Properly known as abies alba, fir needle is an essential oil that is harvested for use in various herbal remedies. The oil is generally clear with a slight hint of yellow, and is characterized by a thin texture, not unlike that of baby oil. Not intended for use internally, fir needle can he helpful as an ingredient in a poultice or as an herbal rub to aid in easing the symptoms of several different ailments.
In most cases, fir needle oil is extracted using a process known as steam distillation. This approach makes it possible to separate the oil from the plant without a great deal of residue. Doing so helps to preserve the natural aroma of the oil itself, which can be described as an earthy but fresh scent that has a touch of sweetness.
As an herbal remedy, fir needle oil can be used as a topical rub to help ease the pain of overworked muscles. The thin texture of the oil makes the application easier, as well as aiding in the absorption process. The properties of the fir needle oil seep into the muscles, helping them to relax and minimizing the chances for cramping. Some people report that this natural alternative to over the counter muscle rubs works just a well, and has a far more pleasant odor.
Fir needle is also recommended by herbalists as a solution for stiffness in the joints, especially rheumatism and arthritis. The oil can be applied several times a day if necessary. Along with the pleasant odor, the oil seems to have the effect of lubricating stiff joints, making it much easier to move without experiencing severe pain.
The use of fir needle oil in home remedies for the cold and flu are well known among folk medicine enthusiasts. When combined with mustard seed and other herbs, the oil can be used to make a poultice for the chest, helping to loosen congestion and make it easier to breathe. The poultice can also help with bronchitis and even sinusitis, as it helps to open nasal and bronchial passages, allowing the individual to breathe normally.
While many practitioners and advocates of fir needle oil highly recommend the use of this herbal remedy alone and with other herbs, there is a difference of opinion regarding the efficacy of the oil among practitioners of Western medicine. Some consider the oil to have more of a placebo effect, meaning that if the user believes that the remedy will help, it will have some degree of positive impact. Others see fir needle oil as something that requires more controlled testing before declaring it to be an effective tool in healthcare or deciding that it has no value at all.