The historical significance of this fragrant evergreen dates back hundreds of years, and not just as a feature for celebrating the Christmas tradition. Science now suggests that their extracts might also be an effective weapon in the fight against cancer.
Research conducted several hundred years later uncovered the presence of other healing nutrients in pine needles (which is present in pine tree oil) such as flavonoids, procyanidins, and proanthocyanidins, which native peoples have been utilizing for centuries (without actually knowing these nutrients’ names) to treat conditions such as poor circulation, joint pain, and vision problems.
Today, science is looking at how pine tree oil might be useful in preventing and treating cancer. One paper published in the journal Prostate back in 2008 found that oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes, or OPCs, taken from maritime pine bark target a prostate cancer cell line known as LNCaP. Not only did the LNCaP cells cease to spread as a result of the pine, but they also ended up dying.
Another study published several years prior in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found that pine needles of the Pinus densiflora variety inhibit many of the processes by which cancer forms in the body. This same pine variety was also found to directly block the growth of a multiple cancer cell lines, including MCF-7, SNU-638, and HL-60.
Here’s what the authors of this study had to say about their findings, which they declared show that pine exhibits a strong antioxidant, antimutagenic, and antiproliferative effect on cancer cells:
“In in vivo anti-tumor studies, freeze-dried pine needle powder supplements (5%, wt/
The oil of terebinthine pine, also known as “terebinthe,” is another recognized anti-cancer elixir. It’s a stimulant both of the prostate gland and the uterus, and it also helps mitigate adrenal fatigue and balance hormone production. And if the name sounds similar to turpentine, that’s because it is: turpentine pine resin is among the most regarded anti-cancer remedies in ancient folklore, demonstrating benefits in cancers of the liver, breast, spleen, rectum, tongue, and more.
In conclusion, we demonstrated for the first time that essential oil extracted from the leaf of P. densiflora has strong anti-proliferative, anti-survival and pro-apoptotic effects on YD-8 cells and the effects are largely due to the ROS-dependent activation of caspases and Bcl-2 down-regulation. It is suggested that P. densiflora leaf essential oil has potential as an anticancer agent against human OSCC
Pine bark extract coming from Pinus maritima, or the French maritime pine tree, is a known antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulant, and neuroprotective plant compound that has also been proven to inhibit HIV attachment and cell replication.
Early studies on pine bark extract show promise in treating HIV/AIDS since it suppresses the replication of HIV cells as well. Pycnogenol(R) (PYC), or procyanidin-rich pine bark, may possibly also be antimicorbial and antiviral. It also represses Helicobacter pylori (an unwanted bacteria) growth and adherence to gastric cells.
According to one study, scientists report:
“. . .PYC inhibits not only human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) binding to host cells, but also its replication after entry in susceptible cells in vitro. Prominent biochemical alterations induced by PYC were the elevated expression of an intracellular antioxidant protein, manganese superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD), and the inhibition of phosphorylation of the ribosomal S6 protein. Interestingly, ectopic expression of Mn-SOD inhibited HIV-1 replication as well. Inhibition of HIV-1 replication associated with induced expression of Mn-SOD in cells treated with PYC suggests the potential of this natural antioxidant inducer as a new anti-HIV-1 agent.”