Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic, Grade A essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been AFNOR and ISO standardized. There is no quality control in the United States and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. This information is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness.
Essential Oils and Health Highlights
Cedarwood belongs to the Pinaceae (conifer) botanical family.
1. The majority, up to 85%, of Cedarwood’s constituents are sesquiterpenes (alpha, beta, gamma himachalene, and cadinene). Sesquiterpenes are compounds that suppress microbial growth, oxygenate the brain, and have calming properties. In general, sesquiterepenes are soothing to tissues and work as liver and gland stimulants. Some may provide support for modulating pain and decreasing spasms. According to the EDR:
In the early 1990s, research from the universities of Berlin and Vienna showed that sesquiterepenes had the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, with a specific affinity for the pineal and pituitary glands of the brain. These parts of the brain are important for melatonin and hormonal secretion. It was shown that these constituents had the ability to increase oxygenation to these and other parts of the brain by 28% (Nasel, 1992).
2. Cedarwood also contains sesquiterpene alcohols (alantol, alpha-caryophyllenol, beta-cubenol, cedrol, and cedrenol). These constituents are supportive to the immune system, prevent growth of pathogenic organisms, and assist with calming.
3. The final constituents of Cedarwood are sesquiterpene ketones (alpha and beta-alantones). Ketones support tissue and cellular health and assist with respiratory support.
Indications and summary of actions:
Due to its chemical constituents, cedarwood can provide support for skin issues, respiratory issues, protection from microbes, healthy sleeping patterns, hormonal balance, mood and emotional disturbances, and stress. With its high oxygen carrying capacity, cedarwood can support the cardiovascular system and it has been found to be helpful for hair loss!
Cedarwood was traditionally used for purification by the Native Americans. The Egyptians used this sacred oil for embalming their dead. It was used for medicine and incense in Tibet and has many references to healing in the Bible.
Cedarwood is well known to have a calming and sedative effect on the mood. Furthermore, Terry Friedman, MD, found that cedarwood was helpful in changing brain patterns of children with ADD and ADHD in a clinical study, though the sample size skewed its significance.
1. Essential Oils Desk Reference 4th ed. ESP
2. Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide. Young, Gary
3. Reference Guide for Essential Oils. Hiley, C & A.
Additional Properties of Cedarwood in peer-reviewed journals:
4. Dayawansa S, Umeno K, Takakura H, Hori E, Tabuchi E, Nagashima Y, Oosu H, Yada Y, Suzuki T, Ono T, Nishijo H. Autonomic responses during inhalation of natural fragrance of Cedrol in humans.Auton Neurosci. 2003 Oct 31;108(1-2):79-86. PMID: 14614968)
5. Kagawa D, Jokura H, Ochiai R, Tokimitsu I, Tsubone H. The sedative effects and mechanism of action of cedrol inhalation with behavioral pharmacological evaluation.
Planta Med. 2003 Jul;69(7):637-41. PMID: 12898420
6. Friedman M, Henika PR, Mandrell RE. Bactericidal activities of plant essential oils and some of their isolated constituents against Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella enterica.J Food Prot. 2002 Oct;65(10):1545-60. PMID: 12380738
7. Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Arch Dermatol. 1998 Nov;134(11):1349-52.