Cedarwood essential oil is extracted through steam distillation of the wood of the Cedarwood tree, Juniperus virginiana. The wood and oil of the cedar have been used for millennia by such prolific ancient civilisations as the Egyptians, Sumerians, Israelites, Romans and even the Chinese. The Egyptians used the oil in the mummification process and also soaked papaya leaves in it to keep away mosquitos. Cedarwood oil was also used to preserve dental health, fight infections and used as a beauty oil for for hair and skin. Judging by how well Egyptian mummies are preserved, I’d say cedarwood oil works pretty effectively!
In Ayurvedic medicine, cedarwood oil was used to treat urinary tract infections, skin infections, pain, strengthen heart muscles, aid digestion and improve circulation.
Today cedarwood oil’s benefits have been extensively studied. It has a variety of medicinal and beauty properties, which we explore below!
Cedarwood is a natural antiseptic and antifungal, is a powerful natural sedative, and can fight asthma and the feelings of congestion. It assists the respiratory system with its calming, woody vapours and can be rubbed onto the chest to help fight off a cough. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a good massage oil for easing painful muscles, joints and even arthritis -scientific studies have proven this! Cedarwood oil also helps relieve spasms, restless leg syndrome and respiratory seizures.
Cedarwood Hot Oil Treatment
2 T olive oil
5 drops cedarwood essential oil
3 drops peppermint essential oil
2 drops rosemary essential oil
Gently heat up the olive oil - do not let it boil! Add the essential oils and use as a massage oil for sore muscles, joints and arthritis. It can also be used as a chest rub.
Cedarwood can combat insomnia by it's calming aroma, which elevates serotonin levels in the brain. This converts to melatonin which promotes peaceful sleep.
It is also helpful for menstrual problems, regulating the female cycle and balancing hormones.
It has been used for centuries as a gum and dental health tonic, thanks to its astringent properties. Cedarwood oil literally helps the gums grip the teeth better, preventing tooth loss!
Recent research has shown cedarwood has anti-cancer potential: the oil was cyctotoxic to multi-drug resistant leukemia cells. More research will need to be conducted, however.
Cedarwood is not only famous for its medicinal properties, but is a beautifying oil too. Cedarwood oil tightens up skin and loose muscles and keeps them supple, is wonderful at stimulating hair follicles and improving hair loss and fights acne and oily skin.
Thanks to its germ busting and anti-inflammatory properties, cedarwood helps clear up problem skin by regulating sebum production, preventing infection and reducing skin peeling. The anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness, inflammation and pain. It is one of the top oils for eczema, and can be applied directly or added to a lotion.
Studies have shown cedarwood to increase hair growth and stem hair loss. It banishes dry, itchy scalp and dandruff too. Simply add a few drops of cedarwood oil to your shampoo or massage directly into your hair and scalp half and hour before showering. Here is another easy recipe:
Hair-Stimulating Scalp Massage
¼ melted coconut oil
5 drops rosemary essential oil
3 drops cedarwood essential oil
4 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops thyme essential oil
Combine and massage into your hair and scalp. Leave in for 30 minutes then wash your hair as normal.
Cedarwood is a popular scent in DIY deodorants. It has a fresh, woody aroma that is confidence-boosting, improves focus and relieves stress and promotes feelings of wellbeing and vitality.
Easy Baking Soda Deo
⅕ c baking soda
+/- 20 drops (or enough to make the baking soda into a dryish paste) of your favorite essential oil
I've been using this recipe for years, its so good! Simply mix the baking soda and essential oil together until the baking soda is slightly moist - but don’t make it too strong or your deo will be overpowering! I use peppermint but you could substitute with your favorite scent or do a combo of essential oils - experiment! Store in an airtight container. To use it, I wet my fingers then dip in the deodorant and rub into my underarms. I find it is totally effective at keeping sweaty smells away! Please note it isn’t an antiperspirant.
Deodorant for Sensitive Skin
⅓ c coconut oil
⅓ c arrowroot powder
2 T baking soda
10 drops cedarwood essential oil
Gently melt the coconut oil, then stir in the arrowroot powder and baking soda. Lastly add the essential oil. Pour into a recycled deodorant dispenser or a glass jar.
Cedarwood oil is definitely something to keep on your shelf, with its great variety of beauty benefits and medicinal properties!
How to use cedarwood essential oil:
For skin benefits: add 5 drops to your bath, add a few drops to a carrier oil for use as a muscle rub (this also doubles as an insect repellent), or add a few drops to your lotions or make your own.
For hair benefits: add 4 drops to your shampoo, mix with coconut oil as a scalp massage, or make your own shampoo.
For aromatherapy benefits: add 3-4 drops to your diffuser and inhale the calming, woody aroma before bed to induce sleep.