Cedar trees grow in the Pacific Northwest of North America where weather is damp, and where fungus, microorganisms, and insects subject trees to destructive conditions. Trees such as the cedar tree have developed self-protective qualities that allow the tree to fend off insects, rot and temperature related stresses. That makes cedar wood very useful as home building material where humidity, temperature, and cracking are a common problem.
The two primary areas where cedar trees are harvested are in Washington State and in British Columbia, Canada. Western Red Cedar is the most preferred form of cedar and is perfect for use as home cedar siding. As a building material, it comes in different grades of quality ranging from clear or heartwood, to knotty.
Cedar wood has remarkable dimensional stability. This means the wood doesn’t change its size or dimension despite weather, humidity or temperature conditions. Many types of wood will warp when subjected to moisture, but cedar stays straight and flat which makes it perfect for house siding. Many clear cedar wood products can be stained and painted and not lose their beautiful grained appearance. Cedar siding too if painted expertly under the correct conditions, will retain the grain texture with a color that pleases the homeowner.
What is Cedarwood Essential Oil?
Cedarwood essential oil is extremely versatile, it can be used to heal the body, as well as provide emotional balance. The oil is derived from the bark of a number of trees from the same family, including the Virginian, Red, Eastern Red and Southern Red Cedar through a process known as steam distillation. These trees are native to North America, especially cold climates and high altitude areas, and can grow to reach heights over 100 ft. These evergreen trees have been known to age up to 1,000 years and feature needle-like leaves.
The Cedar is the same tree that was used by Solomon to build the Temple of Jerusalem, and the oil derived from cedar wood has been used for centuries by the Egyptians and Native Americans for both cosmetic and medical benefits. The oil gives off a sweet, deep woody scent that has been widely used in incense, perfumes and colognes.
Cedarwood oils are extracted from several members of the family Cupressaceae, which includes true cedars, junipers, and cypresses. In the US, cedarwood oil is harvested mainly from Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar or Virginia cedar), Juniperus ashei or mexicana (Texas cedar), and Thuja plicata (Western red cedar). According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Western red cedar is the least used of the three (FAO, 1995a & 1995b).
Cedarwood oil components
The composition of cedarwood oils varies depending on the source. Cedrol and thujopsene are the major components of Texas and Virginia oils; Virginia oils also contain significant quantities of ∀-cedrene (Mookherjee & Wilson, 1996). The volatile oil from Western juniper has been reported to contain 15-40% cedrol (Kurth & Ross, 1954). Methyl thujate and thujic acid are the primary ingredients found in Western red cedarwood oil (Laurel Laboratories, Inc., 2002).
Seborrhoea or Seborrhoeic Eczema is a dreadful disease that is caused by a malfunction of the sebaceous glands. This results in increased sebum production and a subsequent infection of the epidermal cells. It looks very ugly as the skin, colored white or pale yellow, starts peeling off, particularly from the scalp, eyebrows, inner ear and anywhere else with hair follicles. Cedarwood oil can be beneficial in curing this inflammatory situation and can reduce this skin peeling regularizing sebum production and treating the infection. The oil also reduces the ugly redness and obvious signs of the condition while treating it.
Cedarwood oil prevents wounds from becoming septic as well as protecting them from tetanus germs. It can safely be applied externally on wounds as an antiseptic, and it is even used as an ingredient in herbal antiseptic creams. By defending the body against toxins, the cedarwood essential oil relieves the white blood cells and immune system of the extra stress, which allows them to better protect internal functions.
Although the studies have mainly been done on animals, early human tests have been very positive in terms of cedarwood oil’s anti-inflammatory effects on arthritis. The inflammation of the joints and tissues that results in such debilitating pain or discomfort can be somewhat lessened by the inhalation or topical application of the oil on the skin.
Relieving spasms is yet another important medicinal property of Cedarwood Oil.. Nearly all types of spasms and related ailments can be relieved using this oil. This includes spasms that affect the respiratory system, intestines, muscles, heart and nerves. People that have trouble sleeping due to restless leg syndrome, respiratory seizures, asthma, and other spasmodic conditions also find relief from the soothing properties of cedarwood oil.
Cedar Wood Oil can be used as a general health tonic, since it tones the organ systems and stimulates metabolism. It tightens and tones muscles, skin, nervous system, stomach, digestive system and brain functions. It boosts the functionality of the kidney and liver, which further improves overall health and wellness.
As an astringent, Cedarwood Oil helps to cure toothaches, strengthens the grip of gums on teeth and protects them from falling out. It also tightens loose muscles and gives a feeling of firmness, fitness and youth. This property can also be used to cure diarrhea, by tightening the muscles of the digestive system and contracting those spasm-prone muscles. As an astringent, cedarwood oil is also a useful tool for protecting the skin from toxins and bacteria. Astringent substances also cause skin proteins to coagulate, where they then dry and harden, forming a protective shield on the applied area.
Its role as a diuretic is another beneficial property of Cedarwood Oil that can help cure a number of ailments including obesity, hypertension, high blood pressure, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, urinary tract infections and the accumulation of toxins in the blood. Being a diuretic, it increases the frequency of urination which serves as a medium for removal of fat, excess water and toxins like uric acid from the body. These toxins and extra water accumulated in the body are the main causes behind the above-mentioned ailments.
