Cedarwood oil can bring the fragrant outdoors to you with their characteristic woody smell. In fact, they’re commonly used in household sprays and soap perfumes as well as insecticides and floor polishes. But there’s much more this spicy-scented oil can do for your health and well-being.
Cedarwood oils come from a variety of trees, including junipers and cedars. Typical examples include Texas cedar, Chinese cedar, and East African cedar. These species are all related and the oil from their wood usually contains beneficial compounds like cedrol, cedrane, and thujopsene. Meanwhile, Atlas cedar and Himalayan cedar are true cedars from the family Pinaceae and contain atlantones and deodarone. Together, these components in cedarwood bring us a host of benefits thanks to their antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, antispasmodic, and antifungal activities, among others.1 2 3 Here’s a look at why you should stock up on this essential oil.
1. Fights Tooth Cavities
Chemical components of cedarwood oil (from Cedrus atlantica) like sesquiterpenes, a-cedrene, cedrol, and b-cedrene show antimicrobial activity. Research has found that it can work against Streptococcus mutans bacteria, the main culprit when it comes to breaking down your tooth enamel and causing painful dental caries. Cedarwood oil can act as a natural agent which inhibits and controls microbes responsible for oral infections.4
How to use: You can dilute a few drops of cedarwood essential oil with water to make a mouthwash. However, do take care not to swallow the solution.
2. Works As A Sleep Aid
Not getting a good night’s sleep can leave you feeling irritable and tired the next day and cause serious health problems over time. If you’re struggling with sleepless nights, cedarwood oil could just be that magic bullet you’ve been looking for. According to research, inhaling cedrol, a significant component present in cedarwood oil, has marked sedative effects.5
How to use: Add a few drops of cedarwood essential oil to a diffuser in your bedroom about half an hour before you go to bed and enjoy a good night’s sleep!
3. Repels Bugs And Ticks
Ticks and bugs can spread diseases like Lyme disease. But various cedarwood oils have been found to scare away these creepy crawlies, working as insecticides against the housefly, pulse beetle, lone star tick, and the black-legged tick.6 7 So if you’re looking for a natural bug repellant, cedarwood oil may just do the trick.
To prepare an effective and fragrant bug repellent, mix cedarwood oil with other essential oils like the oil of thyme. The latter is also effective against mosquitoes.8
How to use: Pour 40 drops of cedarwood essential oil, 20 drops of thyme essential oil, 15 drops of lemon essential oil, and ½ a teaspoon of vegetable glycerine and a cup of vodka into a spritzer bottle and shake the solution vigorously. Leave it to rest for an hour and your bug spray is ready. You can spray it on your skin for protection from those nasty bugs. Do remember to shake the bottle before use.9
4. Fights Hair Loss
Cedarwood oil is commonly used to treat hair loss. A study looked at the effect of a head massage with essential oils on people with alopecia areata, a condition that causes hair loss and results in small, round bald patches. A mixture of cedarwood essential oil and the essential oils of thyme, lavender, and rosemary was diluted with jojoba and grapeseed carrier oils and used to massage the scalp of one group while the control group was only massaged with the carrier oils. This was done daily for a period of 7 months. It was found that 44% of those who had a scalp massage with the mixture of essential oils showed improvement in their condition as against 15% of the group that only used carrier oils.10
How to use: Dilute around six drops of cedarwood essential oil in coconut oil and massage your scalp with it before you go to bed at night. You can also try the combination of essential oils used in the study above as a hair-loss busting massage oil.
5. Heals Cuts And Scrapes
Several cedarwood oils have been found to be useful in wound healing. Cedrus deodara, which has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, can help stop wounds from becoming infective.11 Studies have also shown that Juniperus occidentalis help wounds contract and heal faster.12
How to use: Mix a few drops of cedarwood oil with some coconut oil and apply it on minor wounds.
6. Eases Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
The ancient science of ayurveda uses cedarwood oil to treat inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis. And scientific research seems to back this up. Animal studies have found that the essential oil of Cedrus deodara has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.13
How to use: Massage your joints with some diluted cedarwood oil or a couple of drops to warm bath water. You can also try the ayurvedic medicinal oil balaguducyadi. This is made with cedarwood oil alongside oils from other beneficial plants like bala, guduchi, jatamansi, and sandalwood and is used as a massage oil for people with rheumatoid arthritis.14
7. Tackles Respiratory Ailments
Cedarwood, specifically Cedrus deodara, has been traditionally used in ayurveda to treat asthma. Animal studies have found it may help with asthma because of its anti-inflammatory benefits. The anti-inflammatory property of this oil is derived from its ability to stabilize mast cells, which have a proinflammatory function and contribute to the inflammation of your airways.15 16 But remember, although these animal studies show the positive effect of taking cedarwood oil orally for asthma relief, this isn’t yet established for human use. For now, topical application is still the way to go.
