• 40 Thuja Essential Oil Uses and Benefits That Will Shock You

    Thuja Essential Oil

    What is Thuja Essential Oil?

    Thuja is a genus of five hardy, evergreen coniferous trees and shrubs native to North America and Canada (T. occidentalis, white cedar, and T. plicata, Western red cedar), Japan (T. standishiz), China (T. orientalis) and Korea (T. koraiensis). The white cedar was the first American tree to be grown in France: it was introduced in 1526 from Canada and grew in the royal gardens at Fontainebleau.

    Thuja Essential Oil Leaves

    The trees are cypress-like, and most are small and slow growing with the exception of the Western red cedar. The scale-like leaves are pressed closely to the stem, the flowers – both male and female on the same tree – are small and terminal and the cones are small with scales and winged seeds. The foliage of all types, excepting only T. orientalis, are strongly aromatic, exuding an odour without being crushed and noticeable from several yards away.

    The name thuja (or thuya in French) is a Latinized form of a Greek word meaning to fumigate, or thuo to sacrifice. Theophrastus described how trees of the genus were grown in ancient times in Cyrene near the temple of jupiter-Ammon, and parts were burned in religious ceremonies to venerate the gods. The bark was often used to sculpt religious objects and statues. Another name for the tree is arbor-vitae, tree of life.

    Indigenous to northeastern parts of North America, Thuja essential oil is claimed to be first used by the American Indians for treating insomnia, gout, cold, dandruff and eczema. The leaves were also used in preparing a decoction for treating cold, congestion, uterine carcinomas, intestinal parasites, cystitis, fever, headache and stomach pain.

    It’s currently only sourced in Vancouver, Canada in a highly manage and sustainable way, and by a passionate environmentalist, Nathan Janz, the only distiller in the world to produce this oil. It’s actually steam distilled from the sawdust previously left behind from the sawmill industry, and once the oils are extracted the remaining pulp then gets sent to paper manufacturers to be recycled again. Even the water used in the process is purified and reused.

    Samuel Hahnemann (1755 -1843), the father of homoeopathy, introduced the plant’s medicinal properties to Europe, where it was used as a tincture. In Germany in 1875, doctors Mohnike and Brecher wrote a paper about the remarkable healing powers of thuja, particularly in cases of skin excrescences and tumours. They noted how quickly the skin repaired and healed itself after a twice-daily application of the tincture; the skin became pale and dry, inflammation reduced, and the tumours disappeared. Later, Dr Leclerc prescribed it for warts, skin abnormalities and as a stimulant of the urinary system because of the stimulant constituents (a-pinene, fenone and d-thujone).

    According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of thuja essential oil include:

    • Antibacterial
    • Antifungal
    • Antiseptic
    • Anticancer
    • Antitumor
    • Astringent
    • Expectorant
    • Insect Repellent (Highly)
    • Stimulant

    Thuja Essential Oil

    It’s mostly used for respiratory health, emotional balance, and skin, although new research shows its potential for immune support in a variety of ways.

    Emotionally, thuja has been used for centuries by Natives to promote grounding, calming, and spiritual trust. Like all tree oils, it can help us stand strong and stable. It also helps those of us who feel like everything is or has to be a struggle, or that we must do things ourselves without help (hmm, maybe that’s why I didn’t care for the aroma!). It can help a person process through control issues, rigidity, trust, fighting with reality, courage, and more.

    It’s important to get the correct variety of thuja essential oil, as other variety are high in thujone, which can be toxic in high doses. Thuja plicata contains 0% thujone, and is really the only thuja you should use.

    Benefit of Thuja Essential Oil

    The health benefits of Thuja Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an anti-rheumatic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, insect repellent, rubefacient, stimulant, tonic and vermifuge substance.

    Thuja is well known and is very popular as a decorative plant. This does not mean that it is in any way less popular in the world of medicines. Thuja has a significant place in herbal and Homeopathic systems of medicine. There is even a medicine simply called Thuja in Homeopathy. Thuja can be readily found in parks, domestic gardens, and in most other places where people try to decorate their surroundings with decorative plants.

    Thuja Essential Oil Leaves

    The scientific name of Thuja is Thuja Occidentalis and it is basically a coniferous tree, while normally not very tall. Crushed Thuja leaves emit a pleasant smell which is somewhat like that of crushed Eucalyptus leaves, but sweeter. This smell comes from some of the components of its essential oil, predominantly some variants of thujone. The chief constituents of this oil are alpha pinene, alpha thujone, beta thujone, bornyl acetate, camphene, camphone, delta sabinene, fenchone and terpinenol. This essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of its leaves and branches.

    Its smell may be very pleasant, but it is important to note that one should avoid excess inhalation of it, since it can produce irritation in the respiratory tract as well as nervous afflictions, since it is made of neurotoxic compounds. More about these effects will be covered along with the other medicinal properties of thuja in the section below.

