‘Tis the season to celebrate conifer oils!

We’ll be the first to admit that finding the perfect aromatherapy gift can be a challenge. You have a lot of options to choose from.

Conifer oils are distilled from evergreen trees, most of which keep their vibrant, verdant colors through the cold months of winter. In some parts of the world, the conifers are the only things that bring splashes of color to the otherwise dreary landscape in the winter months. Conifers are hardy, and they remind us that life persists even in harsh conditions.

Essential oils distilled from these steadfast, majestic trees offer benefits to get us through the winter months.

Most conifer oils have a lot of therapeutic uses in common. They tend to be excellent for cold season, helping us breathe clearly, and purifying our homes to reduce the threat of microbes. Some are even good for massaging sore, achy muscles and joints. And of course, conifer oils have that familiar, soul-stirring holiday scent: a rich, foresty evergreen aroma! Each conifer oil has its own “twist” on that refreshing, piney scent. Some are softer, while others are bright and almost citrusy. Here are four of our favorite evergreen holiday essential oils, along with recipes to help you get the benefits of each one.

 

Balsam Fir Oil (Abies balsamea)

Balsam fir’s scent is fresh and woodsy with balsamic notes. It’s a classic conifer oil rich in a- and b-pinene, making it excellent for supporting your breathing. Balsam fir has a refreshing, energizing presence that can keep you feeling lively and active on cold, dark days (when you might otherwise want to curl up on the couch and rest all day long!)

SHOP BALSAM FIR OIL

Use balsam fir oil to:

  • Guard your health during cold season! Balsam fir can help open the breath, and get energy flowing when you feel lethargic.
  • Help relax a sore throat (from coughing) with a balsam fir essential oil inhaler.
  • Care for muscles and joints that complain whether you’re trying to move or be still! Use a balsam fir massage oil.

 

Black Spruce Oil (Picea mariana)

Black spruce oil’s evergreen aroma has a touch of warm depth. It’s one of a few conifers that contains a high percentage of bornyl acetate—a component that can help you feel relaxed. If you struggle with holiday stress or anxious feelings, keep black spruce oil around! Bornyl acetate can also calm your system after a long day of computer work.

SHOP BLACK SPRUCE OIL

Use black spruce oil to:

  • Keep your health strong when the cold sets in! Use black spruce to keep breathing comfortably.
  • Clean surfaces with black spruce to reduce germs and protect your health (and make your room smell like a forest!)
  • Make a black spruce body oil to comfort tender areas around a minor injury, and make recovery less challenging.

 

Larch Tamarack Oil (Larix laricina)

Larch tamarack is a unique type of conifer—it’s not evergreen! It’s a deciduous tree, meaning its needles turn gold and fall off in the autumn. The tree looks skeletal during winter . . . but it’s just waiting for spring to sprout new life again! Larch’s aroma is unique, too. It has a soft, sensual twist on the familiar conifer scent. Larch tamarack is rich in both a- and b-pinene, molecules that help protect you during cold season.

SHOP LARCH TAMARACK OIL

Use larch tamarack oil to:

  • Protect your family’s immunity when something is “going around”—diffuse larch tamarack oil to fortify health and purify the air.
  • When pollen and other irritants come around, use a larch tamarack inhaler to support natural, healthy breathing.
  • Soothe tenderness brought about by spastic coughing—make a topical throat care oil with larch tamarack diluted in jojoba oil.

 

Siberian Fir Oil (Abies sibirica)

Siberian fir oil smells soft, fresh, and piney with hints of sweetness dancing through its scent. It’s similar to black spruce in that it contains bornyl acetate, a calming natural ester that makes Siberian fir especially useful for topical blends during the cold months. It’s gentle on skin while supporting strong health and soothing sore muscles and joints. Siberian fir has a relaxing, refreshing presence that helps you let go of stress and breathe a deep sigh of relief!

SHOP SIBERIAN FIR OIL

Use Siberian fir oil to:

  • Take a Siberian fir inhaler to work when co-workers are sniffling. No one will smell the essential oil but you!
  • Soften your hands with Siberian fir oil diluted in aloe vera. Great to reduce germs on the go!
  • If you’re stuck on the couch resting a sore muscle, make a recovery support blend with Siberian fir oil.

 

Find more holiday essential oils!

Celebrate the spirit of the season by blending these incredible conifers with other holiday essential oils—like spicy oils, citruses, and incense oils. This list of our 24 Favorite Holiday Essential Oils will give you plenty of ideas for which oils to use, and how to use them to make your holiday merry and bright!

FIND NEW HOLIDAY FAVORITES

Grab these essentials

References

Astani A, Reichling J, Schnitzler P (2010) Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytotherapy Research 24(5):673-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2955

Chen N, Sun G, Yuan X, Hou J, Wu Q, Soromou LW, Feng H. (2014) Inhibition of lung inflammatory responses by bornyl acetate is correlated with regulation of myeloperoxidase activity. Journal of Surgical Research 186, 436-445.

Guimarães AG, Quintans JSS, Quintans-Júnior LJ. (2013) Monoterpenes with analgesic activity – a systematic review. Phytotherapy Research 27,1-15.

Liapi C, Anifandis G, Chinou I, Kourounakis AP et al. (2008) Antinociceptive properties of 1,8-cineole and beta-pinene, from the essential oil of Eucalyptus camaldulensis leaves, in rodents. Planta Medica 74,7,789. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-990224.

Matsubara E, Fukagawa M, Okamoto T, Ohnuki K, Shimizu K, Kondo R. (2011) (-)-Bornyl acetate induces autonomic relaxation and reduces arousal level after visual display terminal work without any influences of task performance in low-dose condition. Biomedical Research 32, 151-157.

Pichette A, Larouche PL, Lebrun M, Legault J. (2006) Composition and antibacterial activity of Abies balsamea essential oil. Phytotherapy Research. 2006 May;20(5):371-3. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1863. PMID: 16619365.

Sadraei H, Asghari GR, Hajhashemi V et al. (2001) Spasmolytic activity of essential oil and various extracts of Ferula gummosa Boiss. on ileum contractions. Phytomedicine 8,370-376.

Wu X, Li X, Xiao F et al. (2004) Studies on the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect of bornyl acetate in volatile oil from Amomum villosum. Zhong Yao Cai 27, 438-439.

December 13, 2021 — Karen Williams