Arthritis is a condition of the joints that affects millions of people causing pain, swelling, inflammation, and stiffness of the joints.
It can affect any joint in the body. It leads to a limitation in the day to day tasks .
There are various types of arthritis depending on the way it affects the body, but the symptoms are mostly same.
Females and older adults are more likely to be affected by arthritis. Other factors like smoking, obesity, joint injury, infections can also play a significant role in arthritis development .
Exercise, stress reduction, weight loss, pain control with medication, diet modification are the crucial steps involved in the management of arthritis .
Essential oil use has been proven to be beneficial in the management of certain symptoms of arthritis.
Aromatherapy is a great non-medical intervention for arthritis patients . Spruce oil benefits are discussed below along with a basic description of spruce oil.
What is Spruce Essential Oil?
Spruce is a perennial tree that grows very tall with prickly needles . The spruce tree belongs to the family called Picea. There are different varieties of spruce e.g. white spruce and black spruce. These trees are native to North America .
There are over 40 different species of spruce divided based on their physical appearance and growing region .
These trees are used to produce fine quality papers .
Spruce oil is obtained from the needles of the spruce tree through the process of distillation. Steam is passed through the tree material which results in the collection of the essence of the plant in the form of oil .
Traditionally teas, brew, and beer formulated from the needles and pines of spruce were used for treating vitamin C deficiency .
The spruce tree extract was also used to prepare balms and applied to the skin to treat burns and infections .
The main chemical constituent of spruce oil is bornyl acetate. It also contains other constituents (α-pinene, camphene, limonene) that are present to a relatively lesser extent .
These chemical constituents of spruce oil are responsible for beneficial effects on arthritis or rheumatism. Let us now discuss them in detail.
Benefits of Spruce Essential Oil in Arthritis
Spruce essential oil Benefits in arthritis in several ways. The benefits are mainly due to its chemical constituents called bornyl acetate and limonene. It is known to reduce pain and inflammation. Spruce oil being an antioxidant can help in replenishing antioxidants by reducing the damage to the cells. Stress and anxiety relief is another property of spruce that can prevent depression in arthritis patients.
1. Spruce Oil Can Reduce Inflammation in Arthritis
Spruce oil contains a chemical constituent called bornyl acetate which is identified to reduce inflammation in the human cartilage cells. This effect has been proven in human cells using laboratory studies.
Inflammation in the joints requires activation of certain chemicals in the body, as well as gathering of defense cells. Bornyl acetate acts by reducing these chemicals and preventing the aggregation of defense cells thus reducing inflammation.
Another constituent called limonene present in spruce oil also aids in reducing inflammation in the joints that can lead to reduced swelling, redness and pain in arthritis.
What does this mean? Spruce oil can reduce inflammation by blocking certain chemicals in the body and preventing defense cell collection at the joints.
2. Spruce Oil can be used for Pain Relief in Arthritis
Pain in the joints is the major symptom in all types of arthritis. Managing pain is the key to all arthritis therapies. Various approaches have been proposed for pain reduction and aromatherapy is one such therapy.
Pain in arthritis can be due to inflammation of the joints.
The beneficial properties of spruce oil in reducing inflammation can contribute to reducing the pain too.
Pain relieving effect of spruce oil has also been highlighted through animal studies.
Spruce oil contains limonene which is known to reduce pain by blocking the pain signals from reaching the brain. This property is extremely beneficial in decreasing inflammation-related pain.
Nevertheless, more research studies on spruce oil in arthritis patients is necessary to prove compelling benefits.
What does this mean? Spruce can also aid in pain relief by interfering with the pain reception and reducing inflammation. However, more strong research in arthritis patients is required to establish this effect.
3. Spruce Oil Detoxifies Increased Toxins in Arthritis Patients
General biochemical processes in the body lead to the production of toxins that can harm the cells. Antioxidants are agents that reduce these toxins in the body and prevent the damage to cells.
In arthritis patients these antioxidant contents are known to be reduced, thus demanding higher requirement of antioxidants.
A detailed study of the constituents of the spruce tree revealed its potent antioxidant properties.
Due to its antioxidant effect, it has been proposed for medicinal use and in food preparations.
Limonene, a chemical constituent from spruce oil increases the action of enzymes that remove toxins from the body thus exerting the antioxidant benefits much needed by arthritis patients.
Animal studies have also reported the potency of limonene as an antioxidant.
What does this mean? Detoxification of the body is necessary for arthritis patients. Spruce oil is one of the natural antioxidants that can reduce damage caused to the cells by toxins.
4. Spruce Oil Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Arthritis Patients
Arthritis can lead to stress and anxiety. Some patients may suffer from depression even, Therefore, it is important for arthritis sufferer to relax and relieve stress.
Aromatherapy can have positive effects on anxiety and stress afflicted individuals.
There is increasing evidence to state that the constituents in spruce oil can bring about relaxation and alertness of mind.
Bornyl acetate has been traditionally used to relieve anxiety.
Limonene has been proven for its stress reducing properties.
This implicates that combined effect of these can lead to stress and anxiety relief with the use of spruce oil.
What does this mean? Spruce oil contains chemicals called bornyl acetate and limonene which can benefit in arthritis by reducing stress and anxiety. It can also reduce depression.
How to Use Spruce Essential Oil - Dosage
Topical application can be done by diluting 15-30 drops of oil 1 ounce of carrier oil and apply to the skin surface. It can also be combined with other essential oils.
Always use the essential oil of therapeutic grade essential oils and strictly follow dilution procedure from the manufacturer if available.
For relaxation add a few drops of spruce oil into a hot bath and soak for at least 10 minutes.
Or add few drops of diluted oil to a diffuser and let it diffuse throughout the room.
Teas prepared from spruce pines and cones can be used for oral ingestion to provide antioxidant benefits.
Spruce oil use has not been noted to cause any side effects in normal doses. However, it can cause irritation of the skin and mucous membrane if it is used undiluted.
Always test the oil on a patch of skin before application. If irritation occurs do not use the oil. Do not use any essential oil undiluted, always dilute as per the manufacturer instruction.
As not many studies are available on the oral intake of spruce oil, the exact dosing of spruce oil and use in different disease conditions could not be ascertained. Therefore, physician advice is necessary prior to oral ingestion.
Spruce is a coniferous perennial tree that is native to North America. Spruce oil is obtained from the pines and cones of the spruce tree.
Spruce oil, traditionally used for its benefits from vitamin deficiency, skin burns, wounds, and infections, has now been identified with various properties that can benefit arthritis patients.
Spruce oil can reduce pain and inflammation by interfering with their pathways in the body. It is also known to be a good antioxidant that detoxifies the body by replenishing antioxidants.
Scientific data also confirms the benefits of spruce oil in reducing anxiety and stress that can avoid depression in arthritis patients.
The benefits of spruce in arthritis need to be further consolidated by research in arthritis patients. I
nformation on the exact dosing and the safety profile in long-term use remains hazy. Nevertheless, the proposed benefits from research so far seem to be convincing.