The woodsy aroma may take you back in time! To a hike in the forest with grandpa or maybe the year you went with friends to cut down a Christmas tree, the first year you lived on your own? Do you remember the tree?
If it were a Black Spruce true, you might remember that it produces the smallest egg shaped cones which are dark purple at first and change to a red brown. The needles are short and very hard, poky needles. Their needles have four sides instead of two like many spruce trees so, rolling them between your fingers is easy - what we all do when we want to intensify the aroma. The tree grows tall and thin and reaches 30-50 ft if it does not die a premature death due to its shallow root system and its propensity to grow in saturated soil and bogs.
- In 1536 the crew with Jacques Cartier got scurvy. It is said that black spruce beer is what saved them!
- Native Americans used Black Spruce for respiratory infections.
- Ojibwans used it for relief from stomach pains.
- The Potawatomi found it helpful for reducing inflammation.
- Algonquins made a salve with it.
- The Crees used it for burns and skin rashes, sore throats and toothaches.1
What we expect to be true, is that, like most other essential oils, the historical uses will be proven once studied! What we know for certain is that Black Spruce essential oil is made up of many powerful, active ingredients including alpha-pinene, camphene and beta-pinene. And we know a LOT about these...
"A wide range of pharmacological activities have been reported, including antibiotic resistance modulation, anticoagulant, antitumor, antimicrobial, antimalarial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-Leishmania (parasitic), and analgesic effects."2 (italics are mine)
"Numerous in vitro and in vivo investigations have proven the biological properties of camphene including antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and hypolipidemic activities (reduces lipids in blood serum)."3 (italics are mine)
"This review shows that pinenes comprise important compounds derived from plants EO that exhibit various biological activities, which makes them useful for various applications and uses, e.g., as fungicidal, flavors, fragrances, antiviral, and antimicrobial agents."4
"...it is clear that these terpenes have antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antiallergic properties."
With such powerful active ingredients, we all anxiously await the day a medical student, doctor or researcher spends the time and effort to thoroughly test this essential oil and publish their results!
Until then enjoy Black Spruce as you see fit!