Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Pine fresh: The cultural and medical context of pine scent in relation to health – from the forest to the home

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Clare HickmanORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Pine is a familiar scent in domestic cleaning products, but how often do we relate it to its origins as an odour emanating from a tree? This article takes a sensory history approach to trace the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century use of the pine forest as a therapeutic space, via the tuberculosis sanatoria to the use of pine scent in domestic disinfectant. By focusing on pine as experienced in this period as a micro-historical subject, this methodology will in turn allow for a detailed consideration of how historical context, and in particular medical conceptions and health concerns, can influence the creation of cultural memory. By following the trajectory of pine from its place in the forest to a commercial product used in the home, this will allow for an investigation at the intersection of environmental and medical histories and provide a framework for the consideration of the relationship of place to senses associated with concepts of health and wellbeing. As interest grows in the development of more effective sensory settings, in particular within healthcare, it also highlights the importance of considering the roles both cultural and personal memory play in response to various sensory stimuli.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hickman C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Medical Humanities

Year: 2022

Volume: 48

Issue: 1

Pages: 104-113

Print publication date: 01/02/2022

Online publication date: 03/08/2021

Acceptance date: 29/06/2021

Date deposited: 05/08/2021

ISSN (print): 1468-215X

ISSN (electronic): 1473-4265

Publisher: BMJ Group


DOI: 10.1136/medhum-2020-012126

PubMed id: 34344695


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric