Black Spruce Essence, a sacred and medicinal plant from the boreal forest

Health Benefits of Black Spruce Oil

The black spruce is native to the boreal forest of Canada . For centuries, the Indian peoples have passed on orally from generation to generation the use of this conifer for its therapeutic virtues . It is remarkable to note that very early, these people used perfectly and with great discernment the various parts of the plant , that it is in local application, that by oral or respiratory way.

A little history

Long before black spruce came to us as an essential oil , it was used in traditional medicine by the indigenous peoples of northern America . Native Americans used both needles and cones. The Abenakis ultimately proceeded to decoctions of cones, which had the virtue of fighting against urinary tract infections . The needles were used to overcome pain and cold.

Plus, they were a good way to prevent scurvy . The resin, often chewed as a fortifier, was used in the composition of balms against wounds and burns. Antiseptic, spruce cleanses the respiratory tract . These uses are found today in the therapeutic use which is made of the essential oil of black spruce.

Hildegarde de Bingen tells us about spruce in her Book of the subtleties of divine creatures : “If an epidemic attacks the herds and ravages them, we will place in front of them fresh branches, so that they can breathe its scent; or else the herds will be led under these trees; they then start to cough and evacuate the rots. Although she uses spruce for veterinary use, it is relevant to note that it emphasizes one of the properties of spruce. Expectorant , this helps to clear the bronchi of the phlegm that clutters them.

What are the pharmacological properties of black spruce oil ?

Hormonal property:

Black spruce oil is considered a great hormon-like essential oil . It is indeed cortison-like (general and neurotonic tonic), stimulates the gonads and acts on the thyroid (action on emotions, in hyperthyroidism).

Antibacterial properties:

The essence of black spruce is known to be anti-infective, antibacterial, fungicidal as well as parasiticidal .

Anti-inflammatory property:

Stimulating the pituitary-adrenal cortex, this essence is therefore interesting in prolonged inflammatory states. Its anti-inflammatory action is explained in particular by the inhibition of lipoxygenase, the induction of IL-11 as well as by the reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Properties on the central nervous system:

Active on the ANS Ʃ +, the spruce is analgesic, central and peripheral analgesic , as well as slightly sedative , even after inhalation. It therefore induces relaxation by the vegetative nervous system .

Other properties:

  • Adaptogen
  • Antitussive, expectorant
  • Mild antispasmodic ( bornyl acetate )
  • Lymphotonic and decongestant ( alpha-pinene )
  • Anti cancer, potentiates the anti tumor activity of 5-FU on human gastric cancer cells SGC-7901 by induction of apoptosis and DNA fragmentation
  • Anti-abortion effect by immunological activity

Does black spruce gasoline require any precautions for use?

  • Avoid in combination with cortisone , risk of drug interaction
  • Do not use over a prolonged period, at the risk of resting the pituitary-adrenal axis and suffering from acute adrenal insufficiency when stopping the intake of essential oil
  • Avoid applying the essential oil in the evening (or before any rest period)
  • Not recommended for people with osteoporosis , due to the inherent risk of decalcification
  • Contraindicated in children under 7 years old
  • Pure dermocausticity, dilution required
  • Enzymatic inhibitor, risk of drug interactions ( α-pinene ), ask your pharmacist for advice
  • High dose epileptic ( bornyl acetate ), follow the prescribed doses
  • Contraindicated in people with asthma or epilepsy
  • Not recommended in the first 3 months of pregnancy
  • Prolonged use not recommended in people with asthmatic or renal respiratory disorders
  • Do not use in case of pertussis cough
  • Do not swallow, inhale, put in the bath, or diffuse
  • Cutaneous use only recommended
  • Harmful if swallowed or inhaled. High concentrations are extremely destructive to the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract, eyes and skin.
  • Black spruce essential oil by inhalation can therefore irritate the mucous membranes. In sensitive people, it can actually increase bronchospasm.


Medical bibliographic sources and clinical trials :

  • Chartier C. Red spruce, from tradition to current use. Herbal medicine
  • Garneau FX, Collin G., Gagnon H. and Pichette A., Chemical Composition of the Hydrosol and the Essential Oil of Three Different Species of the Pinaceae Family: Picea glauca (Moench) Voss., Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP, and Abies balsamea (L.) Mill., Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants, 2012
  • Legault J., Girard-Lalancette K., Dufour D. and Pichette A., Potential of Bark Extracts from Boreal Forest Conifers, Antioxidant, 2013
  • PRUNIER J., Study of adaptation at the molecular level in black spruce (Picea mariana, [Mill.] BSP), Thesis doc. Univ. Laval, Quebec, 2012
  • Michel F., Treatise on scientific and medical aromatherapy, 3rd edition – Essential oils – Foundations and prescription assistance, 2017


Clementine. M.
Naturopath – Aromatherapist / Herbalist – Phytotherapist
Consultant in Clinical Phyto-aromatherapy and Ethnomedicine

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