Cedarwood Essential Oil Benefits and History


Cedarwood essential oil comes from the oil of cedars of Lebanon trees that grow in Morocco. The oil from the trees is a syrupy, yellow, balsamic oil with a scent resembling turpentine, but that is a hint sweeter and more agreeable.

Cedarwood essential oil is known for being a comforting oil that possesses a wood-like pleasant scent. It is used to add a warm tone to any blends of colognes, perfumes or oil mixtures. Cedarwood is also thought by essential oil practitioners to bring people together and to improve their personal outlooks and self-esteem.

Cedarwood oil consists of:

  • Terpenic
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Cedro
  • Cadinene


During the first and second centuries, Galen and Dioscorides mentioned “cedrium” a species of tree whose resin was used to preserve bodies. This was later shown to be cedars of Lebanon. In 1698, the therapeutic nature of cedarwood's resinous matter was mentioned by Nicolas Lemery, who described it as a pulmonary and urinary antiseptic. Research conducted after that time confirmed the oil's therapeutic properties. In 1925 France, Doctors Gilbert and Michael recorded the satisfactory results that were obtained by using cedarwood oil in cases of chronic bronchitis.

The ancient Sumerians would use cedarwood oil as a base for paint making, while ancient Egyptians used it for embalming, as well as for cosmetic purposes. Sumerians would produce blue pigment by grinding cedarwood and cobalt compounds in a mortar and pestle. As part of the same process, they obtain green from copper, black from charcoal, yellow from lead antimonite, and white from gypsum. 

Cedarwood oil is obtained via the steam distillation process from pieces of cedar wood.

What is steam distillation?

Extracting essential oils by steam distillation takes place three different ways:

  • Straight steam
  • Water distillation
  • Steam/water distillation

Extracting essential oils using straight steam entails forcing steam through the plant material, then collecting the oil. 
Water distillation is the method used when plant material is submerged into boiling water. The oils and steam are physically captured, then separated. Essential oils are the result.
The steam/water distillation method of essential oil extraction take place when water and steam are pushed through and around the plant material. As the oils and steam are collected, they are separated to produce the essential oil.

Uses for Cedarwood Essential Oil:

Some of the most popular uses of cedarwood essential oil are:

  • Promotes hair growth
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Toothache treatment
  • Gum Strenghtener
  • Reduction of skin irritations
  • Anti fungal
  • Bug repellant
  • Acne cure
  • Cough Suppressant
  • Metabolism Stimulant
  • Menstruation regulator
  • Muscle tightener
  • Detoxifier
  • Used in soap making

When mixed with rosemary and lavender essential oils, cedarwood oil can reduce hair loss up to 44%, and is often used to treat alopecia. By inhaling cedarwood oil, or using it externally on the skin, inflammation is reduced, which, in turn minimizes joint stiffness.

Cedarwood has a partial numbing and antiseptic effect which is effective in the treatment of toothaches. It is also good for strengthening the gums. The same antiseptic effect makes cedarwood an excellent treatment for the reduction of skin irritations, such as acne. It's anti fungal properties make it a good choice for the treatment of athlete's foot.

The astringent properties of cedarwood essential oil enables it to tighten loose muscles to create a feeling of greater firmness. The oil also hardens digestive system muscles, helping with such stomach issues as diarrhea. 

With regard to soap making, cedarwood essential oil is the perfect addition for insecticidal soaps and is also frequently used in men's fragrance blends.

Therapeutic Properties of Cedarwood Essential Oil:

  • Anti fungal
  • Antiseptic
  • Diuretic
  • Astrigent
  • Sedative

Allergic reactions and precautions

Cedarwood essential oil has no reported side effects, but like the majority of essential oils, it is not recommended for use by women who are pregnant, or on children. Certain essential oils can lead to skin irritations or allergic reactions in people who have sensitive skin. Therefore, it is prudent to conduct a patch test prior to using regularly.

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