Old Home Remedies Using Turpentine

By Kevin Watson

Turpentine has been use as a medicine for thousands of years. It is distilled from the resin of pine trees. Today, the chemical industry uses turpentine for making varnishes, thinning oil paints and creating scents. The use of turpentine as an old home remedy also continues, but you must treat it with caution. The vapor is potentially hazardous. It can damage the lungs, central nervous system, eyes and skin. If drunk, turpentine may damage the kidneys. It is also flammable.

Turpentine is a natural product that comes from pine trees.

Cuts and Abrasions

Turpentine was once a common home remedy for treating cuts and abrasions. People would place a little turpentine on a piece of cotton wool and bind this to the wound. When the cotton wool dried out, they would add a few more drops of turpentine to it. The purpose was to keep the wound clean: Turpentine was thought to have antiseptic qualities. Skin exposed to turpentine may become irritated and swollen, however.

Breathing Problems

Although turpentine is hazardous to lungs, it was also thought to ease breathing difficulties if rubbed on to the chest and back in small quantities. This belief is still current. In Latvia, for example, you can buy turpentine at pharmacies. The turpentine comes in the form of an ointment. This makes it easier to apply and to control the dose. Other home remedy practitioners suggest adding turpentine liquid to hot water and breathing the fumes to clear nasal blockages. Please note that this practice can harm the lungs.


Pneumonia is a serious condition. Sufferers should seek professional advice. Nonetheless, there are various old home remedies that aim to treat pneumonia. One of these involves turpentine. Turpentine oil is massaged over the ribs. Meanwhile, cotton wool or a cloth is warmed in front of a fire. Once the turpentine oil has been applied, the cotton wool is wrapped around the torso. This treatment is intended to relieve the pain that pneumonia causes.


Sprains occur at different parts of the body and vary in severity. Common sprains appear in legs and arms. They lead to swelling, pain, bruising and difficulty in moving. One old home remedy for sprains requires a blend of honey, turpentine and camphor oil in equal quantities. The mix is rubbed into the sprain. Another use for turpentine to treat sprains is to blend it with an equal amount of sunflower oil and massage into the affected area.