When we think of the common uses of turpentine, some of the first things that likely come to mind are, a paint solvent/thinner, a wood varnish, cleaner for firearms, used in oil and gas lamps, a lubricant and for many other industrial and household uses.
Turpentine is likely one of the best natural household cleaners you can use for projects such as, stain removal of ceramic bathtubs, sinks, toilets and is great cleaning product for paint brushes after painting. Also, it is a healthier and more eco-friendly choice as a solvent in paint as compared to petroleum based solvents. source
But, what are it’s medicinal and wellness benefactors?
In this report we are going to examine, what gum turpentine is, it’s history, it’s derivative source, how it is made and health/medicinal applications such as, getting rid of intestinal parasites, addressing candida infection and disease symptoms as well as ideas to confront signs and symptoms associated with kidney problems. Also, we will probe into the purported risks of using this natural wood resin derivative.
What Is 100% Pure Gum Spirits Of Turpentine?
Pure gum spirits of turpentine is a fluid substance acquired from the sap of trees(predominately pine trees) through the process of distillation where the saps are turned to resin. It is colorless, odorous, flammable, has an oily consistency, is a water-immiscible liquid and has a undesirable taste. It is most commonly extracted from the Longleaf Pine and Slash Pine, but also the Maritime Pine,Aleppo Pine and Ponderosa Pine.
Turpentine has been used as a healing remedy for thousands of years. Dating back through this span of time, the bark from pine trees would be stripped and the trunk punctured as a method of collecting the tree’s resin.
In ancient Babylon cedar resin was used as treatment for stomach problems, inflammation and ulcers.
Hippocrates “the father of medicine” (c. 460 – c. 370 BC) and other doctors of his era prescribed turpentine to their patients as a healing remedy for lung disease and gallbladder or kidney stones.
French doctors, back in the the early 1800s, prescribed turpentine for excessive mucus and bladder inflammation. The 1899 Merck manual even lists wellness applications for the use of turpentine. source
Note: Some of these older medicines have been shown to be less than practical in terms of their wellness applications. Example: during office visits, doctors use to give patients a glass of mercury water. Since then we’ve come a long way in our understanding of what mercury does to the body. source
The balm of Gilead:
There is a reference in the bible suggesting that turpentine was possibly used in the Land of Gilead. Jer. 8:22: “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?” Now, it’s highly plausible, for anyone who is scholarly or astute in their study of the bible, that Jeremiah was speaking parabolically or metaphorically asking the question, “how can the people of God, with the Law in their midst, be so sinful.” read more here
So what is the Balm of Gilead?
According to some, the word balm could be referring to a resin or gum extracted from a tree. It comes from the Hebrew word tsori or tseri meaning – “to crack (as by pressure), hence, to leak; distillation, i.e. Balsam — balm.” The tree most commonly identified is the Balsam Tree (not to be confused with the Balsam fir tree, which is a pine) and is used to make turpentine.
Medicinal Perspectives and Testimony From Proponents:
There seems to be a common thread with those who advocate for the healing wonders of turpentine which is, that you should only use 100% Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine. For example: Other brands of turpentine have other toxic additives or are sold as turpentine and are often made from petroleum products.
It is most commonly taken with sugar as It is widely claimed that, sugar is a highly effective carrier to attract and bait those unfriendly organisms thus killing them off.
Castor oil is often used and shown to be very effective.
As was mentioned at the top of this article, turpentine and the oil/resin from pine trees have been utilized as a remedy for many ailments for several millennium.
The Medicinal Virtues of Cedar Resin Turpentine:
This particular balsam is said to have applicable use for, gastrointestinal diseases, quick healing of wounds and sores, aiding in cases of colds, calming the heart and nerves, and increasing vitality. There are also claims it is great for skin care.
How it works:
When drinking this extract, it is alleged that you will have an increase in immunity due to the proliferation of phagocytes which destroy viruses, parasites, and foreign pathogens. This in turn, helps the body function more efficiently and effectively. Once there is a cleansing of all the old material that the body could not previously get rid of, the tissues begin to regenerate.
