Spruce (Picea mariana)

Spruce Picea mariana

Family: Pinaceae

Synonyms: Bog Spruce, Swamp Spruce, Shortleaf Black Spruce, Abies nigra, Abies mariana, Picea nigra.

Aroma: Fresh, woody, pine-like.

Colour: Colourless to pale yellow.

spruce conesPlant: Small upright evergreen coniferous tree between 5 and 15 metres tall. The dark purple cones which ripen to a red-brown are the smallest of all the spruces. They are produced in dense clusters in the upper crown and open at maturity.

Main Growing Areas: Eastern Canada and North Eastern USA.

Major Constituents: Camphene, tricyclene, borneol, borynl acetate.

Interesting snippets: Spruce was used by the Lakota Indians to enhance their communication with the Great Spirit. Native Americans made spruce beer to prevent scurvy. Various native North American Indian tribes made a string from the long roots of this tree and used it to stitch the bark of their canoes and to sew their baskets.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Needles and twigs / Steam distillation

Therapeutic actions: Respiratory conditions including bronchitis and coughs. Helpful in cases of inflamed, stiff, painful joints and tired, achy muscles.

Emotional and Spiritual: Mental exhaustion and stress. Calming and helps poor self-confidence, low morale, melancholy and a negative outlook.  She can help to overcome a sense of defeat or failure.

Robbi Zeck writes that spruce encourages a broadening and opening to a sense of spaciousness within, a way of seeing your journey through life in a brand new way. Spruce adds a depth of insight previously unknown and has the capacity to shift you from feelings of defeat to feeling refreshed and motivated.

Safety: Possible skin irritant.

Sources: Grace U-M, Aromatherapy for Practitioners. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1996)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)