Siberian fir is one of the most beautiful conifer trees. It is often called “the tree of health”. Russia has nine fir species, with five species growing in the Far East, two species in the Eastern and Western Siberia, one species in the Central part, and one in each Karelia and the Northwestern Region.
The tree is highly valued for the resin and essential oil, which content in the needles and bark of all fir species is many times higher than in the spruce, pine, cedar or other ester-rich conifers. All fir species differ depending on the soil, air temperature or area where the tree grows. For example, in Mari El the soil has a high content of sand, which influences the fragrance of the essential oil. Unlike it, the black soil of Siberia influences the strength of fragrance.
The resin, or oleoresin, is harvested by tapping. The oleoresin is used to prepare a fir balm widely used in medicine. It is also an ingredient of many medicines and is used in the beauty industry and shampoo production. Natural oleoresin is a strong antiseptic, it is a good substitute for some contemporary antibiotics as it has a strong antimicrobial and antiviral effect.
The essential oil is produced by steam distillation from small fir twigs, new shoots of about 30 cm long. A tonne of fir twigs gives 10 to 30 kg of the essential oil. Its quality depends on the distillation equipment, the quality of twigs and the season. Fir twigs are used to produce ascorbic acid, fodder sugar and fodder yeast. Fir twigs contain up to 4.75% of the essential oil, while needles and small branches 3.27%.
The key property of the essential oil offered for sale is the bornyl acetate content. Oil with 31% to 33% bornyl acetate content is premium grade oil. For the sauna, however, the pleasant fir aroma is more valuable than the bornyl acetate content. Minimum permissible bornyl acetate content in the essential fir oil that we sell through retail chains is 16%-20%.