Dr. Jennifer Daniels:
Before I decided to write this post, I was brainstorming on new content that i wanted to write on. Then i started to think about some of the radio hosts who I’ve listened to over the last year or so and am fairly familiar with the subject matter they discuss as it pertains to health and wellness.
So, the first one that came to mind is Dr. Jennifer Daniels. I’ve listened to her programs off and on for the last several years and decided to look up some of her information in an effort to find an interesting topic for a post. So I came across a YouTube video where she discusses the medicinal properties of turpentine.
I had heard of using turpentine for parasite cleanses and such, from other alternative radio personalities before, but what I didn’t know, as i began to do the deep research on the subject, is that Dr. Daniels is mentioned in almost every article and video that I came across. So, suffice to say, she is likely the foremost authority, in natural/alternative medicine, on the subject of turpentine.
A quick background on Dr. Daniels:
She received her BA with honors as a graduate of Harvard University and continued her education at the University of Pennsylvania where she received her Medical Degree (MD). She also got her MBA in Health Care Administration from Wharton which was the number 1 ranked MBA program in the world in 2015 by Business Insider.
She has been teaching clients in the art of natural healing since 1985 and witnessed the power of natural healing as a Board Certified Family Practice Physician where she had been practicing medicine for 10 years.
She is no longer practicing medicine as a medical doctor since her license was suspended due to not prescribing enough drugs in favor of natural healing methods. source
Some conditions for which Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine has been demonstrated to provide favorable remedy:
This source gives mention to how, long ago, it was customary for farmers and nurses to give turpentine to children as a preventative measure against parasites such as pinworms.
There is a lot of confession from many who began taking turpentine and shortly thereafter who started finding worms in their stool and urine. This has been described as the parasites trying leave the body as they are being killed off.
This blogger (afflicted with aids) explains how he was on his second week of taking turpentine with sugar (5 days on 2 days off) and states that a huge amount of white stuff, grey stuff and worms were filling the toilet and goes on to say there was a significant boost in energy felt thereafter. He goes on to mention that he switched to a turpentine w/castor oil protocol and had many visits to the toilet the next morning, detoxing mucous, slime, grease, and some really awful smells.
In the video below a turpentine user describes the protocol he used and explains how he noticed parasites(worms) in his stool an urine.
Be forewarned when viewing this during meal time: This video is a little gross as this woman displays the parasites that she defecated after taking turpentine for a couple days.
There are protocols out there for children with autism. Heavy metals and candida are said to be common causes. However it is suggested that you look to a licensed practitioner before using turpentine as a remedy for autism. source
On Dr. Daniels contact page a question is asked, “I have come across some information by another practitioner that autism is actually cause by pathogens, mainly parasites, candida, bacteria and viruses, that are distributed of course, through vaccinations. If these pathogens are cleared from the system, the autistic child may recover fully and there has been a success rate so far. The parasites are destroyed through diet and colonic cleansing with chlorine dioxide. I was wondering if turpentine and sugar would be a much faster, easier method without all the discomfort. What is your opinion on this?”
The response from a special assistant to Dr. Daniels was, “Dr Daniels has cured children with Autism using Turpentine when Chlorine dioxide has failed. This is a tragic situation. It is not easy and does require dedicated parents.”
In the subsection below (comments/testimonials) there is testimony (4th comment down) of a father who applied a turpentine protocol that was said to be highly successful in treating his son’s autism symptoms.
Note: If your child has autism, I would highly recommend my post on FIRING UP THE FURNACE! Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency and its Roll for the Digestion of Protein and read about the work Mary Baenen at Fourfold Wellness is doing to treat autistic children.
