Autor: Pharm. Sabine Klein

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Asociación Cordobesa de Farmacéuticos Homeopáticos
Entidad sin fines de lucro - Non-profit organization

In Search of the True Terebinthina

Top  Composition

Taking into account the different origins and manufacturing procedures, it is obvious that we shall obtain turpentines with distinct chemical compositions.

The oleoresin from the Pinus family consists mostly of the volatil oil and the resin. The distillation separates those two components. The resin remains in the residue and the turpentine oil which passes into the distillate consists almost exclusively of the ethereal oil.
It is a transparent, colourless liquid, very fluid, with a very strong and penetrating odour and an acre taste.

The resin (called Colophonium) contains up to 90% of gum acids.

The Larch turpentine used nowadays, on the other hand, contains the whole oleoresin (without distillation) and consists of only 15 to 20% of ethereal oil and approx. 50 to 65% of gum acids and 15% of laricoresen (larch resenes). It is a viscous (sticky), yellow or brown, transparent or lightly opalescent resin.

The volatil oil is composed by aprox. 70% of alfa-Pinen, 6,5% of beta-Pinen, 3% of alfa-Pyronen, 10% of Car-3-en, Borneol, Bornylacetate, Dipente, Guaiacol, Linolen and Terpinolen.

The Chios turpentine is the entire crude oleoresin of the Pistacia Terebinthus, without distillation and with only 9 to 14% of ethereal oil, composed of Borneol, Bornylacetate, Dipenten and alfa-Pinen.
It is brown, with greenish reflection and with a rather solid consistency.

The Alsatic turpentine is also the entire crude oleoresin of the Abies alba and contains 28 to 32% of turpentine oil.
It has the aspect of a clear syrup, transparent, and with a sediment of small cristals.
The composition of the oil is 39% alfa-Pinen, 3% beta-Pinen, 4,5% delta-Caren and 35% of Limonen.

Not only does the preparation (with or without distillation) determine the concentration of the volatil oil and its composition in our different turpentines, within the different species of Pinus we also find different compositions of the volatil oil.
This differences reside principally in the concentration of the alfa- and beta-Pinen, Limonen and Caren, but also in their rotating power: the turpentine oil from Pinus palustris is dextrorotary, while the turpentine oil from the Pinus pinaster is levorotary.

Despite of all those differences, all the turpentines cause similar pharmacological effects like stated by the common medical or pharmaceutical literature which is connected with clinical indications according the rules of clinical pharmacology. But there is no evidence, whether the stated clinical similarity ensures the identity of the homoeopathic symptoms of the drug pictures of the differents terebinthinas or not.
Considering, that the homoeopathic approach to investigate the "pure language of nature" (Hahnemann) to evaluate the symptoms is much more sensitive than the common clinical approach, we have to assume that the different terebinthinas cause more or less different symptoms.

So as pharmacists, our next step is to go to the pharmacopoeias, where we will find the information about the preparation of our homoeopathic remedy.


(c) ACFaH 1998- Sabine Klein