Holiday Season Aromas: Fir
Holiday Season Aromas: Fir

This past summer, I completed a three day distillation workshop with Ann Harman at Evening Light Lavender Farm, Spokane, Washington. I became familiar with the scent of Douglas fir during my time there, and I found much peace and tranquility among the Douglas firs found on the farm. I happily took home my distilled Douglas fir hydrosol which transported me back to those days spent on the farm every time I used it.

Of course, my hydrosol was soon used up and, yet to set up a still of my own, I purchased a huge bottle of Douglas fir hydrosol from Sandra Shuff at Positively AromaticTM this past week to refill my supplies! If you love the aroma of Christmas trees, Douglas fir might be one hydrosol (or essential oil) that you will want to invest in at this time of year! Here’s some more information on this sometimes overlooked botanical.

Douglas Fir: The Tree

Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is a member of the Pinaceae plant family. It is an evergreen conifer tree with pendulous (female) cones and dark green, or blue-green, needle-like leaves which don’t contain stomata usually found on leaves. Douglas fir is a native of western North America and it is one of the most popular choices as a Christmas tree.1

Both an essential oil and hydrosol are steam distilled from the needles.

Douglas Fir: The Essential Oil

Douglas fir essential oil has a fresh, coniferous aroma. It is a top to middle note essential oil. Like many members of the Pinaceae plant family, Douglas fir essential oil is used for respiratory problems, a cleansing room freshener, and it is popular in soaps and fragrances for men. It is often used as a disinfectant.

Cautions: Avoid use in pregnancy.

Douglas Fir: The Hydrosol

Douglas fir hydrosol has a crisp, coniferous aroma which is instantly calming to me. Personally, I don’t think it has a strong “antiseptic” aroma and it is softer than, for example, pine. There is a slight citrus (lemony) undertone which gives it an extra lift.

Use Douglas fir hydrosol for inflammatory and diuretic issues.2

Aromatic Uses of Douglas Fir

Douglas fir essential oil blends with other fir oils (although note that Douglas fir is not a “true” fir), lemon, rosemary, and other suitable top-middle note oils, especially the Lamiaceae plant family. You could blend Douglas fir hydrosol with other hydrosols, or use on its own.

If you want to create a Christmas tree aroma, or freshen up the air, spray a small amount of the hydrosol around your home. Remember to heed the usual cautions when using hydrosols this way, particularly in attention to babies and children, pets, in pregnancy, and with seniors.

Diffuse Douglas fir essential oil in your aromatherapy diffuser to create a seasonal atmosphere. Add Douglas fir essential oil to Holiday skin care gifts.

Learn More About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about essential oils and hydrosols, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!


  1. National Christmas Tree Association website, Douglas Fir, accessed December 5, 2016

  2. Harman, Ann, Harvest to Hydrosol, 2015, IAG Botanics LLC

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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