Cold and Flu
There is an old cough remedy that seems to be forgotten called Terpin Hydrate. This was a popular cough medicine from the late 1800s til the mid 90s. Derived from natural sources such as oil of turpentine, oregano, thyme and eucalyptus, terpin hydrate served the purpose of loosening mucus and relieving coughs. However, it was banned by our friends (sarcasm added) at the FDA for lack of effectiveness. source
Note: Vicks VapoRub also has oil of turpentine listed as an “inactive ingredient” but it is also a petroleum based product. So I would ask, do you want to rub a known carcinogen around your chest and nose? According to this article from the Mayo Clinic, Vicks Vaporub doesn’t actually relieve nasal congestion. Instead it tricks your brain via the strong menthol odor, inducing you to think you are breathing through an unclogged nose.
Update (05/19/2018): On another note – The reason for this update is, that I felt it was important for the sake of perspective, that on Dr. Daniels live radio show (Sunday at 11:00 am EST) the last several weeks, she has suggested that Vicks Vaporub can be effective for a number of different eye conditions such as blurry vision, floaters, inflammation ect…
In fact, many of her callers and commenters have attested that they have had positive results with the use of Vicks Vaporub for eye/vision related and other types of topical ailments. You can hear a small excerpt here at the 22m:55s mark from a caller who briefly mentions the use of Vicks for an eye and skin issue.
Should one desire to call in to her live Sunday show she will answer a full spectrum of health questions. I believe she also broadcasts a video feed of the show on Facebook and fields questions there as well (most of which are on the subject of turpentine use).
There are scientific circles today that are giving more credence to the notion that pine tree oil may be useful in treating cancer. The oil of Terebinthine Pine, has been recognized for it’s anti-cancer fighting properties. It’s a known stimulant of both the prostate gland and uterus and also aids in the mitigation of adrenal fatigue and the balance of hormone production. Notice how the word “terabinthine” rhymes with turpentine. Well, that’s because it is turpentine.
It’s been suggested that ancient traditions have shown that turpentine pine resin has demonstrated benefits in cancers of the liver, breast, spleen, rectum, tongue, and more. source
According to this source, preparing a turpentine stupe by which, a teaspoon or tablespoon of turpentine is is added to one quart of hot water then a cloth is dipped, wrung, folded and placed on either the lower back or abdominal area can be effective for relieving kidney and bladder issues. Depending on the severity of the condition it can be on for 10 minutes to an hour. This is said to be an effective remedy for dissolving kidney stones, painful urination and other ailments. This source link provides testimony of effectiveness as well. source
The comments below are compiled from a number of different websites and YouTube videos attesting how turpentine has provided favorable results:
“Came across dr Daniels report a couple of weeks ago and ordered some gum turpentine – and then this radio show came on. Been doing the prep and went straight ahead and took a dose – just after a few minutes I can feel a lighter feeling in the liver. This is really promising and inspiring. Thank you!”
The dosages of turpentine that the father is currently using for his son is 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon turps, depending on the age of the child. Turps is taken together with castor oil(1 tspn to 1 tablespoon, also dependent on age) together with sugar or molasses or honey. The castor oil is there to help the child to achieve 3 major toilets a day in order to help clear out parasites, candida, biofilm and toxins more quickly from his system. The father has now also formed his own autistic group and we have both been helping others wanting to cure their autistic children using both the Kerri Rivera Protocol and the Turpentine Protocol. Turpentine appears to be very powerful at removing parasites, candida, other pathogens and biofilms.”
“If one is taking it for candida, the apple cider vinegar should be omitted. Vinegar is fermented and it is never a bad idea to avoid any fermented foods.
I take one teaspoon with two teaspoons of some other oil as a carrier; like coconut, olive or grape seed. Some people just mix it with honey or saturate some sugar cubes. Then follow with a large glass of pure water. I’ve had no adverse effects and many positive ones, which I’m still evaluating.” source
“My great grandfather used to give us turpentine when we were children never knew why but now I do. Thanks for the info.”
