I have always been drawn to calming essential oils. This is why the “grounding” oils of the pine family have never been absent from my “essential oils wellness- tool kit.” Recently, I was away for the weekend and realized I had forgotten to pack my lavender oil! Uh-oh!
Lavender has been my oil of choice to calm my geeky brain at night and to assist me into drifting into a peaceful night’s sleep. Thankfully, my friend was another oil lover! However, she too was out of lavender! No worries, good came out of this drama. We looked into her oil supply and to my delight, I recognized my old friend, cedarwood.
Back in 2008, I highlighted cedarwood’s many properties. What most people fail to realize is that cedarwood, in its humility, has been a hidden hero in regards to its value for modulating mood and providing oxygenating support to the brain. Specifically, cedarwood is made up of over 50% (approximately 85%) sesquiterpenes (alpha, beta, gamma himachalene, and cadinene). It also contains sesquiterpene alcohols (alantol, alpha-caryophyllenol, beta-cubenol, cedrol, and cedrenol) and sesquiterpene ketones (alpha and beta-alantones). All these sesquiterepenes, oh joy!
There are lots of reasons to be psyched about sesquiterpenes!
Sesquiterpenes are compounds that have been shown to have calming properties. They also can be supportive to the immune system in protecting it from harmful microbes,may decrease inflammation, and may be beneficial in cardiovascular support. Furthermore, their actions can be soothing to tissues and can work as liver and gland stimulants. The additional sesquiterpene side group of ketones can also assist with breaking up mucus and may help stimulant skin repair. Furthermore, sesquiterpene alcohols are tonifying and can be antiseptic.
Supporting Optimal Brain Function
In 1994, research from the universities of Berlin and Vienna demonstrated that sesquiterepenes had the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, influencing the pineal and pituitary glands of the brain. These parts of the brain are involved in 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%.
This means that cedarwood has the potential to modulate hormonal release, assist with sleep, balance moods, and calm the body and mind. It has also been traditionally used for incense and meditation.
Other Uses for Cedarwood
Cedarwood has been shown in some studies to assist with skin issues, hair growth, and support the immune system and respiratory system. 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.
4 Tips on How to Use Cedarwood?
Some of my favorite uses for cedarwood include:
1. I place one drop on the bottom of feet at night to help me sleep. I also mix it with lavender and thieves to receive additional calming support and environmental protection.
2. I inhale it directly from the bottle to calm my mind and decrease anxiety from “information overload.”
3. I use it to help me focus by applying one drop to my temples.
4. I suggest to my clients to diffuse it at night for their children. This is to assist them in calming down after a stimulating day. Also, they can to place it on the bottom of their little feet before school to help with focus, concentration, and mood support.
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- Essential Oils Desk Reference 4th ed. ESP
- Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide. Young, Gary
- Reference Guide for Essential Oils. Hiley, C & A.
Additional Properties of Cedarwood in peer-reviewed journals:
- 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)
- 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
- 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
- Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Arch Dermatol. 1998 Nov;134(11):1349-52. PMID: 9828867
- Chaudhari LK, Jawale BA, Sharma S, Sharma H, Kumar CD, Kulkarni PA.Antimicrobial activity of commercially available essential oils against Streptococcus mutans. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2012 Jan 1;13(1):71-4.PMID: 22430697
- Singh D, Agarwal SK.Himachalol and?-himachalene: Insecticidal principles of himalayan cedarwood oil. J Chem Ecol. 1988 Apr;14(4):1145-51. doi: 10.1007/BF01019342.
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.
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