Scots pine

Scots Pine

Pinus sylvestris


Application cutanée, massage


Voie orale

Voie respiratoire, diffusion

Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is a tree of the Pinaceae family with ochre-brown bark, that grows throughout Europe and even Syberia. 


This tree can grow to a height of forty metres and live for up to five hundred years. Its leaves are small needles grouped in pairs with a common seed at their base. The flowers are located at the base of the branches for male trees, or at their ends for female trees. The fruit are elongated cones, smaller than those of the pinaster, that open to release seeds with wings.

Humans and pine trees have a long common history: an offering table dating back to 2265 BC, exposed at the Louvre museum, mentions Cilicia pine oil, or hatet-âch. In mythology, the great goddess Cybele changed the young and handsome Phrygian Atys into a pine and, in medicine, Hippocrates prescribed pine resin against pneumonia. Arabic physicians recommended its use against "lung ulcers", an expression which may have referred to tuberculosis. As the tree is very widespread, the cure was inexpensive: in the "Edict of Maximum" (301 AD), pine resin was estimated at twenty denerii per pound, i.e. five times less than Arabian saffron. "Old wives' medicine" recommended inhaling a decoction of buds to treat cold or sinusitis and gargling it to treat laryngitis. Both poets and authors have praised the legendary beauty of pine.

Cultivation and production 

The various species of pine (Aleppo pine, Scots pine, Laricio pine, Pinaster, etc.), are widespread throughout France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Russia and America. Its main uses are carpentry, paper (pulp) and turpentine production.


Essential oil of Scots pine exhales a fine and fresh forest scent.

Extraction and yield 

Essential oil of Scots pine is obtained by total steam distillation of the needles. Yield varies, according to the altitude and age of the tree, between 0.1 and 0.2%, i.e. one to two hundred grams from one hundred kilograms of plant.

Chemical formula 

The main active constituents of essential oil of Scots pine are monoterpenes (alpha and beta-pinenes, camphor, delta-3-carene, limonene, myrcene), terpene esters (bornyl ester) and sesquiterpenes.

Main indications 

Essential oil of Scots pine is a potent respiratory antiseptic, active against bronchitis. A tonic and stimulant, it acts as a decongestant (lymphatic system and uterine-ovarian sphere) and as a cortisone-like (it has an effect similar to that of cortisone).

Related species

Mountain pine (Pinus pumilionis), pinaster (Pinus pinaster).


Excerpts from the book « Aromatherapia – Tout sur les huiles essentielles », by Isabelle Pacchioni. Aroma Thera Editions.