Aceite de Trementina, Essence de Térébenthine, Huile de Pin, Huile de Térébenthine, Huile de Térébenthine Purifiée, Pinus australis, Pinus palustris, Pinus pinaster, Purified Turpentine Oil, Spirits of Turpentine, Térébenthine, Terebinthinae Aetheroleum, Turpentine.


Overview Information

Turpentine oil is made from the resin of certain pine trees. Turpentine oil is included in some chest rubs, such as Vicks VapoRub. When it is included in these products, it is used in very small amounts as a fragrance.

Despite serious safety concerns and a lack of evidence of benefit, some people take turpentine oil by mouth for stomach and intestinal infections, as well as for autism.

Some people apply turpentine oil to the skin for joint pain, muscle pain, nerve pain, and toothaches. It is also used to increase absorption of other medicines placed onto the skin.

People sometimes breathe the vapors of turpentine oil to reduce chest congestion, but there is no strong scientific evidence to support this use.

In foods and beverages, distilled turpentine oil is used as a flavoring ingredient.

In manufacturing, turpentine oil is used in soap and cosmetics and also as a paint solvent. It is also added to perfumes, foods, and cleaning agents as a fragrance.

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.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of turpentine oil for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Do not take turpentine oil by mouth. Turpentine oil is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. Turpentine oil can cause serious side effects, including headache, sleeplessness, coughing, bleeding in the lungs, vomiting, kidney damage, brain damage, coma, and death.

When applied to the skin: When small amounts of turpentine oil are applied to the skin, it is POSSIBLY SAFE. It might cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some people. But applying large amounts of turpentine oil to the skin is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. In some cases, applying too much turpentine oil to the skin can cause kidney or nervous system damage.

When inhaled: There isn't enough information to know if turpentine oil is safe when inhaled. Inhaling turpentine oil can cause discomfort of the throat and lungs. It can also cause spasms of the airways in some people, particularly in those with asthma and whooping cough.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: Do not let children take turpentine oil by mouth. Taking turpentine oil by mouth is LIKELY 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 applied to their skin. It's best to avoid any use of turpentine oil in children.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking turpentine oil by mouth is LIKELY UNSAFE. In addition to its potential to cause poisoning, 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.

Hypersensitivity (allergy): Don't use turpentine oil if you have an allergy to it.

Lung problems, including asthma or whooping cough: Don't inhale turpentine oil if you have asthma, whooping cough, or other lung problems, including inflammation of the lungs. It might make your condition worse.



We currently have no information for TURPENTINE OIL Interactions.



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.

View References


  • Almirall M, Montana J, Excribano E, Obach R, Berrozpe JD. Effect of d-limonene, alpha-pinene, and cineole on in vitro transdermal human skin penetration of chlorpromazine and haloperidol. Arzneimittelforschung. 1996 Jul;46(7):676-80. View abstract.
  • Cal K, Kupiec K, Sznitowska M. Effect of physicochemical properties of cyclic terpenes on their ex vivo skin absorption and elimination kinetics. J Dermatol Sci. 2006 Feb;41(2):137-42. View abstract.
  • Falk AA, Hagberg MT, Lof AE, Wigaeus-Hjelm EM, Wang ZP, et al. Uptake, distribution, and elimination of alpha-pinene in man after exposure by inhalation. Scand J Work Environ Health. 1990 Oct; 16(5):372-378. View abstract.
  • Filipsson AF. Short term inhalation exposure to turpentine: toxicokinetics and acute effects in men. Occup Environ Med. 1996 Feb;53(2):100-105. View abstract.
  • Jiang Q, Wu Y, Zhang H, et al. Development of essential oils as skin permeation enhancers: penetration enhancement effect and mechanism of action. Pharmaceutical Biol. 2017;55(1):1592-1600. View abstract.
  • Khan AJ, Akhtar RP, Faruqui ZS. Turpentine oil inhalation leading to lung necrosis and empyema in a toddler. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2006 May;22(5):355-7. View abstract.
  • NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences). Turpentine (Turpentine Oil, Wood Turpentine, Sulfate Turpentine, Sulfite Turpentine). Review of Toxicological Literature. 2002 Feb. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/testing/status/agents/ts-m030014.html
  • Prasad VG, Vivek Ch, Anand Kumar P, Ravi Kumar P, Rao GS. Turpentine oil induced inflammation decreases absorption and increases distribution of phenacetin without altering its elimination process in rats. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet 2015;40(1):23-8. View abstract.
  • Robbers JE, Tyler VE. Tyler's Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York, NY: The Haworth Herbal Press, 1999.
  • Schmidt L, Goen T. Human metabolism of alpha-pinene and metabolite kinetics after oral administration. Arch Toxicol. 2017 Feb;91(2):677-687. View abstract.
  • Treudler R, Richter G, Geier J, et al. Increase in sensitization to oil of turpentine: recent data from a multicenter study on 45,005 patients from the German-Austrian information network of departments of dermatology (IVDK). Contact Dermatitis. 2000 Feb;42(2):68-73. View abstract.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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