Turpentine oil is made from the resin of certain pine trees. It is used as medicine.
Don’t confuse turpentine oil with gum turpentine, which is the resin.
Turpentine oil is applied to the skin for joint pain, muscle pain, nerve pain, and toothaches.
People sometimes breathe in (inhale) the vapors of turpentine oil to reduce the chest congestion that goes along with some lung diseases.
In foods and beverages, distilled turpentine oil is used as a flavoring.
In manufacturing, turpentine oil is used in soap and cosmetics and also as a paint solvent.
How does it work?
Turpentine oil, when inhaled, may help reduce congestion. When used on the skin, turpentine oil may cause warmth and redness that can help relieve pain in the tissue underneath.
Side Effects & Safety
Turpentine oil is POSSIBLY SAFE when adults use it on their skin or inhale it appropriately. When used on the skin, it can cause skin irritation. When inhaled, turpentine oil can cause spasms of the airways, particularly in people with asthma and whooping cough.
Turpentine oil is UNSAFE when taken by mouth or used over a large area of skin. Turpentine oil, when taken by mouth, can cause serious side effects including headache, sleeplessness, coughing, bleeding in the lungs, vomiting, kidney damage, brain damage, coma, and death.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Children: Do not let children take turpentine oil by mouth. It is UNSAFE. Children are particularly sensitive to the chemicals in turpentine oil, and they can die after swallowing it. There isn’t enough information to know whether turpentine oil can be safely inhaled by children or put on their skin. It’s best to avoid any use of turpentine oil in children.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE to take turpentine oil by mouth. It might cause a miscarriage. Not enough is known about the safety of putting it on the skin or inhaling it if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Lung problems, including asthma or whooping cough: Don’t inhale turpentine oil if you have a lung problem. It might make your condition worse.
The appropriate dose of turpentine oil depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for turpentine oil. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.