Those who are having obstructed and irregular menstruation can definitely benefit from using Cedarwood Oil, as it is an emmenagogue, which means it stimulates and bring about menstruation, while also regularizing the cycle. The pain and side effects like nausea, fatigue, and mood swings associated with menstruation are also relieved through the regular use of Cedarwood Oil because it can impact the hormonal function of various glands in the endocrine system.
If you are suffering from cough, cold and related congestion, you should try Cedarwood Oil to alleviate the irritation. It is an expectorant and efficiently eliminates coughs and removes phlegm from the respiratory tracts and lungs, thereby relieving congestion. It also gives relief from headaches, red and watery eyes, and other symptom of coughs and colds. A small amount of this oil can also help you get a good night’s sleep when suffering from cough and cold. By stimulating the loosening of phlegm and the coughing which will remove it, you also protect your respiratory tract and overall health from toxins and conditions that excess phlegm can cause.
Cedarwood oil has been in use as a mosquito and insect repellant for a long time. When used in vaporizers, it drives away mosquitoes, flies and other insects in a large area around the house. It is regularly sprinkled on pillows or sheets at night so mosquitoes and other similarly irritating bugs and pests are driven away while you sleep.
Its popular use as a sedative might be the most unexpected and valuable aspect of Cedarwood oil’s medicinal properties. It is an excellent sedative,and has a great soothing and calming effect on the mind, cures inflammations, itching of skin, while relieving tension and anxiety. This feature also helps in promoting healthy, restorative, and uninterrupted sleep, so it is often used by patients suffering from insomnia. In aromatherapy applications, the scent can induce the release of serotonin, which is converted into melatonin in the brain. Melatonin induces fatigue and calm, restorative sleep. For this reason, cedarwood aromatherapy is also recommended for people with chronic anxiety, stress, and depression, since it can relieve those conditions as well.
Cedarwood Oil has good fungicidal properties and may be employed to cure fungal infections, both external and internal. Specific studies have shown the inhalation of cedarwood oil to protect the body against various types of food poisoning, as well as plant, animal, and human fungal pathogens!
13.) Natural Air Freshener
Since cedarwood oil has a strong base note, it naturally eliminates / neutralizes all types of odors: pet, smoke, mildew, etc. It blends well with other oils to create a variety of scents. Try blending this oil in a diffuser with jasmine, rose, sandalwood, pine or lavender to create a customized aroma to freshen up the air in your home.
14.) Skin and Hair Benefits
This essential oil can be used in a number of ways to benefit the skin. It can relieve itching, eczema, psoriasis, treat acne and cure oily skin issues. The oil can also be used to treat dandruff and greasy hair that tends to look dull and lifeless.
- For rashes, irritated skin or fungal infections rub a few drops of the essential oil mixed with a tablespoon of carrier oil (such as sweet almond, jojoba, avocado oil, coconut oil) into the affected area every few hours. Don’t use cedarwood oil if you have any broken skin and don’t apply it to a rash that is open or oozing.
- If you have oily skin you can use it as a cleanser and toner. Blend a few drops of the essential oil with an ordinary unscented cleanser, mild liquid soap or tissue-off lotion/cream and to rebalance the skin. For acne add a few drops to a quality moisturizer and put on at night before you go to bed. You can find more information in my article How to Use Essential Oils for Healthy Skin.
- To control greasy hair or dandruff add 10 drops of essential oil for every eight ounces of shampoo in the bottle. Then shake the shampoo bottle to distribute the cedarwood oil thoroughly. Rub the cedarwood shampoo into your scalp and hair and let sit for 3-5 minutes. This process may also be used to stimulate hair follicles, and increase circulation of the scalp in order to prevent hair loss. Then rinse with water. You can find more information in my article How to Use Essential Oils for Healthy Hair.
Other Benefits: Cedarwood oil is equally beneficial in curing acne, arthritis, bronchitis, cystitis, dandruff, dermatitis, stress, kidney disorders and as a treatment against oily skin.
Cedarwood Essential Oil Uses
- Smooth skin by adding Cedarwood to your favorite lotions and skin care products.
- Place a few drops in your shampoo and conditioner for shinier-looking hair.
- Pamper yourself with an at-home scalp massage. Warm a few drops between your hands and rub into your scalp for healthy-looking hair.
- Create custom scents featuring Cedarwood on its own or as a base for your own signature scent. Try combining it with essential oils such as Tea Tree, Neroli, or Bergamot.
- Enjoy the outdoors annoyance free with Cedarwood blended with oils such as Citronella, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Myrtle, Clove, or Lemongrass.
- Diffuse after a stressful day to relax the mind and body.
- Use with a carrier oil in massage therapy.
- Add 1–2 drops to facial toner or moisturizer for added clarifying properties.
- Inhale directly or diffuse to promote healthy respiratory function.
Pregnant women should avoid using cedarwood oil. This essential oil could be an irritant for individuals with severe sensitive skin issues. It is best to do a patch test first before applying to problematic areas.
While some essential oils can be ingested or added to food, it is not safe to take cedarwood oil orally. Since it is such a strong oil, it could cause severe side effects such as vomiting, nausea, thirst or damage to the digestive system. It should not be used by individuals who have high blood pressure or certain heart conditions.