Today we’re going to talk about Cedarwood essential oil. This versatile and masculine-scented oil has antifungal, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, and many more properties. By the end of this article, you will be highly impressed by the variety of uses and characteristics it has. It’s not just a great song by the band U2.
There are several varieties of cedarwood. One is Atlas cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), which is also known as Moroccan Cedarwood, Atlantic Cedar, African Cedar, or Libanol. (1)
A few other varieties are: Virginia cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana L. – my favorite), Himalayan cedarwood (Cedrus deodara), Chinese cedarwood (Juniperus funebris), and Texas cedarwood (Juniperus ashei). (2)
What have you noticed so far? I’ve named two genuses: Cedrus and Juniperus. The Cedrus genus are true cedarwood. The Juniperus genus are actually junipers and so aren’t true cedarwood. (3) Hey, I learned something new today.
Personally, I love the scent of Virginia and Texas cedarwood. Chinese cedarwood has a burnt smell to it. Himalayan and Atlas cedarwood are pretty good in my book. But to get the benefits of true cedarwood essential oil, it would be best to stick with the Cedrus varieties (Atlas and Himalayan).
That being said, now we’ll talk about the benefits and characteristics of cedarwood essential oil.
1) I Wanna Be Sedated
My favorite quality of cedarwood is that it has sedative properties. (4) You can incorporate it into a carrier oil to make a topical application for a soothing and calming effect on the mind, as well as diffusing it into the air. This essential oil can also be added to bath water, provided you use only a few drops, and preferably add the oil to bath salts or baking soda to disperse it. According to Dr. Axe, “the scent of cedarwood essential oil encourages the release of serotonin, which is converted into melatonin in the brain. Melatonin induces restorative sleep.” (5) You can try diffusing some cedarwood oil in the evening by your bedside. Combine it with lavender if you are so inclined.
2) Fungus Among Us
Another excellent characteristic is cedarwood’s anti-inflammatory properties, making it a good choice for treating the inflammation that can lead to eczema (dermatitis). This oil also has antifungal properties that reduce skin peeling and treat the infection caused by eczema. (6), (7)
Cedarwood can also be useful in treating athlete’s foot, due to its antifungal properties. (8) You can add a few drops to a carrier oil for a foot massage after a bath or shower. Another solution would be to add this essential oil into baking soda to make a medicated foot powder that can be rubbed onto the soles of the feet and placed inside footwear.
3) Bug Off!
Cedarwood can be used as an insect repellant. This oil repels mosquitoes and fleas in addition to ticks, flies and gnats. (9)
You can make your own bug repellant by combining the following ingredients in a glass sprayer bottle:
- Vodka, Everclear® and/or witch hazel
- Cedarwood essential oil
- Optional essential oils of: lemongrass, citronella, peppermint, eucalyptus, basil, etc.
In a one-ounce bottle, you would add a total of 30 drops of essential oils to achieve a 5% dilution. Since this is not a massage oil blend, you can go higher than a 2% dilution ratio. I probably wouldn’t go above 5% in order to reduce the risk of skin irritation.
One of the sources listed below discusses the use of an essential oil insect repellent for dogs, but I must mention that this is well outside my scope of practice. I do not have the technical training to give guidance on using essential oils on anything other than human beings.
4) Don’t Spazz Out on Me
This essential oil has antispasmodic properties, which helps relieve spasms of the respiratory system, intestines, muscles, heart, and nerves. Cedarwood oil also works well as a tonic, as it tones the nervous system, muscles, skin and stomach. (10)
Other conditions such as restless leg syndrome and other spasmodic conditions can be treated with cedarwood oil. (11)
A good way to treat muscle cramps and spasms would be to add cedarwood essential oil in a base of jojoba oil and massage it into the area. For example, for stomach cramping, you would massage the oil into the area of the stomach experiencing the cramping.
I remember a time when I had some company over at my house, and we made dinner together. Spaghetti squash was one of the dishes we made. Because I have no large intestine (that’s a topic for another blog article), I am prone to having small bowel obstructions.
The spaghetti squash caused a partial obstruction, which can be pretty painful. She told me to lie down and I added some peppermint, wintergreen, sweet marjoram and black pepper essential oils to a base of sweet almond oil. After a while, the oils helped relieve the pain of the cramping, due to their analgesic properties. If I had known then what I now know about cedarwood, I would have definitely added some of this oil to the mixture.
5) Tighten Up
Cedarwood essential oil is an astringent, which causes muscles to tighten up. The oil is effective on relieving digestive problems such as diarrhea by hardening the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. (12)
As an astringent, cedarwood essential oil is also useful for protecting the skin from toxins and bacteria. Astringent substances cause skin proteins to coagulate, where they dry and harden, forming a protective shield on the applied area. (13)
Another benefit of astringents is with facial toning. Cedarwood oil can help tone facial skin after washing by tightening the skin and giving it a youthful appearance. (14)
Now you know about the versatile cedarwood essential oil. Its uses are many and varied, and in my opinion, right up there with lavender oil. There is one warning I need to give: cedarwood is contraindicated for pregnant women. This page has a comprehensive listing of contraindications for a number of essential oils. There are many oils that should not be used in pregnancy. By educating yourself, you can prevent adverse reactions and stay safe.
What about you? Have you discovered any uses for cedarwood oil that were not discussed in this post? Feel free to share them with me in the comment form below.
And to get a copy of my free ebook, “Essential Oils Made Easy”, head over to www.boldaromatherapy.com.
(4), (5), (6), (12), (14) 15 Cedarwood Essential Oil Uses for Wisdom & Beauty
(8) Aromatherapy for Bodyworkers. Jade Shutes, Christina Weaver. 2008. p.336.
(11), (13) Health Benefits of Cedarwood Essential Oil