Black Spruce Oil: Benefits, Uses, Properties, and Side Effects
Not many are aware of black spruce oil benefits. It is a potent essential oil, which is mainly used for muscular issues. It can penetrate the skin deeply and can soothe the muscles. It is also considered to be an airborne deodorizer and decongestant.
Let’s know about black spruce oil in detail.
What Is Black Spruce Oil?
Black spruce oil is extracted from the conifer trees—particularly the ones that belong to the Pinaceae family. It has needle-like leaves. They might not look like a normal leaf, but the chemical structure of both twigs & leaves are capable of delivering excellent restorative and medicinal benefits. (1)
Black spruce oil is widely used in creams and sprays for decongesting the respiratory tracts. It helps in relaxing the mind and the body. It is a well-known traditional medicine for mind, body, and spirit. (2, 3)
Scientific Name Of Black Spruce Oil
The botanical name of black spruce is Picea mariana.
History Of Black Spruce Oil
Since ages, the trees and woods of black spruce are used for Christmas and to derive fuel. The natives of North America used to make baskets from it.
While the wood of the plant is used for making canoe paddles, its seeds can be consumed raw during emergencies. Its young shoot tips are a rich source of vitamin C and hence, can also be used as a herbal tea. The locals even used its needles and barks to prepare tea.
In the 19th century, gum pickers used to gather its resin by using poles with chisels fitted into them. However, the spruce gum must be three days old or more before it is put to use.
It is said that the best gum is obtained from the southern side. The twigs of both black and red spruce are also used in the preparation of beer. The twigs are boiled with sugar & molasses and fermented to gain good quality spruce beer. This beer is believed to be a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
The natives of North America collected the leaves and twigs of black spruce from different Canadian regions. They boiled the spiked leaves and twigs to prepare a decoction and further, used it for medicinal purposes. (4)
About the plant:
Native to North America, black spruce is widely spread across ten provinces and three Arctic territories of Canada. It extends from the northern parts of the United States, Alaska, the Great Lakes to the upper Northeastern region.
Picea mariana is a slow-growing, evergreen coniferous tree or shrub that develops in an upward direction. It has a straight trunk, a scruffy habit with narrow pointed crown of branches, whose tips are straight.
The tree is 15 – 50 feet tall and 15 – 50 cm wide. However, a few trees can grow to 98 feet in height and 60 cm wide. The bark is thin, scaly, and grayish brown.
The leaves are 6 – 15 mm long, stiff, and needle-like. They are bluish green on the upper side and paler glaucous green at the lower side. The cones are small, usually about 1.5 – 4 centimeter long and spindle-shaped.
Once it matures, it becomes red-brown with a dense cluster on the upper crown and remains the same for several years. This mode of hybridization is natural in red spruce but rare in white spruce.
Color, Consistency, and Smell Of Black Spruce Oil
- The color of black spruce oil is either transparent or pale.
- The consistency of black spruce oil is thin.
- The smell of black spruce oil is sweet and aromatic.
Properties Of Black Spruce Essential Oil
- Antibacterial – Prevents bacterial infections
- Antiviral – Highly effective against virus
- Antioxidant – Inhibits oxidation
- Antidiabetic – Treats diabetes
- Antiproliferative – Inhibits the growth of tumor cells
- Anticancerous – Effective against cancerous cells
- Disinfectant – Destroys germs
- Expectorant – Treats coughs
- Anti-arthritius – Prevents or eases arthritic symptoms
- Anti-inflammatory – Reduces pain, swelling, and redness
- Antispasmodic – Relieves spasms in the involuntary muscles
- Antiseptic – Prevents the development of disease-causing microorganisms
Chemical Compounds In Black Spruce Oil
Black spruce oil is often used in aromatherapy. The active component in it is bornyl acetate followed by alpha-pinene, camphene, Beta-pinene, and limonene.
The hydrosol from black spruce needles have abundant amounts of monoterpenes. It also has alpha-terpineol, borneol, bornyl acetate, and terpinen 4 –ol.
Health Benefits Of Black Spruce Oil
Though there are plenty of black spruce oil benefits, the most notable ones are:
1. Helps combat stress
Fear, fight, and flight are the three critical factors during an emergency response. This response is the direct impact of the hormones secreted from the adrenal glands.
The adrenal gland secretes glucocorticoid, mineralocorticoid, and testosterone through the adrenal cortex. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are secreted through the adrenal medulla.
Black spruce essential oil shows its effect on the glucocorticoid and regulates the 3F factor. However, strong research is still required to explore the activity of glucocorticoid and effect of black spruce essential oil. (7)
2. Fights against rheumatism
The black spruce essential oil has a potent ability to fight from rheumatism. Besides being a rich source of antioxidants, it is also an anti-inflammatory agent.
Terpenoids and their derivatives are found in black spruce essential oil, which helps in reducing the inflammation. However, more research is required to study more details on rheumatoid factors and black spruce essential oil. (8)
3. Soothes mind and soul
The black spruce essential oil has been used in soothing the mind and body from thousands of years. It has potent antioxidant properties, which help in scavenging the free radicals generated inside the body.
