Wood turpentine and gum spirits of turpentine are two distinct substances derived from trees that have been used for various purposes throughout history. While they both originate from different parts of the tree and share similarities in terms of their chemical composition, they possess unique characteristics and applications. Understanding the difference between these two forms of turpentine is essential for comprehending their individual uses and benefits.
Wood turpentine, also known as oil of turpentine, is obtained through the destructive distillation of pine wood. The process involves heating the wood in a closed container, resulting in the release of volatile compounds. These vapors are condensed and collected, producing wood turpentine. It is composed primarily of terpenes, such as alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, which give it a distinct odor.
Gum spirits of turpentine, on the other hand, is derived from the resin or sap of living pine trees. It is obtained by tapping the tree, which involves making a small hole in the bark and collecting the resin that exudes. The resin is then steam distilled to obtain gum spirits of turpentine. This form of turpentine contains a mixture of essential oils and resin acids, such as abietic acid.
One of the significant differences between wood turpentine and gum spirits of turpentine lies in their sources. Wood turpentine is derived from the wood of pine trees, while gum spirits of turpentine is obtained from the resinous sap of living pine trees. This distinction affects their composition and, consequently, their applications.
Wood turpentine is commonly used as a solvent in various industries, including paints, varnishes, and coatings. Its volatile nature and ability to dissolve many organic substances make it an effective thinner and cleaning agent. It is also used as a component in the production of synthetic resins and rubber. Additionally, wood turpentine has been historically used for medicinal purposes, such as an expectorant or as a component in liniments and ointments.
Gum spirits of turpentine, on the other hand, is historically known for its applications in traditional and alternative medicine although it can no longer be offered for these uses. It has historically been used as a natural remedy for various ailments, including respiratory conditions, digestive issues, and joint pain. In folk medicine, gum spirits of turpentine has been ingested in small doses or applied externally in diluted forms. However, again it is important to note that the ingestion of gum spirits of turpentine can no longer be recommended or supported by suppliers.
Furthermore, gum spirits of turpentine has found use as a solvent in certain industries, particularly in the production of perfumes and flavorings. Its distinctive fragrance and ability to blend well with other aromatic compounds make it a valuable ingredient in these applications.
In summary, wood turpentine and gum spirits of turpentine are two distinct substances derived from trees. Wood turpentine is obtained through the destructive distillation of pine wood, while gum spirits of turpentine is derived from the resinous sap of living pine trees. Wood turpentine is primarily used as a solvent and has industrial applications, while gum spirits of turpentine is often associated with historical traditional medicine and has limited industrial uses. Understanding the unique properties and applications of each type of turpentine allows for their appropriate utilization in various fields.
*Creekwood Naturals does not condone, support, nor recommend turpentine to be used in any manner inconsistent with the intended use on the label. The previous information is provided for historical purposes only.