“My neighbor use to give this to her 3 kids 25 years ago and they never had a cold, or never went to the doctor. They took it every Friday and I saw her a year ago and the kids are fine and still don’t go to the doctor.”
“I’m 68 and I remember my Grandmother or Mother would give us this mixture cause she said it was good for what ails you. ALSO if we stepped on a nail and other things wrong with our feet was to pour some kerosene in a container big enough for both feet. It was used as a drawing bad stuff through your feet.! Looking at your video reminded me of having pin worms disappear. We were so healthy and we never went to a doctor. Thank you for your information.”
“my grandmother use to slip it in our oatmeal in the mornings…. I can’t ever remember being sick… I’m 55 now and have never been sick… I’m just starting back to taking this” source
“I use the sugar I use the granulated sugar 3 tablespoons in a cup with turpentine and castor oil…together and makes it taste better and it works well for me” source
Side Effects and The Skeptics Slant:
With all that has been aforementioned above about this old folk remedy and how it has been purported throughout history to have some very positive advantages in terms of preventive and wellness benefits, there are those who have reported and warn of the side effects that can arise. Also, there are those who refute any encouraging claims for the use of turpentine being used medicinally in any way. In addition, many of those who draw this conclusion claim it is completely unsafe.
In this subsection we will look at the standpoints from the other side of this matter and also cover the ill effects of improperly using turpentine.
Side Effects To Take Into Consideration:
Some of the side effects that can occur with the ingestion turpentine are, headaches, digestive problems, coughing, wheezing, dizziness and brain fog. Others have reported an increase in arthritis symptoms and diarrhea.
Here are a couple testimonials:
“On my third dosage, though, I got the measuring spoons mixed up and not thinking I used a tablespoon of gum spirits. Ended up taking more then a teaspoon but not quite the whole tablespoon. I ended up feeling a little drunk, but other then that, nothing terrible.”
“I have been using turpentine successfully for some time. Now when I take it my teeth turn a black tinge and my tongue turns the same in the middle. Also its like the cells on my tongue get a little longer. its weird and disturbing. Also, it takes about a week without turpentine for it to go away. I don’t want to stop as the results were spectacular.”
What Is Causing These Side Effects?
- One likely cause that is common with those using turpentine for the first time is what is known as a herx reaction. This is due to a heavy die-off of pathogens and a release of poisons.
- Taking too much turpentine (more than a teaspoon in a sitting in most cases)
- Poor quality of turpentine. Many suggest only using turpentine that is naturally distilled from pine resin such as, 100% pure gum spirits of turpentine.
More comments/testimonials on side effects:
“I tried this last night. I used required amount of turpentine and castor oil and nothing happened…i mean nothing…why…feel lethargic now…”
“I wouldn’t recommend turpentine to any one I had the worst experience not only shitting like water but also feeling super drunk.mess up my day.” source
“I am a nurse at a local hospital and we did have a patient who almost died after ingesting it. This video could be taken lightly ,and some could overdue it if you do not stress that taking more than a teaspoon can kill you.” source
“Turpentine is a natural substance derived from pine trees and has many industrial and household applications. However, bodily exposure to turpentine through splashes, inhalation of fumes or swallowing can lead to serious health problems.” source
“The main chemical in turpentine, alpha-pinene, is also present in the oils of rosemary and eucalyptus.—These volatile essential oils seem to have a stronger antifungal effect than kerosene, but frequent intake in high amounts can also cause some kidney damage.” source
Are The Fruitful Wonders Of Turpentine Really What They Are Cut Out To Be?
There is a writer for a website (which advocates for the interventions of modern/conventional medicine) who offers his thoughts on the use of turpentine internally. He is credentialed with an MBA and is an RPh (registered pharmacist). He recently wrote a piece on how turpentine may be natural but not safe.
He states that the active ingredients in turpentine are aromatic hydrocarbons known as terpenes and as the poison label indicates, turpentine can cause hydrocarbon poisoning and as little as a single tablespoon can be fatal to a child according to drugs.com. Though fatalities appear to be rare in adults, he mentions that, turpentine can cause severe and even fatal lung inflammation if inhaled, in addition to heart arrhythmias. He cites the CDC saying turpentine is “Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations.”
