Red Cedarwood Oil: The Healing Wonders of Cedar

red cedarwood oil

Story at-a-glance -

  • Red cedar was used as medicine by Native American tribes who brewed tea made from the tree’s leaves, roots, and berries.
  • Nowadays, red cedarwood oil can be extracted from this tree, which can help treat different illnesses. Discover more about this oil.

What Is Red Cedarwood Oil?

Don't be fooled by the name, but red cedarwood oil comes from a type of juniper tree (Juniperus virginiana),1 a member of the Cupressaceae or cypress family. These trees, which grow up to 30 feet tall, can be found in the U.S. It's commonly known as the eastern redcedar. The essential oil has a fresh woody and slightly bland fragrance.2

Uses of Red Cedarwood Oil

Different societies had their own ways of using this essential oil. In Egyptian and Grecian civilizations, red cedarwood oil was used to embalm bodies. It was also used for medicinal purposes in Asia, and even until now, Tibetan temples use it as incense.3

Red cedarwood oil is also used as an ingredient for room sprays, cleaners, perfumes, herbal antiseptic creams, and as an insect repellent, especially for mosquitoes. Moreover, the essential oil can be used to improve your hair and skin. You can also bank on red cedarwood oil to help heal certain diseases and affect your body's systems in a good way — more of that to come later.

Composition of Red Cedarwood Oil

Red cedarwood oil that's extracted from the juniper found in Virginia is composed of alpha- and beta-cedrenes, γ-eudesmol, cedrol, cedrenol, widdrol, and sesquiterpenes like beta-caryophyllene, thujopsene, beta-elemene, cuparene, and alpha-acaradiene.4,5

Benefits of Red Cedarwood Oil

Red cedarwood oil has numerous benefits. For starters, it can help in the treatment and prevention of:6

  • Eczema, acne, and dandruff
  • Fungal and septic infections
  • Cough and phlegm in the respiratory tract and lungs
  • Headaches, red and watery eyes, and other symptoms of cough and colds
  • Toothaches
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Rheumatism, arthritis, and gout
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Pain and side effects associated with menstruation
  • Restless leg syndrome, respiratory seizures, asthma, and other spasmodic conditions
  • Tension and anxiety

How to Make Red Cedarwood Oil

Red cedarwood oil is obtained via steam distillation of the tree's chopped wood, stumps, logs, wood shavings, or sawdust, yielding about 2.5 to 5 percent.7,8 What's good about this process is that even after extracting the oil, the remaining wood fiber can still be used to create other products.9

How Does Red Cedarwood Oil Work?

Therapeutically, red cedarwood oil can be used through:

Inhalation: Add three to four drops in your diffuser.10

Topically: Apply one to two drops per desired area.

Hair treatments:

For oily hair: Blend three drops of red cedarwood oil and two drops of rosemary oil with one teaspoon of olive oil. Gently massage this mixture onto hair before shampooing.

For dandruff: Mix two to three drops with unscented hair conditioner. Massage onto scalp. Leave on for three to five minutes. Rinse.11

Facial treatment: Add one to two drops to your facial toner or moisturizer.12

Massages: Add two to three drops to one ounce of carrier oil.

Baths: Add eight to 10 drops to your bath water.

Red cedarwood oil blends well with other essential oils like bergamot, jasmine, lavender, rose, and rosemary.

Is Red Cedarwood Oil Safe?

Generally, red cedarwood oil is safe to use, but I advise you to take extra caution should you purchase or begin using it. This oil should never be ingested or come into contact with your eyes, inner portions of your ear, and other sensitive parts of your body. Pregnant women should also refrain from using this essential oil to avoid complications.

Like what I always recommend, consult your doctor and take an allergy patch test before proceeding to use any essential oil therapeutically.

Side Effects of Red Cedarwood Oil

Some of the potential side effects of red cedarwood oil notably when used in high concentrations include:

  • Skin irritation
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Excessive thirst
  • Extensive damage to the digestive system
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