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Turpentine? DO NOT USE AS MEDICINE — The Grow Network Community
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Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 356 ✭✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Making Herbal Medicine

Did any of you know that turpentine used to be taken internally? I thought it was just paint thinner. I'm wondering if anyone knows more about this. Sometimes the cheapest most outlandish sounding cures turn out to be the best, so I want to look into this. Is it safe? dangerous? How much do you take? How do you take it? Sounds terrible, but you never know!


  • toreytorey Posts: 2,573 admin

    Turpentine oil is one of those old remedies that should never be taken internally. The old literature that cites the use of turpentine oil or spirits of turpentine or rectified turps were written in the days when a purgative was considered a beneficial treatment for almost every illness known. And it will certainly make you purge! It is very irritating to mucous membranes. As little as 15 ml is considered a fatal dose.

    There are products out there with turpentine in them for external use (including Vicks) but it is not generally listed as one of the medicinal ingredients. It may be in some OTC rheumatic or arthritic rubs. Some people also show an allergic type reaction to topical preparations of turpentine so always do a skin patch test before using any topicals with turpentine.

    Great paint thinner and cleaner.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2020

    @Megan Venturella I also wonder if turpentine in 2020 is the same as turpentine in the 1800's and early 1900's. My wife's great grandfather and grandfather were bakers at a commercial bakery. She says when she was a child in the early 60's Twiinkies were heaven and had a shelf life of 1 day because of their ingredients (real cream, etc). By the mid 60's they ad been changed and they have been changed multiple times since then. I am sure the processing of turpentine has changed to being a very un-natural process, if it ever was to begin with.

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,573 admin

    Turpentine is distilled from pine resin. The process hasn't changed much over the years except the improvement of distillation equipment. So it might actually be more pure now that in the past.

    However, irregardless of the fact that turpentine was used as a medicinal compound, it was as toxic "back in the day" as it is now. It should never be taken internally.

  • Gail HGail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    I had a friend who tried it. I think she bought a special brand from some obscure corner of the internet. She never felt that it helped her any and I was very concerned that she was going to poison herself. It was a short lived experiment, for which I was grateful.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey Thank you for the clarification of how turpentine is made. Also thank you for your sound advice of NOT using it internally.

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