He asserts how modern medicine has made great progress in comparison to how “pre-scientific” practices are based solely on folklore and belief. In addition, he notes that this is why turpentine has been moved from the pharmacy to the hardware shelf.
The pharmacist goes on to share his perspective how turpentine has been used to treat candida which, according to him, is a fake disease. He claims that in the alternative medicine world, there is no objective evidence to back it up despite his admission that Candida is a real fungus, and Candida infections can be real.
In conclusion, this pharmacist proclaims that there is no reason to consume turpentine and multiple reasons that you shouldn’t, with the key reason being that it is a poison. In addition, he states that, being told you have a candida infection is not health advise, but rather “being marketed to.” source
Comments from other skeptics:
“only side effect is cancer. May not be for 10 years or so but you will get cancer from ingesting distillate’s of pine sap and needle’s.” source
“Taking turpentine oil by mouth can cause kidney and brain damage, coma and death.” source
Observations and Conclusions:
As I moved through the research to gather and consolidate the information for this post, as to the pros and cons of using turpentine as a medicinal remedy, I had a number of interesting takeaways from both sides.
I would say, on average, that the general consensus would be that going to the hardware store, picking up some turpentine and taking it home for the purpose of ingestion seems a little over the top. That being said, there are many who have done this and have given testimony on how they have yielded positive results via applying various protocols.
There are, however, some factors that can make for cause to be a little apprehensive about consuming turpentine as a practical method for achieving improved wellness.
One such concern is, that there is a substantial kill off of parasites. This “genocide if you will” of parasites can be potentially problematic. These parasites excrete ammonia and when they are killed off the discharge of ammonia goes up exponentially. Using simple logic, that can’t be good for the body. Although, it does make sense, as Dr. Daniels and others point out, that it is important (among other things) to to have 3 bowel movements a day, so these parasites are not in your body for a significant period of time.
There are supplements on the market, like this one, that serve the purpose of absorbing this post die off of ammonia so it can be more easily removed from the body.
Another concern is how candida (fungus) reacts to turpentine. According to Dr. Daniels, when the turpentine enters the body the candida is on alert and if it cannot find an escape out of the body it will go elsewhere in the body and cause various other issues. But again, this is why she stresses that it’s important to create an environment for body that will send these parasites and candida out the back door and to the toilet.
Also, a number of the links I have posted throughout this post and below have various different protocols and regimens on how to use turpentine. My concern with some of them is, the high frequency of use. The reason I bring this to attention is because of a comment that i found here where a women tells of her grandmother giving her 3 drops of turpentine with water to relieve a kidney infection. 30 minutes later, problem solved. 42 years later has never had another problem with her kidneys. Sound good but, not so fast. She goes on to say that her sister was taught in medical school that “allegedly” the reason the turpentine worked so well is that the Oil of Turpentine strips the renal tubular epithelial cells out of the nephrons of the kidney (like striping the lining out) and they are usually the cells that the bacteria are affecting and those cells don’t grow back.
Again, (assuming that is true) I wonder if the above condition has more to do with the frequency of using turpentine internally.
Another point to address in reference to frequency of use: This is an interesting quote to add into equation from one of the sourced links – “Candida is an organism that supports health if it is maintained at proper levels, but that wreaks havoc on the human body when an overgrowth is present.” So, i would pose the question, is it possible to reach overkill in expelling these organisms from the body (at least candida)?
Some observations regarding the doubters and mainstream medicine advocates angle on medicinal turpentine.
First, I would like to briefly analyze some of the claims from the pharmacist I cited under the subsection Are The Fruitful Wonders Of Turpentine Really What They Are Cut Out To Be?