    1. Anti-rheumatic

    Thuja Essential Oil as Anti Rheumatic

    There are to two main reasons responsible for rheumatism. First, the deposition of uric acid in the muscles and joints, and second, an improper and obstructed circulation of blood and lymph. For these causes, some properties of the essential oil of Thuja may prove beneficial. First and foremost, it is a detoxifier by virtue of the diuretic properties that it possesses. Due to its diuretic property, it increases urination and thus speeds up the removal of the toxic and unwanted substances in the body such as excess water, salts and uric acid through the urine. The second contributor is its stimulant property. Being a stimulant, it stimulates the flow of blood and lymph, otherwise known as an improvement of circulation. This brings warmth to the affected places and inhibits uric acid from accumulating at those places. Combined together, these properties give relief from rheumatism, arthritis and gout.

    1. Astringent

    An astringent is a substance which can make muscles (tissues), nerves and even blood vessels contract or shrink, and can sometimes have a cooling effect. Astringents that are meant for external applications induce local contractions. One such example is the fluorides and other compounds used in toothpastes. To have this effect of contraction on all the organs (internal or external) of the body, the astringent needs to be ingested so that it mixes with the blood stream and reaches all parts of the body. Most of those astringents are herbal products, just like the essential oil of Thuja. Now, what happens when it is ingested? It mixes with the blood and induces contractions in the gums, muscles, skin, and at the roots of hair which strengthens hold of gums on teeth, makes muscles firm and gives a lift to the skin, prevents hair loss and makes you feel fit and younger. Furthermore, it makes the blood vessels to contract, which can slow down or stop hemorrhaging from torn or cut vessels.

    1. Diuretic

    Its diuretic property makes this oil a detoxifier. It increases the frequency and quantity of urination. This helps keep the body healthy and free of diseases as it removes unwanted water, salts and toxins like uric acid, fats, pollutants and even microbes from the body. It helps cure diseases like rheumatism, arthritis, boils, moles, and acne, which are caused by the accumulation of these toxins. It also helps reduce weight by removing water and fat and helps get rid of problems like swelling and edema. Furthermore, the calcium and other depositions in the kidneys and urinary bladder are washed away with the urine. This prevents the formation of stones and renal calculi.

    1. Emmenagogue

    Thuja Essential Oil as Emmenagogue

    This property is very helpful for women. It gives them relief from obstructed menses as well as from the abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, and fatigue associated with periods. It also makes periods regular and keeps the female reproductive organs in good health by promoting the secretion of certain hormones like estrogen and progesterone.

    1. Expectorant

    One needs an expectorant for expelling phlegm and catarrh deposited in the respiratory tracts and lungs. This essential oil is an expectorant. It gives you a clear, decongested chest, helps you breathe easily, clears out mucus and phlegm, and gives relief from coughs.

    1. Insect Repellant

    The toxicity of this oil can kill insects and keeps them away from households or areas where it is applied. This is as true for parasitic insects like mosquitoes, lice, ticks, fleas, and bed bugs as it is for other insects found in households like cockroaches, ants, white ants, and moths. This oil can replace those costly, synthetic chemicals in mosquito and cockroach repellant sprays, fumigants, and vaporizers.

    1. Rubefacient

    This is another outcome of the irritant property of this oil, which again comes from its stimulating properties. This oil produces very mild irritation on the skin and stimulates the circulation of blood below the skin, which, when added together, makes the skin look red. Since it is more visible on the face, this property is called a rubefacient, meaning “Red Face”, property. Besides making you look more vibrant, this also helps in the regeneration and rejuvenation of the skin due to increased circulation of blood.

    1. Stimulant

    Thuja Essential Oil as Stimulant

    Besides stimulating blood circulation, it stimulates the secretion of hormones, enzymes, gastric juices, acids, and bile, as well as stimulating peristaltic motion, and the nerves, heart, and brain. Furthermore, it stimulates the regeneration of growth cells, erythrocytes, leucocytes and platelets. This means that it stimulates the whole body, which leads to more activity, alertness and a faster metabolism, which results in better growth and protection against diseases.

    1. Vermifuge

    The toxicity of Thuja essential oil, due to the presence of Thujone, kills worms that may have infected the body. It can eliminate worms like round worms, tape worms and hook worms that can result in a number of uncomfortable and dangerous health conditions.

    1. Tonic

    The essential oil of Thuja tones and fortifies, therefore making it a tonic. It tones up all the functions in the body. It improves metabolic functions like anabolism and catabolism, while toning up the liver, stomach and intestines, thus helping in growth. It also tones up the excretory, endocrinal and nervous systems operating in the body and ensures proper excretion. Furthermore, it promotes the endocrinal secretions of hormones and enzymes and keeps you more alert and active. Last but not the least; it tones up the immune system, protecting you from infections. And as you well know, a toned mind can only properly live in a toned body!

