Spruce Essential Oil is derived from the needles of spruce trees that grow in the temperate and cold northern forests in the world. With about 35 species under its genus, the spruce is a cousin of pine and fir trees. The most well-known species that is turned into essential oils is the Black Spruce (Picea mariana) which is grown in countries like Canada.
The thin, blue green needles of the black spruce tree are commonly extracted using steam distillation. Compared to other oils from evergreen trees, the oil of the spruce tree has a milder and sweeter scent. Black Spruce oil was historically used by Lakota Americans to heal wounds and muscle pains. They also incorporated it into their spiritual practices because of its cleansing properties
Like its cousins the pine and fir, spruce trees inspire a fresh, outdoor ambience. When used for aromatherapy, Spruce Essential Oils are used for its anti-inflammatory and therapeutic effects. It is ideal for individuals with respiratory issues during cold weather. Likewise, it is added to soap, air fresheners and household cleaning agents for its fresh and disinfecting properties.
Spruce Essential Oil has a thin viscosity; it is clear to pale yellow in color. It contains 55% monoterpenes – including camphene, y-3-Carene, α-Pinene, y-Bornyl acetate, and sesquiterpenes. It also has cortisone- and hormone-like properties that stimulate the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA) and the thymus gland.
Spruce Essential Oil Benefits
The following are the benefits of Spruce Essential Oil:
- Relieving respiratory problems
- Working as a mucolytic for clogged noses
- Anti-inflammatory aroma for asthma and bronchitis
- Fighting off fatigue and similar conditions
- Enhancing the immune system
- Treating skin irritation from hormonal imbalances
- Easing muscle pain and the effects of rheumatism and arthritis
- Improve blood circulation
- Soothe digestive problems like diarrhea and stomach aches
Spruce Essential Oil Uses
- Spruce Essential Oil for Aromatherapy. Spruce Essential Oil has been used in spas, saunas, hot spring baths, and for massages. This is due to its properties that help ease respiratory problems like asthma as well as nasal congestion during cold weather.
- Spruce Essential Oil for Treating Respiratory Problems. It can be blended with rosemary and lavender in a diffuser as a nasal decongestant and treat respiratory inflammation. These include conditions like allergic rhinitis, asthma and bronchitis.
- Spruce Essential Oil for Muscle Relief. Having the properties of an analgesic and rubefacient, it promotes blood circulation in tired muscles and eases muscle pain. This essential oil can help those with arthritis and rheumatism in dealing with the conditions.
- Spruce Essential Oil for Urinary Tract Support. When used to massage the lower back and abdomen, it can help keep the urinary system healthy. This is because of its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties.
- Spruce Essential Oil for Stress Relief. For those with anxiety, stress, chronic fatigue, and nervous exhaustion, the refreshing and warming aroma of Spruce Essential Oil can help restore physical and emotional energy.
- Spruce Essential Oil for Skin Treatment. The anti-inflammatory properties of Spruce Essential Oil can help treat skin outbreaks related to hormonal imbalance or stress along with other conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, and seborrhea dermatitis.
Spruce Oil Side Effects
For some individuals with allergies, applying Spruce Essential Oil without dilution with carrier oil can cause skin irritation. Test it for first-time use by applying a tiny drop on your skin and watch for effects after at least 24 hours.
How to Use Spruce Essential Oil
There are different ways to use Spruce Essential Oil and reap its benefits. Here are they:
- Aromatherapy. The oil can be diffused for aromatherapy using a vaporizer or oil diffuser. It can be combined with rosemary and lavender to produce more pleasing aromas. Adding 10 drops into the diffuser is usually sufficient. You can also add 2 drops in hot water while covering your head with a towel and inhaling the vapors directly. During a warm shower, you may also add 5 drops on a washcloth and place it on your chest to relieve bronchial congestion.
- Topical. When applying to the skin for easing effects of skin conditions, mix 3 to 5 drops of Spruce Essential Oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil before massaging it to areas like the lower back, abdomen and chest. For muscle pain, massage the affected area twice a day.
- Pet Care. For those who care for pets like cats and dogs, combine it with cedar wood oil and apply to their coats using a spray or during baths to get rid of fleas and ticks.
How to Make Spruce Essential Oil
Because Spruce Essential Oil is extracted from the needles of spruce trees, they are extracted during the months of January to April when the oil levels in the needles are highest. This is because branches exposed to the sun produce more spruce oil than those in dense forests. 25-year-old trees are also known to yield more oil than those older than 45 years.
Steam distillation is the primary process of extraction for Spruce Essential Oil. It is placed in a still and exposed to significantly high temperatures to separate the oil compounds from the water content of the crushed needles.
Spruce Essential Oil Recipe
Here’s how to make your own Spruce Essential Oil:
- Harvest fresh spruce needles from a tree of your choice. Avoid dried, fallen needles to prevent contamination of your oil.
- Using warm water and mild detergent, clean the harvested needles to remove contaminants and other materials. You may do this in the sink by filling it with the soap and water then draining after some time. Rinse the needles well with clean water afterwards.
- Dry the clean spruce needles with paper towels by occasional blotting to remove all moisture from the surface.
- Lightly crush the needles in a mortar and pestle in small batches. Do not completely mash the needles.
- Mix the needles into a glass jar with almond oil. Make sure there is an air-tight seal with a cap then shake gently to coat all the spruce needles.
- Store the jar in a warm room of at least 24 degrees Celsius away from direct sunlight.
- Shake the jar daily for at least seven days. After one week, store the jar in a dark location and allow the Spruce Essential Oil to age for two weeks. Do not shake it during this period.
- After removing the jar, shake it and strain it through a cheesecloth or fine mesh fabric to drain as much of the essential oil as possible.
- Store the oil in a dark bottle with an air-tight seal to avoid contamination and to keep it fresh.
Where to Buy Spruce Essential Oil
Spruce Essential Oils are available online and in health shops for aromatherapy. Floracopedia is a brand that sells organic Spruce Essential Oil.
More Information on Spruce Essential Oil
- Spruce Essential Oil should not be used by pregnant and breastfeeding moms to avoid complications.
- If you are taking prescription medication, consult your doctor first before using this oil.
- Perform a skin patch test before using the oil extensively. To do this, apply a small drop on a part of your skin like the forearm then wait for 24 hours at least. If any reaction like inflammation occurs, avoid future application.