This North American tree scents soap and cologne, although it has lost popularity since the 19th century, when even cedarwood “matches” were burned for their scent. The oil makes the wood resistant to wool moths and other insects.
Extraction: Distilled from the wood. Resinoid, absolute. It has a soft, woodsy scent.
Medicinal Action: Antiseptic cedar treats respiratory and urinary infections.
Cosmetic/Skin Use: Cedarwood is an astringent for oily and congested skin conditions, acne and dandruff. It relieves dermatitis, insect bites and itching.
Emotional Attribute: Cedar increases emotional fortitude, self-respect and integrity, and stabilizes emotions by “grounding” an individual. It enhances meditative relaxation, intuitive work, and relieves stress, tension, aggression and emotional dependency.
Considerations: All cedars are best avoided during pregnancy.
Moroccan Cedar (C. Libani) –This is the legendary fragrant “cedar of Lebanon” once prized by Meso-potamians and other ancient cultures. The Phoenicians became rich controlling the forests and building ships for the Egyptians. After more than a thousand years of overharvesting, there are no longer enough trees to distill.
Atlas Cedar (C. atlantica) –This cedar oil comes from the Atlas Mountains in North Africa. With its pinelike scent closely resembling Moroccan cedarwood, it is considered the best cedar on the market.
Tibetan Cedarwood (C. deodara) –Also called “Himalayan cedarwood,” Tibetan cedarwood has a warm, almost spicy fragrance and is the least toxic of all cedar oils. It is popular in India, where it grows wild.
Thuja (Thuja occidentalis) –Known as “cedar leaf” or “arbor vitae,” this oil is distilled from leaves, twigs and bark. It contains the skin irritant thujene, which eliminates warts. It also contains thujone, a neurotoxic ketone, so it shouldn’t be used by anyone prone to seizures. Thuja treats pelvic congestion, enlarged prostate, condyloma virus and urinary infections, but is potentially very toxic, so use with supervision or in tincture form. See also Juniper.