How to use: Steam inhalation with a couple of drops of cedarwood oil mixed in water should help congestion. You could also rub some diluted cedarwood oil on your chest for relief from respiratory symptoms. One ayurvedic treatment for asthma relief involves burning cedarwood along with leaves of turmeric, raisins, castor root, orpiment, and jatamansi roots and inhaling the smoke. Do keep in mind, though, this is done after carrying cleansing therapies like purgation and emesis.17
Pregnant Women And Children To Avoid Cedarwood Oil
Cedarwood essential oil is not recommended for children. You should also avoid it if you’re pregnant because it may work as an abortifacient.18
|↑1||Jeong, Hyeon-Uk, Soon-Sang Kwon, Tae Yeon Kong, Ju Hyun Kim, and Hye Suk Lee. “Inhibitory effects of cedrol, β-cedrene, and thujopsene on cytochrome P450 enzyme activities in human liver microsomes.” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 77, no. 22-24 (2014): 1522-1532.|
|↑2||CEDARWOOD OILS. Food And Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.|
|↑3||Sell, Charles S. A fragrant introduction to terpenoid chemistry. Royal Society of Chemistry, 2007.|
|↑4||Chaudhari, Lalit Kumar D., Bhushan Arun Jawale, Sheeba Sharma, Hemant SharmaCD Mounesh Kumar, and Pooja Adwait Kulkarni. “Antimicrobial activity of commercially available essential oils against Streptococcus mutans.” The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice 13, no. 1 (2012): 71-74.|
|↑5||Kagawa, Daiji, Hiroko Jokura, Ryuji Ochiai, Ichiro Tokimitsu, and Hirokazu Tsubone. “The sedative effects and mechanism of action of cedrol inhalation with behavioral pharmacological evaluation.” Planta medica 69, no. 07 (2003): 637-641.|
|↑6||Singh, D., and S. K. Agarwal. “Himachalol andβ-himachalene: Insecticidal principles of himalayan cedarwood oil.” Journal of Chemical Ecology 14, no. 4 (1988): 1145-1151.|
|↑7||Carroll, John F., Nurhayat Tabanca, Matthew Kramer, Natasha M. Elejalde, David E. Wedge, Ulrich R. Bernier, Monique Coy et al. “Essential oils of Cupressus funebris, Juniperus communis, and J. chinensis (Cupressaceae) as repellents against ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) and mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) and as toxicants against mosquitoes.” Journal of Vector Ecology 36, no. 2 (2011): 258-268.|
|↑8||Pavela, Roman, Naděžda Vrchotová, and Jan Tříska. “Mosquitocidal activities of thyme oils (Thymus vulgaris L.) against Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae).” Parasitology research 105, no. 5 (2009): 1365.|
|↑9||Tourles, Stephanie. Naturally Bug-Free: 75 Nontoxic Recipes for Repelling Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, Ants, Moths & Other Pesky Insects. Storey Publishing, 2016.|
|↑10||Hay, Isabelle C., Margaret Jamieson, and Anthony D. Ormerod. “Randomized trial of aromatherapy: successful treatment for alopecia areata.” Archives of dermatology 134, no. 11 (1998): 1349-1352.|
|↑11||Raina, Rajinder, Shahid Parwez, P. K. Verma, and N. K. Pankaj. “Medicinal plants and their role in wound healing.” Online Veterinary J 3 (2008): 21.|
|↑12||Tumen, Ibrahim, Ipek Süntar, Fred J. Eller, Hikmet Keleş, and Esra Küpeli Akkol. “Topical wound-healing effects and phytochemical composition of heartwood essential oils of Juniperus virginiana L., Juniperus occidentalis Hook., and Juniperus ashei J. Buchholz.” Journal of medicinal food 16, no. 1 (2013): 48-55.|
|↑13||Shinde, U. A., A. S. Phadke, A. M. Nair, A. A. Mungantiwar, V. J. Dikshit, and M. N. Saraf. “Studies on the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) Loud. wood oil.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 65, no. 1 (1999): 21-27.|
|↑14||Rhyner, Hans.Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Ayurveda: A Comprehensive Resource for the Understanding & Practice of Traditional Indian Medicine.|
|↑15||Shinde, U. A., K. R. Kulkarni, A. S. Phadke, A. M. Nair, A. A. Mungantiwar, V. J. Dikshit, and M. N. Saraf. “Mast cell stabilizing and lipoxygenase inhibitory activity of Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) Loud. wood oil.” (1999).|
|↑16||Amin, Kawa. “The role of mast cells in allergic inflammation.” Respiratory medicine 106, no. 1 (2012): 9-14.|
|↑17||Gilman, Sander L., and Xun Zhou, eds. Smoke: a global history of smoking. Reaktion Books, 2004.|
|↑18||Fite, Vannoy Gentles, Michele Gentles McDaniel, and Vannoy Lin Reynolds. Essential Oils for Healing: Over 400 All-Natural Recipes for Everyday Ailments. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016.|