This month, I would like to start off with the first aromatherapy post of the year. This month's topic is cedarwood. Cedarwood essential oil is steam distilled from pieces of wood from cedarwood trees which are generally found at high altitudes in colder climates.
When using cedarwood, it is important to remember that it should never be ingested. It is generally safe to diffuse or breathe in, but should be done so cautiously during pregnancy. It is also safe to apply topically, but should be applied with more caution in pregnant women and children. When applying topically, it is recommended that you dilute it in a carrier oil or in water for a spray.
Cedarwood has a very warm, woodsy smell to it that can be lovely on its own, or provide some nice warm undertones in a blend. It mixes particularly well with citrus and flower essential oils such as lemon, orange, bergamot, rose, jasmine, lavender, and more. Along with smelling nice, cedarwood has even more wonderful benefits for your health and home. Some of its most common uses include repelling insects and purifying the air, but it is also very beneficial for treating skin conditions, clearing mucus, and aiding in digestion. Let's take a look at those benefits and more in a little more depth.
Reduces Tension and Treats Depression
Cedarwood is a helpful oil to have on hand for those who are prone to tension, anxiety, depression, and lack of focus. It is a very grounding oil, and the warmth it brings is generally found to be very comforting. It can help to improve your mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Try diffusing the oil or inhaling the aroma directly from the bottle. You can also place a drop at your third eye, just above and between your eyebrows to improve focus and melt tension and stress.
Promotes Healthy Sleep
Cedarwood is a sedative. It stimulates production of serotonin which is converted to melatonin in your brain. Melatonin is the hormone that helps you to sleep at night. Not only does cedarwood help you to fall asleep, it also helps you stay asleep and wake feeling more refreshed (many drugs claim to do the same thing, but essential oils don't have the scary side effects). If you have trouble sleeping, try diffusing cedarwood in your bedroom. It is particularly effective when combined with other sedative oils such as lavender or orange.
Cedarwood is antiseptic and anti-fungal which makes it a good wound cleaner because it kills bacterial and fungal infectious agents. Many herbal wound creams already have cedarwood in them. If yours doesn't, try adding a drop when you apply, or make your own wound cleaner out of coconut oil and essential oils such as cedarwood, lavender, tea tree, or any other essential oil that works as an antiseptic.
In addition to disinfecting wounds, cedarwood also helps to reduce inflammation. While inflammation can be a good sign that your immune system is working well to kill off infection, there are times when it is a sign that something isn't right. Try using cedarwood on joints to ease pain from arthritis, or inhaling its aroma to ease inflammation of your respiratory or digestive tracts.
Helps Treat Spasms
Cedarwood works as an antispasmodic which means that it can ease muscle spasms, menstrual cramps, restless leg syndrome, asthma, and spasms of the nerves, heart, intestines, or pretty much any other part of your body.
Clears Skin Conditions
Cedarwood can help to treat and clear up several skin conditions by helping to ease pain and inflammation, regularize sebum production in our skin, clear up infections, and tone and tighten the skin. Try adding cedarwood to your favorite lotions, creams, and oils, or make your own by adding it to some coconut oil. If you want to make a scrub add some sugar to your cedarwood/coconut oil mix. Some of the conditions aided by cedarwood including the following:
Improves the Health of your Hair
Aromatherapists and herbalists have been recommending cedarwood to treat hair loss for years. It helps to increase the circulation to your scalp and stimulates the growth of hair follicles. Not only can it slow hair loss, but it stimulates growth as well. Try mixing some cedarwood oil with other oils such as rosemary, thyme, or lavender and applying directly to your scalp, or diluting with a carrier oil.
Aids in Respiratory Health
If you have any sort of respiratory condition, cedarwood is a good oil to have. Not only can it aid in spasmodic conditions like asthma, it is also an expectorant making it helpful in clearing mucus and easing coughing. Clearing congestion can also help to alleviate pain from sinus headaches. As an anti-inflammatory, it is also helpful for inflammation such as bronchitis.
Aids in Digestive Health
Cedarwood can help to tighten the muscles of the digestive tract which can help to improve tone and treat conditions like diarrhea. Try massaging a couple drops of cedarwood oil over your belly on its own or diluted in a carrier oil. It is most beneficial to massage your belly in clockwise circles, or making an arc from your right hip to your left hip.
Aids in Urinary Health
Cedarwood is a diuretic, which means that it helps you to eliminate more water. This is particularly beneficial for people who are trying to clear up a UTI or ease problems with the kidneys or bladder. Using diuretics can also help to eliminate more toxins from your urinary tract, loose water weight, or lower your blood pressure.
Aids in Reproductive Health
As I already mentioned, cedarwood can help relieve the pain of menstrual cramps, but it can also have other positive effects on your reproductive health. As an emmenagogue, cedarwood oil can help stimulate menstruation and regularize your cycles. It can also help to ease other menstrual symptoms such as fatigue, mood swings, muscle aches, and nausea.
Deodorizes and Purifies the Air
Cedarwood is a natural deodorant. You can make your own deodorant by using a base of witch hazel and adding in essential oils such as cedarwood, lavender, frankincense, and tea tree. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and use directly on your skin. It can also help to purify the air. This is particularly helpful to get rid of bathroom odors and clear the air. Try diffusing in the bathroom or putting a drop on the inside of your toilet paper roll; you will smell it every time you use it. Feel free to use cedarwood to deodorize and purify the air in any room of your home.
As I said in the opening paragraph, cedarwood is probably most commonly known as an insect repellant. It can be used to drive away mosquitoes, flies, and other pesky insects. Many people like to spray cedarwood on their pillows to protect them from mosquitoes at night, and get the added benefits of the sedative. Diffusing the oil can help to detract insects throughout large spaces in your home or outside. Cedarwood also helps to repel moths, and can be used in place of moth balls to protect clothing and linens in your closet. That is the reason that many old homes have cedar closets, and many people like to put their keepsakes in cedar chests.
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.