Arborvitae the Tree of Life


The Tree of Life

Arborvitae essential oil comes from an evergreen coniferous tree that is also known as the Thuja Plicata tree or “Tree of Life”. It is part of the cypress family native to the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada. The sturdy wood from the arborvitae tree resists attack by insects, fungi and weather, and is used as building materials as a construction material, usually for doors, windows and panelling of walls and ceilings, and as veneer.

When arborvitae trees die, they can remain in tact for more than 100 years before beginning to deteriorate. The organic properties of arborvitae trees have many highly valued, unique benefits. For instance, their essential oil has high levels of tropolone, which have powerful purifying properties. The essential oil has a deep, earthy aroma, and is collected via steam distillation of its bark, leaves and wood.

History

Arborvitae essential oil, also known as thuja occidentalis, has a lengthy history of use that dates back to the ancient Egyptians. They used it for embalming because of its anti-fungal properties.

The arborvitae (or thuja Plicata) tree's essences, powders, wood and shavings were used in early anti-moth bags and in potpourris. During ancient times, the wood of the arborvitae tree was burnt as a sacrifice to the gods. It has been a prominent part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Homeopathy for many years.

Arborvitae oil was once celebrated as a powerful treatment for scurvy. Native Canadians used the needles of the tree to prepare a special tea that was claimed to contain high volumes of vitamin C. This tea was also used as an effective remedy for treating menstrual pain and rheumatism. Arborvitae is also used in phytotherapy to treat angina, bronchitis, chronic and acute infections of the upper respiratory system and pharyngitis.

Indigenous to northeastern parts of North America, thuja or arborvitae essential oil is said to have been used by Native Americans to treat gout, insomnia, colds, eczema and dandruff.

The leaves were also prepared and used in a decoction for treating congestion, colds, intestinal parasites, uterine carcinomas, headaches, cystitis, stomach pain, and fever.

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. Arborvitae essential oil is extracted using this method.

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Uses for Arborvitae Essential Oil

The aroma of arborvitae essential oil smells like a fresh cypress tree forest. If you prefer woody scents you will probably be attracted to this oil. The oil has many different uses, some of which are:

  • Acts as a purifying agent.
  • Offers protection against environmental threats.
  • Repels insects.
  • Protects against seasonal viral infections.
  • Preserves wood.
  • Can be used as a wood polish when mixes with lemon and carrier oil.
  • When added to water, can act as a hand sanitizer.
  • When diffused, can purify air.
  • Used as a grounding agent when diffused.
  • Instills sense of peace and calm during meditation.
  • Can be mixed with mulch while gardening.
  • Used as an ingredient in cologne.
  • Used in soap making.

Blending with Arborvitae

The oils that blend best with arborvitae essential oil are:

  • Cinnamon bark
  • Birch
  • Cedarwood
  • Eucalyptus

Allergic Reactions and Precautions

Individual with allergies to cedarwood and cedar products should avoid arborvitae oil. It should also be avoided during pregnancy.

Arborvitae essential oil comes from an evergreen coniferous tree that is also known as the Thuja Plicata tree or “Tree of Life”. It is part of the cypress family native to the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada. The sturdy wood from the arborvitae tree resists attack by insects, fungi…