Cedarwood Essential Oil
For many years cedarwood essential oil has been used for its aromatic qualities in soaps, home diffusers, and perfumes.3 Cedar, translated from the Latin word cedrus, originated from the Italian Peninsula and is mentioned quite frequently in the Bible, and in other ancient texts. Wood from the cedar tree was used for centuries throughout the ancient Middle East, and has played a significant role in trade, culture, and religious practices.2,6
There are three types of trees upon which cedarwood essential oil is extracted. In North America, cedarwood essential oil can be extracted from the towering Virginia Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana), or the smaller Texas Cedarwood (Juniperus Mexicana). Both cedar varieties belong to the Cupressaceae family of trees, and produce similar aromas.1
Belonging to the Pinaceae family is the Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica). This particular variety of cedarwood is located in the Atlas Mountains of Algeria. The essential oil is extracted from these trees through the process of steam distillation.
Cedarwood essential oil is often attributed with many medicinal properties, such as being an antifungal, antibacterial, and naturally insecticidal.1,4 Its aroma is frequently described as earthy, woodsy and rich, and ranges from a light-yellow to amber color.
Cedarwood Essential Oil Uses
Used for many years, cedarwood essential oil continues to be a diverse essential oil. From skincare to a natural decongestant, this natural essential oil will help enhance your beauty and health routines. Discover the most common uses for cedarwood essential oil below.
Enhance a normal moisturizer by adding 2-3 drops of cedarwood essential oil to help combat any dry or itchy areas. Before application, dilute the essential oil into the lotion by thoroughly mixing the oil into 1-2 ounces of moisturizer. This simple remedy will leave your skin feeling cool and fresh.
Add 5 drops of cedarwood essential oil directly into your bathwater to help de-stress and relax. Cedarwood essential oil has traditionally been noted for its sedative effects, which may prove to be therapeutic and calming for users.3
Add an earthy note to any blend of perfumes, sprays, or deodorants with cedarwood essential oil. Combine 1-2 drops of cedarwood essential oil to your body spray to help you feel fresh throughout the day.
For a natural decongestant, dilute 2 drops of cedarwood essential oil into 1 Tbsp. of carrier oil and rub onto your chest or throat. The cooling effect of the oil has been reported to improve breathing, and may help provide relief from coughs or chest congestion. Apply to the affected areas before bedtime to help get a goodnight’s rest.
Combining coconut oil with 2 drops of cedarwood essential oil creates a mixture that may reduce dry skin and dandruff buildup. Apply the mixture directly to your scalp, massage for five minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Use cedarwood in your diffuser at home to bring the pleasant aroma of the woods indoors. Add 2-3 drops of cedarwood essential oil to your diffuser or a bowl of hot water. Cedarwood essential oil blends well with oils such as rose, lavender, jasmine, cinnamon, frankincense, juniper, and rosemary.
Cedarwood Essential Oil Benefits
With several notable chemical compounds, the scientific community is beginning to recognize cedarwood essential oil as a therapeutic tool for a number of health conditions. Below, we explore some of the most well-researched benefits of cedarwood essential oil.
In a study conducted in 2014, cedarwood essential oil was shown to discourage the presence of certain insect species.1 An oil sample placed between ants and their food source was shown to repel the insects.1
Cedrol is a sesquiterpene alcohol found in the chemical compound of cedarwood essential oil. When a high dosage of cedrol was exposed to black-legged tick nymphs, the results proved fatal; eliminating the 100% of the ticks.1 The toxicity results of this test, alongside the repellency properties of cedarwood essential oil against ants, signifies the oil’s pest control characteristic.1
In a 2011 study, cedarwood essential oil was tested for its anti-cancer activity. Results show that the oil was able to inhibit the proliferation (rapid increase) of isolated leukemia cells.2 Data suggests that cedarwood essential oil’s anti-cancer activity may be a prospective, therapeutic approach to help fight cancerous cells.
Note: The study was conducted in a lab setting with isolated cancer cells. Further research needs to be conducted before cedarwood essential oil is to be regarded as a serious method of therapy against cancer.
In a 2003 study, scientists measured the sedative effects of cedarwood essential oil. While subjects inhaled cedrol, a compound extracted from cedarwood essential oil, the cardiovascular and respiratory functions of the body were analyzed.3
Exposure to cedrol was found to decrease heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure. These results signify changes in the autonomic nervous system, and suggest that cedarwood essential oil may have a relaxing effect on the nervous system.3
Alleviate Symptoms of ADHD
Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a commonly diagnosed disorder in children between the ages of 6-12.5 Children that are diagnosed with ADHD often underperform in school due to their inability to focus.5
In a study conducted from 1999-2001, lavender essential oil, vetiver essential oil and cedarwood essential oil were tested for their effects on ADHD symptoms. The subjects were instructed to inhale one of the oils 3 times a day for a period of 30 days. They were to do this by holding the open bottle under their nostril and taking deep inhalations.5
Pre-and post treatment tests showed a significant reduction in ADHD symptoms in subjects who used cedarwood essential oil.5 Cedarwood oil was shown to improve brain activity, and may help reduce the symptoms of ADHD.5
Note: While the preliminary research looks promising, further studies are needed before essential oils can be used as a complementary treatment. Essential oils should not be used as a replacement for proven treatments.
Side Effects of Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedarwood essential oil is generally considered safe for inhalation and diluted topical use. Never ingest essential oil unless under the direct supervision of a health care provider.
Always follow the recommended dosage and directions suggested on the label. Users should exercise caution when using the essential oil on or around children; it is not recommended to use cedarwood essential oil during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Where to Buy Cedarwood Essential Oil
Previously, high quality essential oils could only be bought at specialty health stores, or through expensive multi-level marketing companies. Now, due to advancements in technology, extremely high grade essential oils can be purchased over the internet at very reasonable prices.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Eller, F., & Vander Meer, R. (2014, June). Bioactivity of cedarwood oil and cedrol against arthropod pests. Environ Entomol, 43(3). DOI:10.1603/EN13270
- Saab, A., & Lampronti, I. (2012). In vitro evaluation of the anti-proliferative activities of the wood essential oils of three Cedrus species against K562 human chronic myelogenous leukaemia cells. Nat Prod Res, 26(23). DOI:10.1080/14786419.2011.643885
- Dayawansa, S., & Umeno, K. (2003, October 31). Autonomic responses during inhalation of natural fragrance of Cedrol in humans. Auton Neurosci, 108, 1-2. DOI:10.1016/j.autneu.2003.08.002
- Chaudraki, L., & Jawale, B. (2012, January 1). Antimicrobial activity of commercially available essential oils against Streptococcus mutans. J Contemp Dent Pract, 13(1), 71-74. PMID:22430697
- Friedmann, T. S. (2001). ATTENTION DEFICIT AND HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD) BY TERRY S. RIEDMANN, M. D., A.B.H.M. In Docplayer. Retrieved March 1, 2017, from http://files.meetup.com/1481956/ADHD%20Research%20by%20Dr.%20Terry%20Friedmann.pdf
- Chaney, W. R., & Basbous, M. (1978). The cedars of Lebanon: Witnesses of history. Economic Botany, 32(2), 118-123. doi:10.1007/BF02866865