Spruce (Picea abies)
We are all familiar with the spruce from the pine family. In addition to its use as a source of wood, the coniferous tree with its fresh spruce needles and the spruce needle oil it contains is also used phytotherapeutically.
The spruce needle oil contains essential oil with 20 – 45 % bornyl acetate and 1 – 8 % borneol as well as terpene compounds. In addition, flavonoids are found in the spruce needles. The essential oil drug primarily has expectorant, circulation-promoting and antimicrobial effects. For inflammations in the upper and lower respiratory tract, it is used both internally (tea infusion or inhalation) and externally by rubbing or as a full bath for muscle and nerve pain.
Resin balsams (“turpentine”) from spruces have also been used for healing purposes for thousands of years. These mixtures of tree resin and essential oils have blood circulation-promoting and germicidal properties. They are therefore used for joint inflammation and rheumatic complaints, as well as for eczema and boils to support wound healing. The essential oil, turpentine oil, can be obtained from the resin balsam by steam distillation.