‘Tis the season to celebrate conifer oils!

Conifer essential 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.

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.

The many uses of conifer oils

Most conifer essential 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 joint and muscle soreness. And of course, our favorite conifer oils have that familiar, soul-stirring holiday scent: a rich, foresty evergreen aroma!

Coniferous essential oils can be used to make any home feel inviting and festive during the holidays. Diffusing fir, needle, or spruce essential oils will create a warm, cozy atmosphere that promotes relaxation and comfort.


These essential oils can also be added to homemade decorations such as wreaths, garlands, and potpourri for a delightful smell that adds to the festive nature of the season. Not only do they have therapeutic benefits, but their scents can really bring out the merriment of the holidays!

Each conifer essential 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 conifer essential oils, along with recipes to help you get the benefits of each essential oil.

Balsam Fir Oil (Abies balsamea)

balsam fir essential oil

Balsam fir’s scent is fresh and woodsy with balsamic notes. It’s a classic conifer essential oil rich in a- and b-pinene, making it excellent for supporting your respiratory health. Balsam fir essential oil 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!)

  • Guard your immune system 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.

Balsam Fir Recipe:

Winter Diffuser Blend

Black Spruce Oil (Picea mariana)

black spruce essential oil

Black spruce essential oil has an evergreen aroma with a touch of warm depth. It’s one of a few conifer essential oils 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 this conifer oil around! It has grounding properties that can also calm your system after a long day of computer work.

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

Black Spruce Recipe:

Christmas Tree Aroma Spray 

Larch Tamarack Oil (Larix laricina)

larch tamarack essential oil

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 scent of coniferous essential oils. Larch tamarack is rich in both a- and b-pinene, molecules with many therapeutic properties that help protect you during cold season.

  • 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.

Larch Tamarack Recipe:

Breathing Support Inhaler

Siberian Fir Oil (Abies sibirica)

Siberian fir essential oil

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. It has a relaxing, refreshing presence that helps you let go of stress and breathe a deep sigh of relief!

  • 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 this 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.

Siberian Fir Recipe:

Purifying Conifer Diffuser Blend

Find more holiday essential oils!

Celebrate the spirit of the season by blending these incredible coniferspine oils with other holiday, different conifer essential oils—like spicy oils, citruses, and incense oils. Douglas fir essential oil (Pseudotsuga menziesii), pinyon pine oil (Pinus edulis), scotch pine essential oil (Pinus sylvestris), hemlock spruce essential oil (Tsuga canadensis), cypress essential oil (Cupressus sempervirens), and atlas cedarwood essential oil (Cedrus atlantica).

Even more holiday oils!

This list of our 24 Favorite Holiday Essential Oils will give you plenty of ideas for which essential oils to use this holiday season, and how to use them to make your holiday merry and bright!

Grab these essentials


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