He points out the CDC’s report on turpentine “Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH)” First of all, the charter for The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is, as it says at the top the page in the report, for “Promoting productive workplaces through safety and health research” Also, the report mentions how the tests were conducted on mice and human volunteers being exposed at durations of 1-4 hours in some cases and several hours in other cases. So my question is, are these subjects that are being “key word exposed” to concentrations at the varied PPM in enclosed spaces (i’m guessing) and breathing these concentrations for several hours in the tests? As for the adverse effects sustained in the study thereafter, how does this substantiate evidence that oral consumption will produce those results?
So the report appears to only merit credibility in terms of what the safe levels of “exposure” are and not what the toxic repercussions of drinking a small amount of turpentine will do, as this was not the premise of the study. If you work in a factory that produces turpentine, where you could be at risk for emissions like those in the study, then the results, I suggest, would have more credibility.
The pharmacist’s position alleging how “pre-scientific practices” as he calls them, are based solely folklore and belief is highly questionable (to say the least) in my estimation. So, are we to believe Hippocrates was a quack with no historical credibility?
The pharmacist goes on to state that candida is a fake disease. Although, he admits that candida is a real fungus and candida infections are real then goes on to profess that these infections are invisible to medical professionals. So candida infections are real but medical doctors can’t diagnose it and if someone outside of their purview identifies it then it’s a fake diagnosis?
Now, here’s a claim of contradiction that is borderline laughable. The pharmacist asserts that you could feel better after taking turpentine possibly, but that would have nothing to do with the turpentine. Really? That’s like saying you could drink a bottle of wine and feel drunk, but that would have nothing to do with the wine.
This is probably starting to sound like hit piece on this individual so, I will only bring up one more item before I move on. In the closing statement of his article he eludes to how being told you have a candida infection is not health advise, but rather “being marketed to.” Ok, so let me get this straight, someone following the advise from an alternative source that would suggest getting a $10 can of gum turpentine and following a protocol with some sugar or castor oil is “being marketed to”? So may I ask, where is the profit motive there?
Is it possible that those, like the good aforementioned pharmacist and the big-pharma machine, are the pot calling the kettle black here? I would submit that if there are multiple reasons not to take turpentine the biggest one from their point of view would be the fear that people would be less dependent on the the drug companies and conventional medicine due to the 100’s of billions made worldwide having their drugs patented and sold for exorbitant bucks.
One thing this pharmacist is absolutely correct about is that there is lot of snake oil remedies sold in the world of alternative medicine. The same holds true with food that is being marketed as organic. I’ve heard the profits are in the billions in the U.S alone, although big-medicine and big-pharma are still the big fish in the pond in this regard.
As for the 4 commenters in the comments from other skeptics subsection, there is one that says, “painters who work with this stuff always get cancer, my father used this all the time got cancer, painters who did portraits in the 15 and 16 century’s used to put it in their mouths and all usually died of esophagus cancer.” My first question is, how do we know it is the turpentine causing this and not the paint itself or the paint reacting with the turpentine? Second, How much did these painters put into there mouth at a time, how often and for how long?
Since I do not have a medical background and no first hand knowledge with the use of turpentine for medicinal purposes, I’m not going to offer any recommendations on whether you should or shouldn’t use turpentine medicinally. I will, however, recommend that if you do decide to do a protocol for cleansing parasites or any other reason, that you do what I urge in all my posts and that is discuss this with your doctor/practitioner first and maybe get a second opinion if you feel compelled.
One other recommendation would be, to read Dr. Daniels PDF report that contains what I believe is probably the best and most comprehensive protocol for the use of 100% gum spirits of turpentine.
Titled: The Candida Cleaner
After all the long and exhaustive research that was undertaken to complete this piece, I’m sure I have still left many stones unturned on this topic that could and maybe should have been covered. This post may require a follow-up, especially if I decide to undergo a turpentine cleansing protocol myself (which i am seriously contemplating) and will take the Diamond G Forest Products brand as it seems to be the most popular turpentine for this purpose.
Best of health to you