The Benefits of Cedar Essential Oil

Cedar essential oil is a type of essential oil commonly used in aromatherapy (a form of alternative medicine). Sometimes referred to as cedarwood essential oil, it's sourced from the wood of the cedar tree (Cedrus atlantica). With a rich and woody aroma, cedar essential oil is said to offer a variety of benefits for mental and physical health.

How Does Cedar Essential Oil Work?

In aromatherapy, inhaling the aroma of cedar essential oil (or absorbing cedar essential oil through the skin) is thought to transmit messages to a brain region involved in controlling emotions.

Known as the limbic system, this brain region also influences the nervous system. Aromatherapy proponents suggest that essential oils may affect a number of biological factors, including heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function.

Uses for Cedar Essential Oil

In aromatherapy, cedar essential oil is typically used for the following health problems:

In addition, cedar essential oil is said to reduce stress.

Health Benefits of Cedar Essential Oil

Despite its long history of use in aromatherapy, cedar essential oil has been tested in very few scientific studies. However, there's some evidence that cedar essential oil may provide certain benefits. Here's a look at some findings from the available research on cedar essential oil:

1) Alopecia Areata

Cedar essential oil may aid in the treatment of alopecia areata, according to a study published in Archives of Dermatology in 1998.

For the study, 86 people with alopecia areata were split into two groups: one group massaged a blend of essential oils (including thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedar) and carrier oils (jojoba and grapeseed) into their scalp each day, while the second group massaged their scalps with carrier oils only (also daily).

After seven months, 44 percent of the 43 patients in the aromatherapy group showed improvement (compared to just 15 percent of the 41 patients in the carrier-oil group). Given these findings, the study's authors conclude that aromatherapy appears to be a safe and effective treatment for alopecia areata.

Find out about other remedies for alopecia areata.

2) Insect Repellent

For a study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology in 1999, scientists tested five essential oils (including cedar, geranium, clove, peppermint, and thyme) for their effectiveness as mosquito repellent. Although cedar essential oil failed to repel mosquitoes, researchers found that thyme and clove oils provided up to three and a half hours of protection.

Learn more about using essential oils as insect repellents.

How to Use Cedar Essential Oil

When combined with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado), cedar essential oil can be applied directly to the skin or added to baths.

Cedar essential oil can also be inhaled after sprinkling a few drops of the oil onto a cloth or tissue, or through use of an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer.

Caveats

Cedar essential oil should not be taken internally without the supervision of a health professional. Internal use of cedar essential oil may have toxic effects.

Additionally, some individuals may experience irritation when applying cedar essential oil to the skin. A skin patch test should be done before using any new essential oil. 

The oil should not be applied at full-strength to the skin or used in excessive amounts.

Pregnant women and children should consult their primary health care providers prior to using essential oils.

Learn more about how to use cedar essential oil safely.

Where To Find It

Here are some tips on purchasing essential oils.

Widely available for purchase online, cedar essential oil is sold in many natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in self-care products.

Using Cedar Essential Oil for Health

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend cedar essential oil as a treatment for any condition. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using it for any health purpose, make sure to consult your physician first.

Sources

Barnard DR. "Repellency of essential oils to mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae)." J Med Entomol. 1999 Sep;36(5):625-9.

Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD. "Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata." Arch Dermatol. 1998 Nov;134(11):1349-52.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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