Abies sibirica) and can be used in a similar way to “normal” spruce needle oil.

Finished preparations with spruce

There are various finished preparations based on spruce or spruce needle oil, such as ointments, creams, alcoholic solutions and bath additives. In addition, cough syrups and cough drops often contain spruce needle oil – often together with eucalyptus oil.

You can find out how to use and dose these ready-to-use preparations correctly in the respective leaflet or from your doctor or pharmacist.

What side effects can spruce preparations cause?

Spruce needles as a tea or bath are generally well tolerated. The application of the essential oil is usually unproblematic if the oil is used correctly and in the recommended dosage. However, slight skin irritation or eczema are also possible.

Incorrect use or overdose may lead to increased irritation of the skin or mucous membranes and bronchial spasms. Therefore, always observe the respective package inserts and the recommendations of your doctor or pharmacist for correct use and dosage.

What you should consider when using spruce preparations

  • The following applies to all essential oils: Use only 100 percent natural essential oils – preferably those that have been obtained from organically grown plants or from wild collections.
  • Before using spruce needle oil and other essential oils, you should always check their compatibility. The arm crook test is suitable for this: Put a drop of the essential oil in the crook of your arm and rub it in carefully. If the affected area of ​​skin turns red in the following hours, starts to itch and even forms pustules, you cannot tolerate the oil. You shouldn’t use it then!
  • Anyone suffering from so-called obstructive bronchial diseases such as COPD, asthma or whooping cough should not use spruce needle oil.
  • It must also not be used on babies and small children: there is a risk of life-threatening glottal spasms (spasm of the glottis) with respiratory arrest!
  • Spruce essential oil should generally not be applied to the eye area.
  • Breastfeeding mothers should not use spruce preparations in the breast area.
  • Do not take a full bath if you suffer from major skin injuries, inflammatory skin diseases, fever, heart failure or high blood pressure.

How to get Fichte products

The spruce needle oil and corresponding ready-made medicinal products are available in pharmacies and drugstores. For correct use, please read the package information or ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Fichte: What is that?

The Norway spruce (Picea abies) belongs to the pine family (Pinaceae). It is distributed throughout the northern hemisphere in temperate regions that are not too hot and can live for several hundred years.

The coniferous tree, which is up to about 50 meters high, is also called “red fir” because of its reddish-brown bark. It has a straight trunk and a regular, conical crown. The spruce needles are up to about 2.5 centimeters long, pointed and square. They stick out from the branches on all sides.

The spruce flowers every three to four years: it then develops hanging cones up to 15 centimeters long, which house winged seeds. The cones eventually fall off as a whole.

The wood of the spruce is used, for example, as construction and furniture wood, firewood and for the manufacture of paper and the construction of musical instruments and toys. In addition, the spruce often finds its way into our homes as a Christmas tree.

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