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Pine oil is an essential oil obtained by the steam distillation of stumps, needles, twigs and cones from a variety of species of pine, particularly Pinus sylvestris. As of 1995, synthetic pine oil was the "biggest single turpentine derivative." Synthetic pine oils accounted for 90% of sales as of 2000.
In alternative medicine, it is said to be used in aromatherapy, as a scent in bath oils or more commonly as a cleaning product, and as a lubricant in small and expensive clockwork instruments. It may also be used varyingly as a disinfectant, sanitizer, mircobicide / microbistat, virucide, insecticide, and a massage oil It is also used as an effective organic herbicide where its action is to modify the waxy cuticle of plants, resulting in desiccation.
Pine oil is distinguished from other products from pine, such as turpentine, the low-boiling fraction from the distillation of pine sap, and rosin, the thick tar remaining after turpentine is distilled.
Chemically, pine oil consists mainly of alpha-Terpineol or cyclic terpene alcohols. It may also contain terpene hydrocarbons, ethers, and esters. The exact composition depends on various factors, such as the variety of pine from which it is produced and the parts of the tree used.