Ponderosa pine is the final Holiday season aroma in my trilogy of seasonal scents; past weeks have included Douglas fir and pinyon pine. Ponderosa pine is another native of the western United States and I encountered this beautiful essential oil for the first time on my visit with Clare Licher of Phibee Aromatics a couple of weeks ago. Here is a quick look at ponderosa pine.
Ponderosa Pine: The Tree
In the western United States, ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) is prevalent in mountainous regions between hardiness zones 3 – 7.1 It belongs to the Pinaceae botanical family. Ponderosa pine is an evergreen, coniferous tree which can grow to great heights. It is a monoecious tree and cones and pollination will develop at various times, depending upon location and elevation.2
Once mature, the bark of the ponderosa pine is fire-resistant. It produces several subspecies and varieties, depending upon the range of its habitat. Ponderosa pine is the official state tree of Montana and the official city tree of Spokane, Washington.
A short drive out of Sedona towards Flagstaff brings you into forests of ponderosa pine. Native Americans used the pine cones of ponderosa pine for food, the needles for tea, and the bark gum for medicine.2
Ponderosa Pine: The Essential Oil
Ponderosa pine essential oil is steam distilled from the familiar pine needles of this botanical family. It is a top note essential oil with a woody, spicy, pine-like aroma, although deeper and not as sharp as some pine species.
It contains several chemical components but the inclusion of monoterpenes makes it a good essential oil to use for respiratory problems. It is also anti-inflammatory, sedative, anti-infectious, analgesic, an immunostimulant, and tonifying. 3
Ponderosa Pine: The Hydrosol
As with pinyon pine hydrosol, Pinaceae family hydrosols are often good for “clearing” a space and dispelling negativity. They can also be used to clear the air/body of congestion. Personally, I prefer pinyon pine hydrosol to ponderosa pine hydrosol, although I do love ponderosa pine essential oil!
Use ponderosa pine hydrosol for the same uses as for the essential oil.
Aromatic Blends with Ponderosa Pine
Pinaceae botanical family members blend well with other pinaceae essential oils, citrus essential oils such as sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) and mandarin (Citrus reticulata), and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) essential oils.
As this particular essential oil has a deeper pine note than other pine essential oils, I feel that it blends well with smoky or earthy essential oils as well.
Use the hydrosol on its own, or with some of the suggested plant family members above, depending upon your purpose.
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!
Arbor Day Foundation website, Ponderosa Pine, accessed December 19, 2016
USDA North Eastern Area website: Ponderosa Pine, accessed December 19, 2016
PhiBee Aromatics website, Essential Oils: Pines, accessed December 19, 2016
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.