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Cedarwood Profile

Cedarwood Oil Data: Juniperus virginiana(or Red/Eastern Red Cedar)

Botannical Family: Cupressaceae

Chemical Families:

Sesquiterpenes. Sesquiterpenols

Sourced: USA ~ Wild Crafted ~ Steam Distilled from: Wood

Shelf life: 7 years

Aromatic notes – gentle, woody and resinous tones with a dry, peppery radiance with a lovely balsamic undertone.

Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) has a funny little secret – it’s not cedar. Now, you may have guessed already that it is (as its Latin name indicates) a Juniper. So if someone says to you “Keep that away from me, I’m allergic to Cedar!”? You can smile and say “No problem! It’s not cedar.” Other than the name, there is nothing silly at all about Cedarwood (Jv). Traditional medicinal use goes back many centuries straight through to many medical studies today. Due to specific constituents, it is effective in many emotional and physical applications. One such study notes

“Cedrol, β-cedrene, and thujopsene are bioactive sesquiterpenes found in cedar essential oil and exert antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, tonic, astringent, diuretic, sedative, insecticidal, and antifungal activities.“1

Cedarwood has a very light, even subtle scent. On it’s own, it is a gentle friend. In a blend, it is a supporting player. But make no mistake, Cedarwood’s actions are potent. A scenario illustrating the personality of Cedarwood could go like are staring down the harsh reality of another grueling commute and soft-spoken Cedarwood is there with you firmly saying “Look, take a few deep breaths and remember you are doing good. Let’s be intentional about inner peace.”

Then you can consider all the benefits Cedarwood offers. While you are slowly and steadily progressing on your journey (with your faithful diffuser by your side) every deep and steady breath you take offers a host of benefits to help undo stress as well as the host of immunological symptoms stress produces. While stress depresses the immune system, the components in Cedarwood help support the immune system. While stress triggers inflammatory responses in the body, Cedarwood helps trigger anti-inflammatory responses. Stress fosters nervous system overload. Cedarwood acts as a Central Nervous System sedative. It can even be helpful to achieve more restful and deeper sleep. And there’s more.

Cedarwood has a long history of beneficial uses in wellness and skin care. With its combined anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, astringent, and wound healing actions Cedarwood is very effective for acne, general wounds like scratches and big bites, and has even been studied as an effective skin treatment for MRSA, Alopecia, and soothing to Eczema. Because of its decongestant and expectorant properties, it is a favorite aromatherapy treatment for upper respiratory ailments.

The main constituent in Cedarwood (Jv), a-Cedrene (or alpha-Cedrene), has been linked to “skeletal muscle mass and strength” and helpful in reducing pain and inflammation in such ailments as arthritis.

Research on the components found in Cedarwood have shown specific beneficial actions in a myriad of ways (as seen below in the Chemical Families Profile). Its range of aromatic notes give it a surprising spectrum for such an understated aroma. It is definitely one of the more warm, welcome, woody scents of tree oils and a staple for your aromatherapy cabinet.

Energetic Properties – grounding, purifying, settling, fosters resilience and adaptability under stress.

Therapeutic Properties – Cedarwood has a broad spectrum of physiological and emotional actions:

analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, anxiolytic, astringent, CNS sedative, decongestant, diuretic, expectorant, hair growth, hypotensive, insecticide, mucolytic, tonic, wound healing.

Chemical Families Profile


a-cedrene (21-38%), thujopsene (21-24%), b-cedrene (8-9%), B-himachalene (2%)


Cedrol (12-22%)


Cedarwood is not recommended for ingestion. Recommended uses include inhalation and topical use with proper dilution and guidelines.

Has been known to be adulterated with Chinese cedarwood oil.

No known Hazards or contraindications at this time. Many sources recommend avoiding during pregnancy and though there is no conclusive evidence to support this, caution is always good.

More safety info is available at

Common uses:

  • Add one or two drops to a cotton ball or bottom of a shot glass and inhale slowly and deeply for several minutes to help clear sinus congestion (or inhale straight from the bottle).

