Winter is a time that we traditionally look to trees, when flowers are in “hibernation” and don’t usually appear again until spring. Tree essential oils often get passed over in favor of some of the flower essential oils – but there are many different types of essential oils which are extracted from trees. Here’s a quick look at a five tree oils.
Black Spruce Essential Oil
Traditionally thought of as a masculine fragrance and essential oil, black spruce oil has a strong, balsamic aroma with an earthy-woody undertone. The oil is extracted from the needles of the black spruce (Picea mariana) tree. The tree is a tall, evergreen tree which is a native of many states throughout the United States and Canada, in addition to growing in European countries such as France.
Like several of the tree essential oils, black spruce essential oil is often used for respiratory problems.
Cedarwood Essential Oil
The cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) tree is an ancient tree which is native to the Atlas Mountains of Algeria. Today, there are various other species of “cedarwood” used as an essential oil but the “original” is Cedrus atlantica. The Atlas cedarwood tree is an evergreen tree that grows up to 131 feet in height; it is shaped like a pyramid, has oval cones and gray-green needles.
Cedarwood as a fragrance is also popular as a masculine aroma – although it is also grounding, given its warm, balsamic aroma. The essential oil has various therapeutic properties including uses for arthritis, respiratory and skin care issues.
Pine Essential Oil
A symbol of the Holiday season, the Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) tree is a tall tree with long, green needles and a red-brown bark. The tree is found in many countries – aside from its native Eurasia – including other parts of Europe and parts of the United States.
Another masculine aroma, scotch pine essential oil is also used for its strong antiseptic properties. Its pine aroma makes it popular in natural cleaning products – in addition to its use for other ailments such as respiratory problems, arthritis and allergies.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood (Santalum album) is an ancient tree which has a long history of use as an oil and aromatic. The sandalwood tree is a small, evergreen tree with a brown-gray trunk and small pink-purple flowers. The essential oil is distilled from the heartwood and the roots of the tree.
Sandalwood essential oil is high in price due to a number of factors; the tree has to be over 30 years old before it is ready to produce essential oil – and it is considered an endangered species. For this reason many are choosing alternative essential oils such as Santalum spicatum or Santalum paniculatum (although these are not the exact same make-up as Santalum album).
Sandalwood has a balsamic, woody aroma. It is used in mediation but is also useful for several respiratory complaints.
Silver Fir Essential Oil
Silver fir (Abies alba) is a small, coniferous tree with a silver-white bark, hence its name. It is similar to Scotch pine – and is also utilized as a Holiday tree. The essential oil has a balsamic, rich, green aroma and is used for several respiratory problems, in addition as an analgesic for muscle pain.
Learn More About Essential Oils with a Sedona Aromatherapie Course
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Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons
Penny Price Academy of Aromatherapy
Author is a certified aromatherapist