The term ‘cypress’ can refer to 12 different species of evergreen conifers. However, cypress leaf essential oil is is made from Cupressus sempervirens, which is commonly known as the Mediterranean or Italian cypress tree.1
The earthy, fragrant essential oil distilled from this tree boasts a lot of different health benefits. Cypress leaf essential oil is often used to heal minor infections, relieve muscle pain, reduce the symptoms of respiratory conditions, and more!
The History of Cypress Leaf
Cupressus sempervirens is often found in cemeteries, and was known by the Ancient Greeks and Romans as the “mournful tree”. Cypress trees were often planted near graves, and cypress branches were carried as a sign of respect for the dead. Since the cypress tree stands tall and points towards the heavens, they often symbolize immortality, hope, and mourning. The wood of the cypress tree was used to carve coffins and idols, and cypress trees are commonly seen on sarcophagi.2
The tree itself originated in Persia / Syria, yet is thought to have been brought over to the Mediterranean region by Etruscan tribes. The Etruscans would plant this tree around their burial sites, believing it to have supernatural powers. This tree was thought to be able to ward off demons, and the fragrant oils were used to repel the scent of death.
The Mediterranean cypress tree can survive for over 2,000 years, and often grows to heights of 20 to 25 meters (around 65-80 feet).3
Cypress leaf essential oil is steam distilled from the needles, twigs, and stems of Cupressus sempervirens. The resulting oil is light green or yellow in color and has a fresh, earthy, woody aroma.4
The essential oil has antirheumatic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, cicatrizant, diuretic, deodorant, febrifuge, sedative, and tonic properties.5 This is all due to its composition, which is primarily:
- Bornyl acetate
- Terpinyl acetate
- A-cedrol 6
Cypress leaf essential oil has a very high percentage of A-pinene, which is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antispasmodic properties. It has been shown to clear the sinuses and increase airflow to the lungs.
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It is also one of the reasons why ‘forest bathing’ is so beneficial for the health. Forest bathing originated in Japan and claims that breathing in all of the compounds released by plants can boost both your immune system and your mood.7
Uses for Cypress Leaf Essential Oil
Cypress leaf essential oil can be used both aromatically and topically to treat a wide variety of ailments. It can help clear the sinuses, reduce stress and even be used as a natural deodorant.
Heals Wounds and Prevents Infections
The antiseptic and antimicrobial properties of cypress leaf essential oil make it ideal for treating minor cuts, scrapes, bites, burns and other wounds. A 2014 study tested the antimicrobial properties of this essential oil. The results showed that the essential oil strongly inhibited the growth of the test bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia, and salmonella indica.8
To prevent infections and speed the healing time of minor wounds, mix a couple of drops of cypress leaf essential oil with a carrier oil and apply directly on the affected area before covering with a bandage.
Relieves Muscle Pain
The antispasmodic properties of cypress leaf essential oil help to alleviate symptoms of spasms such as cramps and pulled muscles. The anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce inflammation and relieve the pain associated with it.
To treat sore muscles, mix a few drops of cypress leaf essential oil with a carrier oil and gently massage onto the sore areas. To relieve pain that covers a large portion of the body, you can add a few drops of this essential oil to a relaxing bath and soak in all of the healing properties.
Cypress leaf essential oil is a diuretic, meaning that it increases urination. This helps the body flush out extra toxins, salt, and water and helps keep your kidneys healthy.
Flushing out excess toxins helps to keep your body functioning more efficiently overall and can reduce the presence of skin conditions that are due to the build-up of toxins, such as acne.
To benefit from the diuretic properties, diffuse cypress leaf essential oil throughout your home, mix in a carrier oil and massage over your abdomen or add a few drops to a bath.
Treats Skin Conditions
The anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and cicatrisant properties of cypress leaf essential oil make it ideal for treating a wide variety of skin problems, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, bruises, and scars. It can help promote the growth of new skin cells, stimulate blood circulation, and reduce the look of varicose veins and cellulite.9
The astringent properties also help to reduce the look of oily skin, minimize the look of pores and remove excess sebum. To benefit from these properties, mix a few drops of cypress leaf essential oil in a glass of water and use as a toning rinse after cleansing your face.
To treat minor skin conditions, mix a few drops of cypress leaf essential oil to a carrier oil and apply to the affected areas.