  • Add 6 – 10 drops per ounce of carrier oil for a stress and pain relief massage.

  • Add 6 -12 drops to an ounce of carrier oil to rub on stiff or sore achy muscles. Applied in the morning can help you get going easier and in the evening can help with more comfortable sleep.

  • Add a drop to your shampoo or conditioner to reduce dandruff or to support hair growth.

  • Inhale straight from the bottle (or make an inhaler) or place a couple drops on a tissue and place inside your pillow case for more restful sleep.

  • Inhale or diffuse for stress relief

  • Add a drop or two to a diffuser necklace or patch for immune support or for revitalization.

  • add a 4-6 drops per ounce of alcohol based hand sanitizer and spritz on clothes to repel ticks and fleas. It is an effective insecticide when used directly on insects.

Sources & Studies:

Aromahead Insatitute

Tumen I, Süntar I, Eller FJ, Keleş H, Akkol EK. Topical wound-healing effects and phytochemical composition of heartwood essential oils of Juniperus virginiana L., Juniperus occidentalis Hook., and Juniperus ashei J. Buchholz. J Med Food. 2013 Jan;16(1):48-55. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.2472. PMID: 23297713.

Zhang K, Yao L. The anxiolytic effect of Juniperus virginiana L. essential oil and determination of its active constituents. Physiol Behav. 2018 May 15;189:50-58. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.01.004. Epub 2018 Jan 8. PMID: 29326032.

Sabine JR. Exposure to an environment containing the aromatic red cedar, Juniperus virginiana: procarcinogenic, enzyme-inducing and insecticidal effects. Toxicology. 1975 Nov;5(2):221-35. doi: 10.1016/0300-483x(75)90119-5. PMID: 174251.

1)Jeong HU, Kwon SS, Kong TY, Kim JH, Lee HS. Inhibitory effects of cedrol, β-cedrene, and thujopsene on cytochrome P450 enzyme activities in human liver microsomes. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2014;77(22-24):1522-32. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2014.955906. PMID: 25343299.

Wang M, Zhao L, Chen K, Shang Y, Wu J, Guo X, Chen Y, Liu H, Tan H, Qiu SX. Antibacterial sesquiterpenes from the stems and roots of Thuja sutchuenensis. Bioorg Chem. 2020 Mar;96:103645. doi: 10.1016/j.bioorg.2020.103645. Epub 2020 Feb 1. PMID: 32036166.

Wang JW, Chen SS, Zhang YM, Guan J, Su GY, Ding M, Li W, Zhao YQ. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity based on polymorphism of cedrol in mice. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2019 May;68:13-18. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2019.02.005. Epub 2019 Feb 13. PMID: 30852303.

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. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2003.08.002. PMID: 14614968.

Darwish RS, Hammoda HM, Ghareeb DA, Abdelhamid ASA, Bellah El Naggar EM, Harraz FM, Shawky E. Efficacy-directed discrimination of the essential oils of three Juniperus species based on their in-vitro antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities. J Ethnopharmacol. 2020 Sep 15;259:112971. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2020.112971. Epub 2020 May 18. PMID: 32439404.

Hassoun LA, Ornelas JN, Sivamani RK. Cedarwood Oil as Complementary Treatment in Refractory Acne. J Altern Complement Med. 2016 Mar;22(3):252-3. doi: 10.1089/acm.2015.0208. Epub 2016 Feb 24. PMID: 26910133.

Tong T, Kim M, Park T. α-Cedrene, a Newly Identified Ligand of MOR23, Increases Skeletal Muscle Mass and Strength. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Aug;62(15):e1800173. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201800173. Epub 2018 Jul 13. PMID: 29901851.

Johnston WH, Karchesy JJ, Constantine GH, Craig AM. Antimicrobial activity of some Pacific Northwest woods against anaerobic bacteria and yeast. Phytother Res. 2001 Nov;15(7):586-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.765. PMID: 11746838.


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