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Pine Needle Oil

Scientific Name(s): Cedrus deodara (Roxb. ex D. Don) G. Don, Pinus densiflora Sieb. Et Zucc., Pinus sylvestris L.
Common Name(s): Pine needle oil

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 23, 2023.

Clinical Overview


Antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal, and wound-healing activities of pine needle oil have been documented in animal and in vitro studies, with in vitro data also indicating a potential role in cancer. No clinical studies of pine needle oil use have been identified; therefore, pine needle oil cannot be recommended for any indication.


No clinical data are available to provide dosing recommendations. Pine needle oil is available commercially in many products. It is marketed for numerous health conditions and for aromatherapy use. Pine needle tea is also marketed as an overall panacea.


Use should be avoided in cases of hypersensitivity to any of the components of pine needle oil.


Avoid use due to documented adverse effects.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Limited clinical data are available. Topical preparations containing pine needle oil are generally well tolerated. Allergic contact dermatitis from various pine needle oil fragrance components has been documented.


No data.

Scientific Family


The Pinaceae family includes more than 250 species mainly distributed in the Northern Hemisphere and in subtropical and tropical portions of Central America and Asia.Ioannou 2014, Kurose 2007, Yu 2004 Many species grow into sturdy trees, reaching 30 m or more in height. The evergreen needles grow up to 12 cm in length and contain resin; the pollen cones are conical and elongate and usually appear in the spring. Soft pines have 1 fibrovascular bundle for structural support, with 5 needles per bundle. However, hard pines have 2 fibrovascular bundles with 2 to 5 needles per bundle.Ioannou 2014


In China and Korea, pine needles are used to promote health and are consumed as food and dietary supplements.Kim 2010, Kurose 2007, Yu 2004 A 2004 economic study documents pine needle consumption in Korea to be 1,000 tons per year. Pine-based commercial products are found in beverages, candy, tea, and wine.Yu 2004 In China and Korea, pine needles are used as herbal medicine and in tea for their nutritional and pharmaceutical effects.Ka 2005, Zeng 2012 In China, Japan, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Lapland, pine needle extract is used to treat various skin ailments, including burns.Clark 2014 Pine needle oils are commercially used as ingredients in several types of soaps, perfumes, and deodorants.Ka 2005, Kurose 2007


The chemical composition of needle essential oils (from 46 pine species) has been investigated, with more than 190 constituents identified.Ioannou 2014, Mitic 2017 Nearly every sample contained monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes. The monoterpene hydrocarbons alpha- and beta-pinene and the sesquiterpene germacrene D are the dominant constituents.Ioannou 2014, Kurose 2007 A mixture of piperidine alkaloids from spruce needles (Picea abies) have confirmed teratogenic activity.Tawara 1993

More than 29 flavor compounds have been identified in pine needle tea,Kim 2000 including alpha-pinene, isoamyl alcohol, trans-caryophyllene, terpinene-4-ol, alpha-terpineol, and delta-cadinene.

Uses and Pharmacology

Research reveals no clinical data for the use of pine needle oil.

Antibacterial/Antifungal activity

In vitro data

In a study evaluating the chemical composition and antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of essential oil from pine needles, pine needle oil showed inhibitory activity against the bacteria Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, and Bacillus cereus, as well as the fungi Aspergillus niger, Penicillium citrinum, Rhizopus oryzae, and Aspergillus flavus; however, gentamicin was more effective.Zeng 2012 Another study of an aqueous extract from pine needles documented similar antibacterial activity against food spoilage and pathogenic bacteria, including Micrococcus luteus and Proteus vulgaris.Feng 2010 Antifungal activity was also documented against Fusarium culmorum, Fursarium solani, and Fusarium poae.Krauze-Baranowska 2002 Pine needle oil in combination with ascorbic acid inhibited tissue browning and reduced microbial growth on fresh-cut apple slices.Zeng 2011

Antioxidant activity

In vitro data

Pine needle oil demonstrated antioxidant activity against hydrogen peroxide–treated brain neuroblastoma cells in one studyKa 2005 and 1,1-dihenyl-1-picryhydrazl radical scavenging activity in another study.Park 2011


In vitro data

Studies have demonstrated inhibitory activity of alpha-pinene from pine needle oil on tumor growth by blocking cell growth in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle, down-regulating Cdc25C mRNA and protein expression, and reducing cycle dependence on kinase 1 (cyclin-dependent protein kinase 1) activity. Activity has been demonstrated in human cancer cell lines, including liver and breast cancers.Chen 2014, Chen 2015, Kang 2016, Qiu 2018


Animal data

Pine needle oil supplementation reduced body weight gain and visceral fat mass in rats treated with a high-fat diet. Total cholesterol, triglycerides, and leptin levels in plasma were also reduced. Histological findings also documented reduced fatty liver tissue or steatosis.Jeon 2013, Jeon 2006

Wound healing

Animal data

Pine needle oil counteracted dermal ear inflammation and second-degree scald paw burns in mice. The oil counteracted the tactile pain (by blocking pain transmission or activation of calcium channels by adenosine triphosphate) and soft tissue injury caused by the burn.Clark 2014


No clinical data are available to provide dosing recommendations. Pine needle oil is available commercially in many products and marketed for numerous health conditions and for aromatherapy use. Pine needle tea is also marketed as an overall panacea.

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use due to documented adverse effects.


