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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 Drugs.com. Last updated on Jan 1, 2019.

Clinical Overview

Use

Medical literature documents antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal, and wound-healing pharmacological activities for pine needle oil. However, clinical studies in support of these recommendations are limited.

Dosing

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.

Contraindications

Avoid use with hypersensitivity to any of the components of pine needle oil.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Avoid use due to documented adverse effects.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Limited clinical data are available. Tolerability of a topical preparation with pine needle oil as an ingredient was excellent. Adverse effects included hypersensitivity reactions of the skin and mucous membranes as well as cough. Allergic contact dermatitis from various pine needle oil fragrance components has also been documented.

Toxicology

Information is lacking.

Scientific Family

  • Pinaceae

Botany

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 can grow to 30 m tall or more in height as sturdy trees. The evergreen needles, up to 12 cm in length, contain resin, and 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

History

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 consumption of pine needles in Korea as 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

Chemistry

Chemical analysis of pine needles from 46 pine species revealed more than 190 constituents. 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

Uses and Pharmacology

Limited clinical studies are available. However, the literature documents antibacterial,Feng 2010, Kamin 2007, Krauze-Baranowska 2002, Zeng 2011, Zeng 2012 antioxidant,Ka 2005, Park 2011 antifungal,Feng 2010, Kamin 2007, Krauze-Baranowska 2002, Zeng 2011, Zeng 2012 and wound-healingClark 2014 activities for pine needle oil.

Antibacterial and antifungal activity

In vitro data

Although gentamicin was more effective, 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.Zeng 2012 Another study documented similar antibacterial activity for food spoilage and pathogenic bacteria as well as for Micrococcus luteus and Proteus vulgaris.Feng 2010 Antifungal activity is 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

Clinical data

Pinimenthol ointment contains eucalyptus, pine needle oil, and menthol. A postmarketing observational study of 3,060 patients suffering from upper respiratory tract infections concluded that treatment with Pinimenthol ointment was well tolerated. Two other main outcome measures were incidence of adverse drug reactions and adverse events, with 10 patients reporting hypersensitivity reactions of the skin and 6 reporting cough.Kamin 2007

Other uses

Antioxidant activity

In vitro data studies found antioxidant activity for pine needle oil against H2O2-treated brain neuroblastoma cellsKa 2005 and 1,1-dihenyl-1-picryhydrazl radical scavenging activity.Park 2011

Cancer

In vitro studies showed that alpha-pinene in pine needle oil inhibited BEL-7402 cells 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(CDK1) activity.Chen 2014

Obesity

Pine needle oil supplementation significantly 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 2006, Jeon 2013

Wound healing

Pine needle oil reduced dermal ear inflammation and a second-degree scald paw burn in a mouse. 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

Dosing

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. 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.

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use due to documented adverse effects.

Interactions

Data are lacking concerning specific drug interactions.

Adverse Reactions

Limited clinical data are available. Tolerability of a topical preparation with pine needle oil as an ingredient was excellent. Adverse effects included hypersensitivity reactions of the skin and mucous membranes as well as cough.Kamin 2007 Allergic contact dermatitis from various pine needle oil fragrance components has also been documented.Nardelli 2009

Toxicology

Avoid use with hypersensitivity to any of the components of pine needle oil.

Alkaloids from pine and spruce needles have confirmed teratogenic activity in pregnant range cows.Tawara 1993, Virjamo 2014

References

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):252-60.23595692
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
Kamin W, Kieser M. Pinimenthol ointment in patients suffering from upper respiratory tract infections - a post-marketing observational study. Phytomedicine. 2007;14(12):787-791.17980566
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.
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
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

Disclaimer

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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