Essential Oil Spotlight by Reader Request!
This month when I asked what readers wanted to see in the newsletter, I was asked to do an essential oil spot light on Black Spruce (Picea mariana). Black Spruce is from the Pinaceae or Pine family. Its botanical genus name is Picea and its botanical species name is mariana. Because there are several variations within the genus that include the Engelmann, White, Blue, Red, Sitka, and a few others, knowing the botanical name is important.
The tree grows predominantly in Canada and is distilled there. When distilling for the essential oil, the needles and twigs are what is distilled – not the bark or other parts of the trunk. This is also important to note because some distillers may on occasion distill a different plant part which will result in a completely different aroma, chemistry, and even appearance.
Black Spruce has a fairly high amounts of monoterpenes that include α-Pinene, β-Pinene, Camphene, (+)-Limonene, δ-3-Carene and a few others. It can be prone to oxidization due to the combined amounts of α-Pinene, Camphene, (+)-Limonene (Tisserand & Young, 2014) so it is extremely important to store it properly.
The Black Spruce also contains a high percentage of Bornyl acetate averaging around 30-40%. This component has been found in research studies to be supportive of anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and sedative actions. These actions make it is well suited for individuals with colds and coughs!
This is a wonderful respiratory oil due to the chemical composition. It is also wonderful in tension blends to support relaxation. A drop of Black Spruce with bergamot can ease stressed muscles making it a must for massage therapists that work with clients having chronic tension concerns. This particular blend can also support uplifting the mind and spirit as a bonus!
In Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics, Peter Holmes writes that this essential oil acts primarily as a systemic neuroendocrine-immune restorative, regulator, and adaptogenic for chronic weak conditions, immune deficiencies, and imbalances.
Tisserand, R., & Young, R. (2014). Essential oil safety: A guide for health care professionals(2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.
Holmes, P. (2017). AROMATICA: A clinical guide to essential oil therapeutics. London: Jessica Kingsley.