Essential Oil Profile: Fir (Silver)

By Amelia E. Stone, RN


Common Name: Fir (Silver)

Latin Binomial: Abies alba

Family: Pinaceae

Other Common Names: white fir, silver spruce, templin

Production Method: steam distilled

Countries of Origin: Austria

Typical Constituents: [+]-Limonene (28.5- 34.1%), α-Pinene (18.0-31.7%), b-Pinene (3.0-22.5%), Bornyl acetate (1.3-12.5%), Camphene (5.8-8.0%), ρ-Cymene (0.1-7.5%), b-Caryophyllene (0.1- 4.2%),                 b-Himachalene (0-2.6%), α- Caryophyllene (0-2.0%), Borneol (0.2-1.5%), b-Myrcene (0-1.0%)

Description of Oil: Fir oil is colorless to pale yellow with a rich balsamic, sweet and pleasant coniferous fragrance.

Description of Plant: A relatively small coniferous tree with leathery, herring-bone branches bearing cones.

History, Folklore and Myth: Used by North American Indians for medicinal and religious purposes.  Mainly used for respiratory complaints, fever, muscular and rheumatic pain.

Properties and Uses: analgesic, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antiseptic, decongestant, restorative

Precautions and Contraindications: May irritate sensitive skin

Other Interesting Information: The resin from the tree called “Strasburg turpentine” is used in perfumery, medicine and for caulking ships.  The residue, known as ‘rosin oil’, is used in making varnishes, lacquers and carbon black.  The resin is tapped from 60-80 year old trees.

References: Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Lawless, Julia. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Shaftesbury, Dorset. Element Books. 1995.

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

Sellar, Wanda. The Directory of Essential Oils. London: Random House. 2005

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

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