The homeopathic remedy terebinth is prepared using the oil filtered from oleoresin (turpentine) and is primarily used to treat problems of the kidney as well as the urethra. This homeopathic remedy was proved way back in the 19th century.
It may be noted that turpentine, which is also known as the oil of turpentine, spirit of turpentine and wood turpentine, is a liquid that is acquired by distilling resin collected from the trees, especially the pine trees. Turpentine is made up of terpenes (any group of unsaturated hydrocarbons), especially the mono-terpenes, beta-pinene and alpha-pinene and, hence, is occasionally called turps.
A tree related to pistachio and found in the Mediterranean region was one of the earliest sources of turpentine.
The pine trees that are vital for the production of turpentine include Aleppo Pine (botanical name Pinus halepensis), Maritime Pine (botanical name Pinus pinaster), Sumatran Pine (botanical name Pinus merkusii), Masson’s Pine (botanical name Pinus massoniana), Loblolly Pine (botanical name Pinus taeda), Longleaf Pine (botanical name Pinus palustris) and the Ponderosa Pine (botanical name Pinus ponderosa).
In effect, turpentine or the oil of turpentine that is extracted from the pine trees growing in California (California pines) like Gray Pine (botanical name Pinus sabiniana) and Ponderosa Pine (botanical name Pinus ponderosa) provide a variety of turpentine that is more or less wholesome heptane.
Turpentine is obtained as a byproduct when the Kraft process is used to chemically produce wood pulp from the timber of the pine or other coniferous trees. Very frequently turpentine is set ablaze in the mills to obtain energy. In fact, turpentine has two major industrial uses – it is used as a source of substances for organic amalgamation and also as a solvent.
As turpentine is a valuable solvent, it has several industrial uses. As a thinner, this substance is used for diluting paints that are oil based, for varnish production and in the chemical industry, it is also used as a raw material.
Nevertheless, in most industrialized nations, the use of turpentine as a solvent has now been replaced to a great extent by much inexpensive substitutes of turpentine that are extracted/ distilled from crude oil. Since turpentine possesses antiseptic attributes and is also a ‘clean fragrance’, it is often added to several cleaning as well as sanitary products.
In addition, turpentine has a long history of being used as a solvent, blended either with beeswax or with carnauba wax, with a view to produce superior quality furniture wax that was used as a protective covering over oiled wood finishes (for instance, lemon oil).
It may be noted here that Canada balsam or Canada turpentine, which is also known as balsam of fir, is also turpentine that is produced from the resin collected from the balsam fir. Similarly, the Western Larch Larix occidentalis yields Venice turpentine.
As mentioned earlier, the use of turpentine is widespread as raw material resource in the amalgamation of aromatic chemical compounds. For instance, each and every one of the commercially used linalool, camphor, geraniol and alpha-terpineol are generally made from two major chemical constituents of turpentine – alpha-pinene and beta-pinene.
These pinenes are distilled to detach as well as cleanse them. The brittle yellowish to amber hued residue, a mixture of diterpenes and triterpenes left behind following the distillation of turpentine, is sold in the market as rosin, also called colophony.
During the initial days of the 19th century, people in America occasionally burned turpentine in lamps since it was an inexpensive option to whale oil. Owing to its potent smell (a combination of turpentine and ethanol added with an illuminant known as burning fluid) turpentine was extensively used for outdoor lighting. This practice by the Americans continued for a number of decades.
Since the ancient times, people have been using distillates of turpentine as well as petroleum, including coal oil and kerosene, medicinally – particularly for external application. However, some of the medicines prepared with these distillates at home were also occasionally administered internally. The topical application of such medications was for treating wounds, abrasions as well as eliminating lice.
When these distillates were blended with animal fat, they were used as a chest rub or inhaler to heal nasal and throat problems. Even to this day, turpentine forms an important element in several current chest rubs, for instance the variety of chest rubs made by Vicks.
Medications prepared with distillates of turpentine and petroleum supposedly possessed potent antiseptic and diuretic properties and, hence, were taken internally to eliminate intestinal parasites. In addition, it also served as a cure-all or panacea like in the instance of Hamlin’s Wizard Oil.
Generally, sugar, honey and even molasses were added to these medications with a view to make them sweeter and tasty for ingestion. However, in contemporary times, physicians advise against the internal administration of such medications since they are toxic in nature to some extent.
During the ‘Age of Discovery’, turpentine was a very widespread medicine, especially among the seamen. It is interesting to note that turpentine was among the different medications carried aboard by Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet when he ventured out on his maiden circumnavigation of the earth.
Till the 20th century, turpentine was also used as an additive in inexpensive gin and the substance provided the typical juniper berry flavour to this variety of gin with no need for costlier distillation of the alcoholic beverage using fragrant berries and aromatic spices.
As aforementioned, turpentine is widely used industrially to manufacture camphor, paint solvents and synthetic pine oil. This substance produces adverse side effects when it comes in contact with the skin, is inhaled or swallowed. In effect, turpentine causes a smoldering as well as blistering sensation on the skin when it is splattered on the skin and left for some period of time.
Then again, when turpentine is inhaled, it causes breathlessness and sneezing. Swallowing turpentine results in a burning sensation in the mouth and stomach, vomiting as well as diarrhea. The toxicity of turpentine notwithstanding, it was used in conventional medicine to treat health conditions, such as vaginal discharge, sexually transmitted disease (STD) gonorrhea as well as excretion from the urinary bladder.
The oil extracted from oleoresin or turpentine is used to prepare the homeopathic remedy terebinth.
The homeopathic remedy terebinth primarily works on the mucus membranes of the kidneys and the urinary bladder. Homeopathic physicians usually prescribe this medication for treating tenderness and swelling of the kidneys and the urethra. It is also used to treat cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder) accompanied by fierce burning and drawing pains in the bladder, urethra and/ or the kidneys alongside unclear or dark urine that has a sweet odor.
This condition is related to aches in the back as well as a sensation of a narrowing and chilliness in the umbilical area. In addition, terebinth is also prescribed for treating edema (accumulation and retention of fluid in the tissues) that may be related to any kidney ailment.
Pine trees form the basis of the homeopathic remedy terebinth. These trees are found growing naturally in the cold climates of the Northern Hemisphere.