Turpentine - A magical substance

Turpentine.  When I speak about this fabulous little critter in my Beginner Aromatherapy classes, I’m always faced with odd looks, what… Turps? Essential oil?? Yes Turps. 

Also known as Essential oil of Turpentine, spirits of turpentine, pine tree terpenic, pine oleoresin, gum turpentine, terpenes oil or turpentine from Bordeaux.

Turpentine, is the distilled resin of several variety of living pine tree, produced in many countries around the globe.  In Australia, it can be distilled from Eucalyptus.  When you go to the hardware store, you’ll find “Mineral” Turpentine”, and “Pure Gum” Turpentine, the later is from plant matter, all be it an industrial grade, the former a toxic petrochemical.

The aroma of turpentine essential is quite a sweet, fruity, lolly like fragrance, and I find in perfumery blending, that is serves well as a top note.  In the making of space cleansing sprays, it adds a light & airy, yet powerful element to cleansing negative energy from a space, whilst uplifting the spirits of those in the area. I have many favourite essential oils, but I have to say, turpentine, certainly is one of my absolute go-tos, and still fascinates me to this day.  There are many more uses & nuances of turpentine that I am not able to go into in this space, suffice to say, there is a powerful connection to explore between turpentine, DMSO & Reishi mushrooms.

Useful in the treatment of cellulite, I discovered through my usual scientific method of N=1 just how quickly turpentine can move on stagnant blood, via dilating the capillaries, bringing fresh blood flow to every part of the body requiring it.  Cold, stagnant areas of the body, and orange peel skin quickly smooths out and warms.  That is the power of turpentine.  My research led me, to find, that turpentine baths are quite a popular thing in Russian Spas for the purpose of altering blood pressure and detoxification, depending on the method (emulsion) of use. 

The eminent doctors of antiquity, Hippocrates, Dioscoride or Galien, used the terpenic oil for its properties against lung diseases and biliary lithiasis.  Since those early times, many other eminent doctors have found a variety of purposes for which to apply the miracle of turpentine.

Modern aromatherapy describes the following properties of turpentine oil: antiparasitic, analgesic, revulsive, disinfectant, balsamic, active on bronchial secretion and pulmonary and genito-urinary tract infections, haemostatic, dissolving gallstones, diuretic, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, deworming, being an antidote for poisonings caused by phosphorus.

Moving to America and we’ll find an interesting doctor, Jennifer Daniels, telling of turpentine used as a folk remedy amongst plantation slaves.  Every 6 months or so, the poor families would use turpentine, a cheap and accessible product, as a kind of rejuvenation tonic, clearing and cleansing the body of unwanted parasites and ills.  There are modern protocols for the use of turpentine in ridding the body of stubborn parasite infestations.  I’m not recommending you do this; I’m simply pointing out turpentines multifaceted life.


How To Create A Simple Turpentine Cellulite Bath: 

Add 5ml of turpentine essential oil to 50ml of castile liquid soap.  Run the bath ensuring you keep the temperature control to as close to body temperature as possible.  Add the turpentine mix, swish and then step into the bath immersing your entire body from neck down.  Stay in the water, as long as you can.  You will feel warmth, a slight burning feel to your skin, and an increasing itch, fear not, this is your circulation, finally allowing fresh blood to reach areas of your body, long forgotten.  You will sweat, this is a great indication the turpentine bath is working! Stay in the water for as long as you can (or want).  Once you are done, step out of the bath, dry yourself, but do not rinse off (unless you must).  Put on a bath robe, and now the fun begins.  Keep moving, stretching and bouncing for as long as you need to, to avoid scratching. 

Eventually, you will feel able to sit still.  Your done, go rinse off, be sure to take in a good amount of hydration and relax.    You’ll notice that only the areas that itched and burned, were the areas of your body that felt cold, congested or had cellulite. If you feel able, repeat in a week, and you will find long lasting benefits.  As always, there are other things you can do to assist the process such as diet improvements, body brushing, drinking lots of pure water etc …

Now, the method in the spas is a little different as far as starting with less turpentine, and staying in the water for a very short time, building the strength of the essential oil, and time spent slowly over many days.  I’m not one to waste water.

BATH NOTE: A burning sensation is felt under the skin for up to an hour after the treatment, which can be quite uncomfortable.  If nervous, start smaller than what I have stated. 


Possible Uses:

SKIN & LYMPH: Skin whitening, clears cellulite, clears accumulated toxins

BLOOD: Increases circulation, may increase or decrease blood pressure (depending on ingredients added to it).

DIGESTIVE: clears constipation, energises a sluggish digestive system,

URINARY: Clears cystitis, antiseptic, diuretic.

MUSCULOSKELETAL/NERVES: Gives relief to gout, arthritic, rheumatic or neuralgic pain.

RESPIRATORY/IMMUNE: Cold & flu relief, sore throat, nasal congestion.

ENERGETICALLY:  Clearing, cleansing, uplifting, purifying.


General Safety:

Do not use on mucous membrane for persons with sensitive skin, may irritate the skin when used in bath or massage do not use at all on anyone who is known to have sensitive skin or who is susceptible to skin reactions. 

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