Medicinal plants

Pine as a medicinal plant - application and effect

Pine as a medicinal plant - application and effect

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Pine trees, also known as pine trees, are a genus of coniferous plants. The individual types of pine form similar bioactive substances and have similar healing effects. When we speak of “pine” in Germany, we usually mean the forest pine (Pinus sylvestris). We know this as wooden furniture and kindling. In the following text, pine is therefore used to mean the forest pine.

Profile of the forest pine

  • Scientific name: Pinus sylvestris
  • Plant family: Pine Family (Pinaceae)
  • Popular names: Common pine, common pine, Samal pine, red pine, white pine, pine, load, forche, fire / torch tree, pine tree, white pine.
  • origin: Europe, North Asia
  • application areas: Respiratory diseases, colds, skin diseases such as eczema and rash, rheumatic pain, muscle strains and stretching of the ligaments.
  • Parts of plants used: Resin, needles, buds and shoots.

Pine - ingredients and effects

Scots pine contains essential oils, camphene, carene, limonene, bornyl acetate, resins and bitter substances. The substances contained in the conifer have an antiseptic, antioxidant effect, help with swelling, relieve pain and loosen mucus.

What do pine products help with?

Pine teas, pine extracts, pine tinctures, pine baths or pine oil can be among others

  • Liver problems,
  • Urinary tract infections or cystitis,
  • Constipation,
  • Lung infection,
  • Bronchitis,
  • Asthma,
  • Sinusitis,
  • Flu,
  • Sniff,
  • to cough
  • and hoarseness

help. They alleviate skin problems caused by psoriasis and neurodermatitis and relieve the symptoms of rheumatic arthritis. They ensure good blood circulation to the skin and are used for muscle injuries, bruises, strains, sprains and sore muscles.

They reduce itching on the skin, and as a pain reliever, pine preparations also relieve toothache - people in the vicinity of pine forests chew pine resin against toothache. Pine products are also considered a remedy for nervousness, sleep problems and stress symptoms.

Pine as a remedy - forms and areas of application

The use of pine for medicinal purposes has a long tradition. Various types of remedies can be prepared from the various parts of the forest pine plant. You can find out what these are and what they are used for in the following overview.

Wooden tar

Wood tar is obtained by dry distillation of the stems, roots and branches. It contains, among other things, benzene, styrene, toluene, xylene, polycyclic hydrocarbons such as naphthalene or benzopyrene, organic acids, phenols, cresols, resins, terpenes and polyterpenes.

In baths, tar is used to treat chronic and purulent diseases of the skin, especially crack eczema on the fingers. It is a building block and not an exclusive therapy. In folk medicine, tar was also used to relieve respiratory diseases. Veterinary medicine knows ointments with pine tar to treat hooves and claws.

Pine needles

For a pine tea we pour a teaspoon of fresh or dried needles with a cup of hot water and let the brew steep for five minutes.

Pine needle oil

Pine needle oil (Pini aetheroleum) is obtained from the fresh needles, branch tips and fresh branches. Steam distillation releases these essential oils. The main components are two forms of pinene (up to 50 percent and up to 25 percent) and 3-carene (up to 20 percent) as well as camphene (up to 12 percent), limonene (up to 10 percent), myrcene and terpinolene (each up to to 5 percent). Pine needle oil is used for catarrhal diseases of the respiratory tract, externally for nerve disorders and rheumatic symptoms, as an envelope, compress or as a bath.

Turpentine oil

Turpentine oil extracted from pine helps against diseases of the upper and middle respiratory tract, kidneys and urinary tract as well as against skin complaints. In contrast to needle oil, turpentine oil is obtained from the resin.

Pine sprouts

The sprouts of the jaws are called “pini turiones”. We collect these in spring and use them dry or fresh. They contain essential oil (up to 0.5 percent), including bornyl acetate, cadines, 3-carene, limonene, phellandrene and pinene, as well as vitamin C, resin, bitter substances and sugar such as raffinose, melibiose and sucrose.

In folk medicine, the drives served as a remedy for breathing difficulties and externally for mild muscle and nerve problems. The sprouts collected during the sprouting were used as an extract against weakness of the ligamentous apparatus on the bones, rash, eczema, chronic rheumatism, inflammation of the respiratory tract and nettle fever.

Make remedies from pine yourself

We put the pine sprouts in boiling water and inhale the water vapor. For skin diseases we let them soak in the water until it cools down and apply the extract to the affected areas - as a compress or envelope. We can also add the extract to the bath water and soothe the skin with a full, sitting or foot bath.

For a tea that helps against respiratory diseases, we add two grams of the shoots to 100 milliliters of water, let everything infuse for about ten minutes and drink three small or two large cups a day. For an extract with which we soak compresses and put them on the skin, we take six grams per 100 milliliters of water. For a bath, we place one or two handfuls of sprouts and needles in the hot, warm water of a full bath. This not only stimulates the skin, but also acts as a deodorant.

Pine cleans the air

We can also drizzle pine needle and turpentine oil on a scented lamp, which is heated by a tealight. The escaping vapors kill existing pathogens. The same applies to smoke from a fire with pine branches.

Scots pine - harvesting and storage

We collect the buds of the forest pine in February / March before they open, the sprouting branches in autumn and the emerging resin all year round. We let buds and young twigs dry in the sun and store them in glass or ceramic containers. We heat the resin to remove foreign bodies and store it in glass jars.


Forest pines are common in Europe. They colonize the mountains from southwestern Europe to Asia and are a pointer to sandy soils. They don't like heavy clay soils.

Side effects

Overdoses can lead to allergic reactions. Danger: You must not use pine remedies if you have whooping cough or bronchial asthma. You should not take pine oil baths if you suffer from high blood pressure, heart failure or open wounds. Young children are not allowed to inhale pine oil.


Ready-made medicines with pine oil as well as pine sprouts, pine buds and pine resin as home remedies are well suited as a remedy for diseases of the respiratory and urinary tract, skin complaints, rheumatic problems, joint and muscle pain. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


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  • Bavarian State Institute for Forestry and Forestry (LWF) (ed.): Contributions to forest pine, LWF knowledge 57 (accessed: 11.12.2019), LWF
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