Used for centuries in India, ancient Egypt, and other parts of Africa and Asia, the essential oil from cedar trees have been part of many religious beliefs and traditions for hundreds of years. In India in particular, cedarwood is considered a holy wood, used to build temples and altars and in religious blessings and ceremonies.1
There, it is known as “the wood of the gods,” and its oil is highly prized. In other countries, this incredibly beneficial oil has become a must-have for anyone who uses essential oils for holistic healing and aromatherapy.
The History of Cedarwood
The trees that this oil comes from grows in colder climates, so the most frequent use of this oil began in places like Tibet. The Himalayas offered the perfect climate for the cedar tree, a prevalence which allowed the use of cedarwood and its essential oil to spread to India, where it became used in Hindu religious rituals.
It is believed that cedarwood essential oil was one of the very first extracts that man ever used. Early in human history, this oil was used as a sedative and a medicine. There are even texts explaining how cedarwood oil was relatively difficult to extract, and yet early humans used copious amounts of it. In the time of the ancient Egyptians, this oil was used as part of the embalming process as it kept away insects and microbes that could eat away at the corpse.2
In the Americas, Native Americans used this oil as part of ceremonies to clear the mind and calm the spirit.
Cedarwood essential oil comes from the bark and needles of the Cedrus deodara tree (the Himalayan cedar), which contains chemical components such as:
- β-himachalene – shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells
- Limonene – repels insects and other microorganisms
- Linalool – repels insects, especially mosquitos
- Caryophyllene – causes the body to feel calm and relaxed. This compound is also found in clove, cannabis, and lavender.
There are quite a few other compounds found in cedarwood essential oil that contribute to the range of health benefits it provides—it’s no wonder that ancient civilizations saw this oil as a gift from the gods.
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Modern research has gone on to show that cedarwood essential oil can be used as an antioxidant, antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial, antispasmodic, diuretic, expectorant, and more.3
Uses for Cedarwood Essential Oil
Highlighted are just some of the ways that cedarwood essential oil can provide.4
- Treat eczema by adding a few drops of cedarwood essential oil to your bath water, to your shampoo, or to your body lotion.
- Alleviate the symptoms of arthritis by adding five drops of cedarwood essential oil to a bath or adding a few drops to a massage oil and applying to sore areas.
- Place a few drops of this oil onto your pillow to get a better night’s sleep.
- Massage a mixture of cedarwood essential oil and coconut oil onto a small wound or burn to prevent the risk of infection.
- Strengthen your hair and prevent hair loss by mixing five drops of cedarwood, rosemary, lavender, and thyme essential oils with olive oil. Rub this into your scalp daily to help stimulate hair follicles. You can find thyme and lavender in our Happy personal essential oil diffuser.
- Add cedarwood essential oil to your natural skin care routine to help heal acne and prevent future breakouts.
- Add a few drops of this essential oil to the surface of your deodorant to make your deodorant last longer. As a bonus, this can also act as an insect repellant.
- Massage eight drops of cedarwood essential oil mixed with four teaspoons of any carrier into your abdomen to help relieve menstrual symptoms.
- Diffuse cedarwood essential oil in a diffuser to help calm asthma, alleviate stress and anxiety, heal a cold or a cough, or to get a better nights’ sleep. For an on the go option, use this essential oil in a personal essential oil diffuser like Forest or Ocean MONQ.
Safety and Precautions
Himalayan cedarwood essential oil is very safe to use, with minimal concerns for any of toxicity.
However, if you intend to use the oil on your skin, you should always do a patch skin test to be sure you don’t have an adverse reaction. Additionally, dilute it with a carrier oil or water when using it topically to get the safest results.
Always be sure you are purchasing Himalayan cedarwood essential oil as there is a type of “cedar leaf oil” which can toxic and comes from a different species of cedar.
Avoid the use of cedarwood essential oil if you are pregnant or nursing.
The long-standing reputation of Himalayan cedarwood essential oil is well-deserved. With the many health benefits of this essential oil, as well as its use in perfumes and cosmetics, it has endless gifts to give. Give this oil a try, and you’ll soon find that it is irreplaceable in your natural wellness supply stock.