Data are lacking concerning specific drug interactions.

Adverse Reactions

Limited clinical data are available. Topical preparations containing pine needle oil are generally well tolerated. Allergic contact dermatitis from various pine needle oil fragrance components has been documented.Nardelli 2009


Avoid use in cases of hypersensitivity to any components of pine needle oil.

Teratogenic activity of alkaloids from pine and spruce needles was confirmed in pregnant range cows.Tawara 1993, Virjamo 2014



This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

More about pine needle oil topical

Related treatment guides

Chen W, Liu Y, Li M, et al. Anti-tumor effect of α-pinene on human hepatoma cell lines through inducing G2/M cell cycle arrest. J Pharmacol Sci. 2015;127(3):332-338.25837931
Chen WQ, Xu B, Mao JW, et al. Inhibitory effects of α-pinene on hepatoma carcinoma cell proliferation. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(7):3293-3297.24815485
Clark SP, Bollag WB, Westlund KN, et al. Pine oil effects on chemical and thermal injury in mice and cultured mouse dorsal root ganglion neurons. Phytother Res. 2014;28(2):252-260.23595692
Feng S, Zeng W, Luo F, Zhao J, Yang Z, Sun Q. Antibacterial activity of organic acids in aqueous extracts from pine needles (Pinus massoniana Lamb.). Food Sci Biotechnol. 2010;19(1):35-41.
Ioannou E, Koutsaviti A, Tzakou O, Roussis V. The genus Pinus: a comparative study on the needle essential oil composition of 46 pine species [published online February 5, 2014]. Phytochem Rev.
Jeon JR, Choi JH. Pine needle extract suppresses adiposity via mediating adipogenic gene expressions of white adipose tissue in high fat diet-fed rats. Food Sci Biotechnol. 2013;22(2):465-470.
Jeon JR, Kim JY. Effects of pine needle extract on differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and obesity in high-fat diet fed rats. Biol Pharm Bull. 2006;29(10):2111-2115.17015960
Ka MH, Choi EH, Chun HS, Lee KG. Antioxidative activity of volatile extracts isolated from Angelica tenuissimae roots, peppermint leaves, pine needles, and sweet flag leaves. J Agric Food Chem. 2005;53(10):4124-4129.15884849
Kang E, Lee D, Jung Y, Shin S, Koh D, Lee Y. α-Pinene inhibits tumor invasion through downregulation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB-regulated matrix metalloproteinase-9 gene expression in MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells. Applied Biological Chemistry. 2016;59(4):511.
Kim KY, Chung HJ. Flavor compounds of pine sprout tea and pine needle tea. J Agric Food Chem. 2000;48(4):1269-1272.10775384
Kim NY, Jang MK, Lee DG, et al. Comparison of methods for proanthocyanidin extraction from pine (Pinus densiflora) needles and biological activities of the extracts. Nutr Res Pract. 2010;4(1):16-22.20198204
Krauze-Baranowska M, Mardarowicz M, Wiwart M, Pobłocka L, Dynowska M. Antifungal activity of the essential oils from some species of the genus Pinus. Z Naturforsch C. 2002;57(5-6):478-482.12132688
Kurose K, Okamura D, Yatagai M. Composition of the essential oils from the leaves of nine Pinus species and the cones of three of Pinus species. Flavour Fragr J. 2007;22:10-20.
Mitić ZS, Jovanović SČ, Zlatković BK, Nikolić BM, Stojanović GS, Marin PD. Needle terpenes as chemotaxonomic markers in Pinus: subsections Pinus and pinaster. Chem Biodivers. 2017;14(5).28165659
Nardelli A, D'Hooghe E, Drieghe J, Dooms M, Goossens A. Allergic contact dermatitis from fragrance components in specific topical pharmaceutical products in Belgium. Contact Dermatitis. 2009;60(6):303-313.19489964
Park JS, Lee GH. Volatile compounds and antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of the essential oils of the needles of Pinus densiflora and Pinus thunbergii. J Sci Food Agric. 2011;91(4):703-709.21213230
Qiu B, Jiang W, Qiu W, et al. Pine needle oil induces G2/M arrest of HepG2 cells by activating the ATM pathway. Exp Ther Med. 2018;15(2):1975-1981.29434792
Tawara JN, Blokhin A, Foderaro TA, Stermitz FR. Toxic piperidine alkaloids from Pine (Pinus) and Spruce (Picea) Trees. New structures and a biosynthetic hypothesis. J Org Chem. 1993;58:4813-4818.
Virjamo V, Julkunen-Tiitto R. Shoot development of Norway spruce (Picea abies) involves changes in piperidine alkaloids and condensed tannins. Trees. 2014;28:427-437.
Yu EJ, Kim TH, Kim KH, Lee HJ. Aroma-active compounds of Pinus densiflora (red pine) needles. Flavour Fragr J. 2004;19:532-537.
Zeng WC, Jia LR, Zhang Y, et al. Antibrowning and antimicrobial activities of the water-soluble extract from pine needles of Cedrus deodara. J Food Sci. 2011;76(2):C318-C323.21535752
Zeng WC, Zhang Z, Gao H, Jia LR, He Q. Chemical composition, antioxidant, and antimicrobial activities of essential oil from pine needle (Cedrus deodara). J Food Sci. 2012;77(7):C824-C829.22757704

Further information

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