Medicinal plants A|B|C

Norway spruce (Picea abies)

Norway spruce (Picea abies)Norway spruce (Picea abies)

Free-standing spruces grow 30 to 40 meters high, in dense stands they even stretch to 60 meters. Their pointed, piercing needles sit on small stems, and the hanging cones fall to the ground as "pine cones" in the fall. The spruce was named Tree of the Year 2017 because it does not tolerate a lack of water or waterlogging. It will therefore not cope well with the expected climatic changes - Germany's most common tree species could soon become rare.

Origin and cultivation.

The spruce is native to the Alps and the higher altitudes of the low mountain ranges, and in the Black Forest it characterizes entire regions. Because it produces a high timber yield, the "bread tree of forestry" was also planted for two centuries where it does not feel very comfortable: in the plains. Here it has little resistance to storms and bark beetles. Today, spruce is usually planted together with beech and pine. As a Christmas tree, however, it is as good as extinct. Among other things, it has been replaced by the Nordmann fir, which is almost odorless, but has fewer needles and does not prick as much.


The young, bright green shoots contain high concentrations of vitamin C. However, anyone wishing to collect them for private use, for example to make a syrup from them, must first ask the forest owner or the forester. In addition to turpentine oil, resin and tannins, the leaf needles also contain the pleasantly forest-scented spruce needle oil; however, the essential oil content of the needles is only about 0.2 percent. Despite the meager yield, it is extracted commercially in a complex production process, because it has a welcome effect on coughs and colds.

Use of spruce needle oil.

Spruce needle oilSpruce needle oil
  • Almost all cold remedies contain spruce needle oil because it is expectorant, cough suppressant and antispasmodic. In addition, it has a mild antiseptic effect, promotes circulation, and is diuretic and diaphoretic. As an inhalation it facilitates expectoration and clears the nose.
  • Spruce needle oil in a bath additive has an invigorating effect and relieves mild muscle pain and rheumatic disorders. Massaged into the skin, it shows positive effects on sprains and bruises - for this reason spruce needle oil is an important ingredient of the Franzbranntwein
  • Also as a sauna infusion spruce needle oil frees the respiratory tract.
This is what you should pay attention to when using spruce needle oil.

Spruce needle oil is not suitable for small children and also for adults with asthma or whooping cough. Baths with spruce additives are not recommended in case of major skin injuries or acute skin diseases, in case of high fever as well as in case of cardiac insufficiency and severe hypertension.

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