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Cedarwood oil: Uses and benefits

cedarwood oil in a glass on a wood background
There are all sorts of different essential oils out there. Among them is cedar oil or cedarwood essential oil. In terms of the origins of this particular oil, the name gives it away somewhat. Cedarwood essential oil is created from elements of cedar trees – the needles, the leaves, the bark and the berries.1 Cedar oil tends to be made from these four cedar trees - Himalayan Cedarwood, Atlas Cedarwood, Texan Cedarwood and the Virginian Cedarwood.2

How is it made?

As with most essential oils, cedar oil is extracted from the cedar tree elements in a number of ways, which include steam distillation, cold pressing and dioxide distillation.3

How long have people been using cedar oil for?

For a very long time. Himalayan Cedarwood and Atlas Cedarwood are reportedly the very first essentials oils to have ever been distilled for things such as medicine, cosmetics and incense.4 In terms of its historical roots, cedarwood essential oil:
  • Is often mentioned in the Bible and is said to symbolise protection, wisdom and abundance
  • Was used in the Ancient Egyptian mummification process, alongside other essential oils, such as thyme and peppermint 
  • Was used by the Native Americans to enhance spiritual communication, reduce anger and promote positive feelings5

How can it be used?

Cedarwood oil can be used in lots of different ways. You can:
  1. Inhale it - Either breathe it in directly from the bottle or sprinkle some droplets on to a towel or cloth and pop it under your pillow.6
  2. Apply it - Directly to your skin to help with pimples, blackheads or whiteheads. (Note – make sure you dilute it first).7
  3. Massage it - Mix it with a carrier oil and massage it into your scalp or skin.8
  4. Sprinkle it - On your skin or clothes (be sure to dilute it first) to help repel fleas, ticks and moths.9
  5. Diffuse it - Put some drops in a room diffuser so that you can inhale the aroma.10
  6. Bathe in it - Run a warm bath, add 4 to 6 drops of oil and disperse with your hand. Then relax in the bath for at least 10 minutes to allow the aroma to work.11

Cedarwood essential oil benefits

Cedarwood oil has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antifungal and insecticidal properties. As a result, there are lots of benefits to using it, including these five:
  1. Helps with hair loss - according to a study published in Archives of Dermatology in 1998, cedar essential oil is a safe and effective treatment for alopecia areata.12
  2. Repel insects - cedarwood essential oil is a natural insect repellent because insects, such as mosquitos and fleas, hate the aroma and are repelled by it.1
  3. Treat flaky skin – when mixed with a carrier oil14 (e.g. coconut, jojoba, apricot kernel, sweet almond, olive, argan, rosehip, black seed, avocado or sunflower oil) cedar oil can help treat dandruff and dryness.15
  4. Promote sleep – cedar oil’s known to have sedative qualities that can help induce sleep. Diffuse or inhale it or enjoy a cedar oil bath just before bed.16 (Try this – 5 drops of cedar oil, 4 drops of lavender oil and 1 drop of vetiver oil).17
  5. Reduce inflammation – due to its anti-inflammatory properties, cedarwood oil has been shown to reduce joint and muscle inflammation.18

How to use it safely

As we’ve mentioned above, always dilute cedar oil before applying it topically and do a patch test to it make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin. Like all essential oils, cedarwood oil can be dangerous if swallowed. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to use it.19

Some interesting facts about cedar oil

  • It blends well with these oils - benzoin, bergamot, cinnamon, cypress, juniper, frankincense, lemon, jasmine, lime, rose, lavender, rosemary and neroli20
  • The ancient Sumerians used cedarwood oil as a base for creating paint21
  • You’ll find it in some cleaning, sprays, perfumes and antiseptic products22
  • You can use it as an aftershave – because of its woody, earthy scent23
  • It also works as a natural deodorant– simply combine it with baking soda and corn starch.24 (For more on natural homemade deodorants, check out this article, ‘Make your own natural homemade deodorant.’)
  • It’s great for getting rid of rubbish smells – put some in a spray bottle and then spray it where the smells are25
  • It can shift stubborn chest phlegm – simply by rubbing a few diluted drops of oil on to your throat and chest and breathing the scent in deeply26


1 https://www.healthline.com/health/cedarwood-essential-oil
2 https://upnature.com/blogs/news/21-miraculous-uses-for-cedarwood-essential-oil
3 https://www.healthline.com/health/cedarwood-essential-oil
4 https://upnature.com/blogs/news/21-miraculous-uses-for-cedarwood-essential-oil
5 https://www.decleor.co.uk/blogs/cedarwood.html#:~:text=History%20of%20Cedarwood%20Essential%20Oil&text=In%20fact%2C%20it%20was%20said,the%20Ancient%20Egyptian%20mummification%20process.
6 https://www.healthline.com/health/cedarwood-essential-oil#uses
7 https://www.healthline.com/health/cedarwood-essential-oil#uses
8 https://www.healthline.com/health/cedarwood-essential-oil#uses
9 https://www.healthline.com/health/cedarwood-essential-oil#uses
10 https://upnature.com/blogs/news/21-miraculous-uses-for-cedarwood-essential-oil
11 https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/miaroma-cedarwood-pure-essential-oil-60060184
12 https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-benefits-of-cedar-essential-oil-88775
13 https://upnature.com/blogs/news/21-miraculous-uses-for-cedarwood-essential-oil
14 https://www.healthline.com/health/carrier-oil#rosehip-oil
15 https://www.healthline.com/health/cedarwood-essential-oil
16 https://www.healthline.com/health/cedarwood-essential-oil
17 https://www.youngliving.com/blog/cedarwood-obsessed-over-5-ways-to-use-it/
18 https://www.decleor.co.uk/blogs/cedarwood.html
19 https://www.healthline.com/health/cedarwood-essential-oil#uses
20 https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/red-cedar-essential-oil/
21 https://sciencing.com/cedar-vs-white-cedar-8766975.html
22 https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/red-cedar-essential-oil/ 
23 https://www.healthline.com/health/cedarwood-essential-oil#uses 
24 https://upnature.com/blogs/news/21-miraculous-uses-for-cedarwood-essential-oil 
25 https://upnature.com/blogs/news/21-miraculous-uses-for-cedarwood-essential-oil 
26 https://www.aromafoundry.com/blogs/aroma-foundry/cedarwood-essential-oil-uses-description-recipes-precautions
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