Alleviates Respiratory Conditions
Due to the high a-pinene content of cypress leaf essential oil, it is especially effective at clearing the sinuses and increasing airflow. If you’re suffering from a respiratory condition such as asthma, cough, bronchitis, congestion or allergies, cypress oil may help. The antibacterial properties also help to get rid of bacterial infections that may be causing these symptoms in the first place.
To breathe easier, add a couple of drops of cypress leaf essential oil to a bowl of steaming water. Cover your head with a towel, and inhale the healing vapors for five minutes. You can also mix this oil with a carrier oil and massage onto the chest and neck, or diffuse throughout your home.
Cypress leaf essential oil has a sedative effect, which can help soothe stress and anxiety, reduce feelings of anger, and promote restful sleep. This essential oil can help those that suffer from insomnia, are dealing with a recent shock or trauma, or are having trouble concentrating on everyday tasks due to anxiety.
A study conducted in 2002 tested the effects of aromatherapy massage on anxiety and depression. A mixture of sweet almond oil, lavender oil, cypress oil, and sweet marjoram oil was used. The results showed that those who received the aromatherapy massage exhibited significantly lower levels of both anxiety and depression.10
To boost your mood and get rid of negative emotions, diffuse cypress leaf essential oil throughout your home. You can also add a few drops to a bath or mix with a carrier oil and use as a relaxing massage oil. For a quick and discreet way to benefit from this essential oil, you can use them aromatically through a personal diffuser like Forest, Ocean, or Mountain MONQ.
For those who are suffering from insomnia, diffuse this oil throughout your room about 15-20 minutes before you go to sleep. You can also mix a few drops of this essential oil in a spray bottle with water and lightly spray your sheets and pillowcases.
Regulates Blood Flow
Cypress leaf essential oil has both styptic and hemostatic properties. This means that it helps to promote blood clotting and stop excess blood flow. This is particularly helpful when used on wounds, and can also help reduce heavy menstruation.11
To promote blood clotting, mix with a carrier oil and apply to minor wounds. To help regulate heavy periods and reduce the pain of menstrual cramps, mix with a carrier oil and gently massage onto the lower abdomen.
Use as a Natural Deodorant
Cypress leaf essential oil has a delightfully fresh, woody scent, reminiscent of a crisp walk through the forest. The antibacterial properties help to fight off bacteria that causes body odor in the first place, and it is a wonderful alternative to chemical-filled deodorants.
Use a few drops of cypress leaf essential oil when making your own deodorant, soap or air freshener. You can even add a few drops to your damp laundry before placing in the dryer to leave your clothes smelling fresh and clean.
The fresh scent of cypress is ideal for adding to natural cleaning products for your kitchen and bathroom. The antibacterial properties help to disinfect surfaces and keep your home free of harmful pathogens.
Simply add 10–15 drops of cypress leaf essential oil to a spray bottle filled with equal parts water and white vinegar and use to disinfect kitchen counters, toilets, showers and other smooth surfaces.
Safety and Precautions
Cypress leaf essential oil is safe for topical and aromatic use, but it should not be used internally.
When using this essential oil topically, always conduct a patch test before use and dilute in a carrier oil before applying.
Cypress leaf essential oil helps to regulate the menstrual cycle, so it should not be used during pregnancy. Consult a doctor before use if you are currently breastfeeding. Essential oils should not be used in place of a prescription medication or to treat a chronic condition without first consulting a medical professional.
If stored correctly in a cool, dark place, cypress leaf essential oil should last for approximately 3 years. 11
Cypress leaf essential oil is a delightful, fresh, woody essential oil that is the perfect addition to anyone’s medicine cabinet. Whether you’re using it topically to heal wounds or treat skin conditions, aromatically to ease breathing or reduce stress, or even as an addition to your natural cleaning products, it is a highly versatile essential oil that can benefit everyone.
You can mix it with other essential oils to extend its healing properties, and it can be used in myriad DIY recipes for soaps, cleansers, lotions, toners, disinfecting sprays and room fresheners. It can be diffused throughout a room, used in a relaxing bath and even taken on-the-go through one of our personal aromatherapy diffusers.
Whether you’re looking to use this oil aromatically or topically, to treat ailments or simply freshen up your home, cypress leaf essential oil shouldn’t be overlooked.