Essential Oil Profile: Fir (Balsam)

By Amelia E. Stone, RN


Common Name: Fir (Balsam)

Latin Binomial: Abies balsamea

Family: Pinaceae

Other Common Names: blister or balm-of-Gilead fir, eastern fir or Canada balsam

Production Method: steam distilled

Countries of Origin: Canada

Typical Constituents: b-Pinene (28.1-56.1%), δ-3-Carene (0-27.3%), Bornyl acetate (4.9-16.2%), α-Pinene (6.2-14.3%), [+]-Limonene (1.8-15.6%), b-Phellandrene (4.4-12.6%), Camphene (3.5-9.7%), α + b-Terpineol (0.6-4.5%), Thymol (0-2.9%), b-Myrcene (0.6-2.3%), Borneol (0.3-2.1%), Tricyclene (0.6-1.7%), Terpinolene (0.2-1.7%), Santene (0.3-1.4%),

Description of Oil: pale yellow to clear

Description of Plant: An evergreen conifer, 40-90 feet tall; it can live over 200 years.  It has open branches with short flat resinous leaves and cylindrical cones.  Older trees will have brown, scaly bark.

History, Folklore and Myth: Abies is from the Latin, ‘fir tree’ and balsamea from the Latin, ‘balsamlike’.

Properties and Uses: antiseptic, antiviral, decongestant, expectorant

Precautions and Contraindications: none known

Other Interesting Information: opens up the lungs, supports the immune system

References: Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

Shutes, Jade. Advanced Aromatherapy Certification Program. East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. 2014

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