    1. Other Benefits

    It can be used to treat coughs, cystitis, warts, moles and other eruptions, abnormal cellular growths, some forms of skin cancers, and polyps.


    Uses of Thuja Essential Oil

    The following are potential uses found in or on Modern Essentials, Aromatic Science, PubMed.gov, as well as through anecdotal experience and other resources. Use them to inspire your own ideas, experiment, and see what works for you.

    1. Bacterial Infections

    Thuja Essential Oil Use on Bacterial infection

    Consider 1-2 drops of thuja essential oil over the area of concern, or reflex points of the feet.

    1. Balancing

    Massage 1-2 drops into the soles of the feet or over the solar plexus or energy centers.

    1. Calming

    Inhale a drop from the hands, diffuse as desired, or massage topically over areas of tension.

    1. Cancer

    Apply 1-2 drops over the area of concern several times a day. Also consider a cellular complex blend.

    1. Candida

    Massage several drops topical over the area of concern, or the reflex points of the feet 1-3 times a day. (thuja essential oil was shown in studies to be 5x more effective than melaleuca oil against candida.)

    1. Control Issues

    Diffuse as desired, or massage topically over the solar plexus and heart. Secretly pump it through the vents for the control freaks in your life.

    1. Cough

    Thuja Essential Oil Use for Cough

    Massage 1 drop over the throat and chest every few hours.

    1. Emotional Balance

    Inhale 1 drop from the palms, diffuse as desired, or massage over the energy centers of the body.

    1. Fungal Infections

    Apply up to 1-2 drops over the area of concern 1-2 times a day.

    1. Grounding

    Massage 1-2 drops into the soles of the feet or over the solar plexus or energy centers.

    1. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (Coxsackievirus)

    Massage into the reflex points of the feet, or over any area of concern. Consider gargling 1 drop in several ounces of water (don’t swallow).

    1. Hepatitis B and C

    Massage 1-2 drops of thuja essential oil into the reflex points of the feet or over the liver daily.

    1. HIV

    Massage 1-2 drops into the feet morning and night.

    1. Immune Support

    Thuja Essential Oil Use for Immune System

    Use topically or aromatically as described.

    1. Infection

    Apply 1-2 drops topically to the feet or area of concern, or diffuse as needed.

    1. Interdependence (Promoting)

    Massage 1-2 drops into the soles of the feet or over the heart center and solar plexus daily. Use aromatically in a bath, diffuser, or diffusing pendant.

    1. Insect Repellant

    Diffuse as needed, or create a spray. Use with an insect repellant blend. It might even work for annoying people. You never know.

    1. Meditation

    Diffuse throughout meditation, or apply topically to the back of the neck or forehead.

    1. Rheumatism

    Massage 1-2 drops over the area of concern several times a day.

    1. Rigidity

    Massage 1-2 drops into the soles of the feet or over the heart center and solar plexus daily. Use aromatically in a bath, diffuser, or diffusing pendant.

    1. Spiritual Connection

    Diffuse, massage over the energy centers of the body, or inhale 1 drop from the hands.

    1. Staph

    Like candida, thuja essential oil was shown in studies to be 5x more effective than melaleuca oilagainst staph. Consider topical or aromatic use as called for.

    1. Stress

    Thuja Essential Oil Use Against Stress

    Diffuse thuja essential oil as desired or use 1-2 drops in a massage.

    1. Thrush

    Massage into the reflex points of the feet, or over any area of concern. Consider gargling 1 drop in several ounces of water (don’t swallow).

    1. Trust

    Massage 1 drop over the heart center or diffuse as desired.

    1. Tumor

    Thuja Essential Oil Use Against Tumor

    Massage 1-2 drops over the area of concern, or the reflex points of the feet.

    1. Stimulant (Nerves, Uterus, Heart Muscles)

    Massage 1-2 drops of thuja essential oil over the area of concern as desired.

    1. Willfulness

    Diffuse throughout the day, massage over the heart center, or into the soles of the feet. Consider dunking stubborn family members in a vat of it.

    1. Workaholism

    Diffuse at your desk, apply topically to the solar plexus before work, or use aromatically or topically at the end of the day.


    This oil is toxic, abortifacient and irritating for the digestive, urinary and reproductive systems. It can also produce nervous afflictions and convulsions when taken in extreme amounts, since the component Thujone present in its essential oil is a potent neurotoxin. It should not be given to pregnant women.


    Thuja essential oil blends well with the essential oils of cedar wood, neroli, geranium, tangerine, mandarin, lavender and pine needle.

    Thuja Essential Oil Infographic

    Resources (direct link):

    Aroma Therapy Bible

    Ayurvedic Oils

    Organic Facts

    Sustainable Baby Steps