What if we told you that a few drops of a certain oil wields the ability to relieve you of stress? Or even augment the health of your skin? What if a dollop of this oil, smeared onto your scalp, promotes the growth of your hair? It’s fascinating how a yellow-coloured liquid extracted from the needles, barks, leaves, and cherries of a tree - we are talking about the cedar tree in this case - packs within itself a medley of benefits. If it isn’t evident already, we’re referring to cedarwood essential oil, and the bewildering spectrum of benefits it endows upon our bodies - from disinfecting wounds, treating insomnia, and tightening muscles to stabilising the menstruation cycle, relieving arthritis-related pain, and stimulating hair growth, this oil is an understated skincare, haircare, and health saviour. We’ve roped in Dr. Niketa Sonavane, Celebrity Dermatologist and Founder of Ambrosia Aesthetics, Mumbai, to truly understand this woody-scented phenomenon, and deep-dive into its benefits, uses, and types before you contemplate tucking a bottle in your cabinet.
- What is Cedarwood Essential Oil?
- Types of Cedarwood Essential Oil
- Benefits of Cedarwood Essential Oil
- How Do We Use Cedarwood Essential Oil?
- Precautions Before Using Cedarwood Essential Oil
What is Cedarwood Essential Oil?
What’s an essential oil? An essential oil is extracted from the compounds of a plant - leaves, barks, roots, rinds, and seeds - and distilled into that bottle nestled in the far-reaching recesses of your cabinet through different methods. These oils are laced with the essence, scent, and flavour of the plants they’re sourced from, and play an important role in aromatherapy; but they’re also known to reduce inflammation, liberate you from stress, and repel bacterial infections - among a host of other things.
Cedarwood essential oil, as the name suggests, is classified as an essential oil. Infused with a woodsy scent, there are multiple variations of cedarwood essential oils - since they’re extracted from different varieties of cedar trees. Because each of their chemical compounds are distinct, they’re employed for specific purposes; most of them share similar benefits like they offer support to the respiratory system, offer relief from negative emotions, and so much more. In other words, this oil is enriched with the ability to deliver skincare, haircare, and overall health benefits to us. According to Dr. Sonavane, the most important oils are obtained by distilling the woody bark of a variety of junipers and cypresses - rather than true cedars.
“Cedarwood essential oil is well-known for its sweet and woody scent, which is warm, comforting and sedative. It naturally promotes stress relief. This aromatic wood scent may remind you of pencil shavings which are frequently made from cedar - or a stroll through the deodar trees in the Himalayas,” explains Dr. Sonavane.
Types of Cedarwood Essential Oil
Atlas cedarwood is known to treat acne, respiratory problems, cough, dandruff, joint inflammation, hair loss, acne, scalp disorders, cellulite, chest infections, anxiety, and stress. It’s commonly used as a scent in colognes and perfumes.
Virginian cedarwood is associated with its ability to treat stress, anxiety, and nervousness. Just like Atlas cedarwood, though, it can treat acne-ridden skin - and because it’s packed with anti-inflammatory properties, it can help with itching and redness as well as conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It reduces the appearance of dry skin too and treats respiratory infections.
Replete with anti-inflammatory properties, this kind of cedarwood relieves muscle pain and aches.
Himalayan cedarwood functions as a stimulant as well as an antiseptic. It supports the emotional as well as the hormonal balance of the body and supports the respiratory system. Pregnant women, though, must steer clear of this type of oil as it can interact with hormones.
The sweet-scented Texas cedarwood rids you of skin, hair, and circulatory issues. It has the ability to ward off negative emotions, and strengthen your immunity too.
Benefits of Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedarwood essential oil contains anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties that enable it to treat irritated skin as well as conditions like acne and eczema. It has a natural wound-healing quality, making it ideal for use on scrapes, cuts, and other abrasions that require disinfection, says Dr. Sonavane. It prevents them from becoming septic, and protects them from tetanus germs. Cedarwood Oil is known as a tonic for overall wellness because it supports the health and function of the organs, particularly the brain, liver, and kidney. Since it is loaded with antioxidant properties, it rids your skin of dullness, and keeps signs of premature ageing at bay. It balances the epidermis’ production of sebum (oil), and this reduces breakouts, pigmentation, and blemishes.
