Cedarwood Essential Oil History
The aromatic oil from the evergreen cedar tree has been used by various cultures around the world for centuries. Each civilization has their unique applications for the woodsy essential oil. Traditionally, Native Americans used it for respiratory infections. The ancient Egyptians utilized cedarwood essential oil for embalming. The people of the Middle East have employed it for various practices since Biblical times, and Tibetan monks use it today as incense and to help in meditations.
The cedar tree is a slow-growing evergreen tree with reddish heartwood and brown cones that can get up to 108 feet high and can have a trunk diameter of over 5 feet! Cedars are native to North America, especially the Rocky Mountain regions. Its strongly aromatic wood contains a high percentage of essential oil. The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the timber waste, sawdust, shavings, and the like. The pale yellow or orange oily liquid has a mild, sweet balsamic scent.
The cedarwood scent blends well with neroli, jasmine, juniper, chamomile, geranium, lavender, frankincense, ylang ylang, rosewood, vetiver, rose, and patchouli. Its antiseptic properties make it a popular choice for treating acne, oily skin, and dandruff. As a diuretic, it benefits the urinary track system. Cedarwood stimulates the circulation to relax the nervous system. It is also known to have a tonic effect on the entire body. On an emotional level, cedarwood oil helps to relieve nervous tension and stress-related conditions, dispel gloomy thoughts, anxiety, and fears.
Today, cedarwood essential oil is used extensively as a fixative in perfumery, particularly in soap making. It is also used in room sprays, disinfectants, and other household products. It is an excellent insect repellent and was once used with citronella as a commercial insecticide.
Used externally, cedarwood oil is relatively non-toxic but can cause acute local irritation and sensitivity in some people. If applying to your skin always perform a patch test. As with all essential oils, never use them undiluted. Do not take internally and keep away from children.