These free radicals are the primary cause of stress, and undeniably, stress is the root cause of all diseases and disorders.
Since black spruce oil is fortified with a large group of terpenoids, which are responsible for its specific earthy aroma. It helps in relaxing the mind and removing the stress and aids in meditation.
No wonder it is used by many rehabilitation and meditation centers for eliminating stress. You will be fascinated to read the fact that the saints in those days used to meditate in black spruce forests to seek salvation.
4. Protects from gum problems
Black spruce is an ancient treatment for gum problem, especially in the North American region. The resin of black spruce helps in treating gum problems like swollen gums, bleeding gums, and other amoebic infections. But note that the resin should be at least three days old before it is used for gum problems.
This is mainly due to the presence of terpenoids in it. Being an anti-inflammatory agent, it helps in reducing swelling and redness of gums. (9)
5. Regulates hyperthyroidism
Black spruce serves as a regulating factor for hyperthyroidism. Again, thanks to the terpenoids in them.
Use of this oil showed cortisone-like function, and it is helpful in regulating the disorders associated with female hormones. By controlling the female hormones, it helps regulate a healthy menstrual cycle. (10)
6. Cures respiratory problems
Black spruce essential oil is a potent anti-inflammatory property. The terpenoids present in it are helpful in sublimating the effect of bronchitis. Bronchitis is a condition where the bronchia becomes inflamed. Due to allergens, the respiratory tract swells, causing breathing issues and asthma.
The terpenoids in black spruce help in neutralizing the effect of inflammation in the respiratory tract. (11)
7. Heals skin problems
Another great benefit of black spruce is its ability to treat various skin problems like eczema and psoriasis. Since it is a rich source of terpenoids, it is widely used in beauty creams, antiseptic creams, and other ointments intended for cuts and allergies.
Even anti-aging creams are also prepared from the black spruce essential oil. It scavenges the generated free radicals in the skin and assists in tightening the facial muscles.
It is often used to cure skin dryness like eczema by moisturizing the skin deeply and neutralizing the infectious factors. This oil helps in regulating infections generated due to virus and bacteria. It inhibits microbial growth and helps treat skin problems in multiple aspects. (12)
8. Helpful in muscle ache
Black spruce essential oil is a strong antispasmodic agent, which helps in treating the muscle aches – be it a muscular injury or an infection.
The terpenoids present in black spruce heals the muscular injuries and reduces the inflammation of muscles too. By neutralizing the inflammation, it nullifies the muscular ache. (13)
9. Detoxifies the blood
The oil also works as a detoxifier or blood purifier. It purifies the blood and removes all the impurities of blood through excretion (via urine).
The leaves of black spruce plant are helpful in culminating the effect of acne on face and helps in strengthening both skin and hair.
10. Effective against infections
Black spruce has a strong capacity to fight from microorganisms. It is a potent antibacterial and antiviral agent. Being a rich source of antioxidant, it breaks the cell wall of microorganisms. When the infected cell wall is destroyed, the microorganism structure ruptures and the infected cell also dies.
What Blends With Black Spruce Oil?
Black spruce oil blends best with:
- Bay Laurel oil
- Cedarwood oil
- Chamomile German oil
- Cypress oil
- Rose Geranium oil
- Lavender oil
- Lavender Spike
- Lemon oil
- Sweet Orange oil
- Peppermint oil
- Scotch pine oil
- Rosemary oil
- Spearmint oil
- Tea Tree oil
- Thyme oil
- Yarrow oil oil
How To Use Black Spruce Oil?
This oil is widely used in aromatherapy for meditation. The oil is also used in creams and other beauty products to soothe the skin. It is also used in medicinal ointments to treat eczema and psoriasis.
The stick dipped in black spruce oil can be burnt to get the aroma required in meditation and rehabilitation centers. The tree is also used for decoration purposes during Christmas. (14)
- Massage: Mix 3-4 drops of black spruce oil with 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil and 2 drops of laurel leaf oil or rosemary oil. Apply this mixture on the body and massage with it for relaxing and moisturizing.
- Diffuser: If you prefer diffusing the oil and inhaling its vapors, it is better to mix 3 drops of black spruce oil with 2 drops of lemon oil.
- Steam: Whether is it treat your sinus or relax your muscles, a steam can do a big deed. Mix 3 drops of black spruce oil with 2 drops of chamomile, copaiba, and cedarwood oil. Add this mixture to a pot containing hot water. Inhale its vapors.
Note: Every essential oil is potent in its concentrated form. Hence, it should not be used directly on the skin. It has to be diluted with a suitable carrier oil.
Side Effects Of Black Spruce Oil
The black spruce essential oil is considered to be safe and has no side effects except for skin irritation in a few cases. However, it should be avoided in pregnancy.
It is a holistic oil, and its soothing aroma helps in relaxing both mind and body, creating a helpful environment to increase concentration in meditation rooms.