This oil is known to boost hair growth and treat various types of alopecia - a disorder that causes hair loss. A scalp massage with cedarwood essential oil is linked to increased circulation to the head - this nourishes and oxygenates the roots of the hair, and stimulates growth. It cleanses the scalp, and according to Dr. Sonavane, rids it of any dryness, itchiness, and flakiness through its moisturising properties. She suggests mixing four to five drops of cedarwood oil into your shampoo or conditioner too.
Cedarwood essential oil is laced with a fragrance that works toward alleviating stress and anxiety, and soothing the mind - along with helping you focus better. Its sedative properties are known to help you sleep better - so if you’re suffering from insomnia, this oil can induce a night of restorative and undisturbed sleep. A topical application of the oil can relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Rubbing the oil on your chest and throat before sleeping can relieve cough, headaches, and watery eyes, and if you have a stuffy nose, applying a little on your upper lip can help you breathe better. This oil can relieve spasms concerning the intestine, muscles, heart, and nerves. If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, respiratory seizures, asthma, and other spasmodic conditions, cedarwood essential oil can offer relief. It functions as a diuretic too - which means that it can help with conditions like urinary tract infections, hypertension, arthritis, rheumatism, high blood pressure, and obesity. It increases the frequency of urination, and this, in turn, rids your body of excess water and toxins - which prevents the occurrence of the above-mentioned conditions. If your menstruation cycle is irregular, cedarwood works as an emmenagogue, and stimulates menstruation while regulating your cycle. It can also eliminate side-effects like nausea, pain, cramps, fatigue, and mood swings since it impacts the hormonal function of various glands in the endocrine system. And because it’s an astringent, it can help tighten loose muscles, relieve toothache, treat diarrhoea, and protect the skin from toxins and bacteria. According to Dr. Sonavane, you should try applying cedarwood oil to pimples, blackheads, or whiteheads as a spot treatment. Its firming properties help to reduce the appearance of ageing signs such as loose and wrinkly skin.
How Do We Use Cedarwood Essential Oil?
If you’re using the oil as a scent, just diffuse it around your room. And if you’re applying it to your hair, just massage a few drops into your scalp. You can add a few drops to your toner or moisturiser for added clarifying properties as well. Dr. Sonavane suggests diluting the concoction before introducing it to any part of our body, “Because applying the essential oil in its concentrated form to the skin can cause significant irritation, it should be diluted in a carrier oil - such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, or argan oil - before applying it topically to the skin. Also, test it on a small area of skin first to see if your skin reacts to it. Mix one drop of the essential oil in four drops of a carrier oil, and apply it to a small area on the inside of your forearm. Watch the area for signs of irritation for about 48 hours.”
Precautions Before Using Cedarwood Essential Oil
Apart from ensuring that you’re diluting the oil, Dr. Sonavane reiterates that the formula should never be used near the eyes, inner nose, ears, or on any other areas of skin that are particularly sensitive; irritation, nausea, and vomiting are potential side-effects. Other than that, pregnant and nursing women should avoid using cedarwood essential oil - it may interfere with certain hormone secretions, and it is unknown whether it is safe for the fetus. Don’t attempt to ingest the oil either - it can cause damage to your internal organs as well as your digestive system, vomiting, and excessive thirst. Don’t use the oil if you’re allergic to cedar. Always read the instructions at the back of the product before incorporating it into your routine.
What can I mix with cedarwood essential oil?
If you’re using the essential oil on your skin or hair, you must dilute it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, or argan oil. Even chamomile oil and rosemary oil works. Mix a drop of this oil with about four drops of one of the carrier oils, and apply on the body. If you’re using cedarwood essential oil as a diffuser, you can blend it with lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, and cypress.
What’s the difference between cedarwood and cedar?
Cedarwood is the wood of the cedar tree, and cedar is simply a genus of coniferous trees in the plant family Pinaceae.
What’s the best essential oil for anxiety?
There are multiple essential oils that calm your anxiety. That’s the power of aromatherapy. Lavender oil, jasmine oil, sweet basil oil, rose oil, chamomile oil, and vetiver are a few of the best essential oils out there.