15 Benefits and Uses of Cedarwood Essential Oil

Cedarwood essential oil has many applications in daily life. From treating hair loss and skin problems to improving sleep quality and fighting fungal infections, this essential oil with warm woody aroma does it all.

This oil contains many beneficial components like alpha cedrene, beta cedrene, cedrol, widdrol, thujopsene which provide many medicinal and health benefits to this oil.


Read on to learn more about cedarwood oil and its well-researched benefits.

What is cedarwood essential oil?

Cedarwood essential oil is extracted through various processes including of steam distillation, carbon dioxide distillation and cold pressing the wood pieces of the cedar wood tree. Cedar trees usually grow in the higher altitudes.

There are many species of cedar wood trees found in the world. However, Eastern Red Cedar, also known as pencil cedar Juniper, is used to make a popular type of essential oil Juniperus Virginiana.

Alpha cedrene, beta cedrene, widdrol, cedrol, thujopsene and a group of sesquiterpenes are the chief components of this oil (1).

These components provide cedarwood oil with antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diuretic, insecticidal and antifungal properties.

Cedarwood oil is yellowish or a bit darker in color. It has an earthy aroma, which is sweet and woody.

History of cedarwood essential oil

We have used cedarwood essential oil since ancient times. In fact, the cedar of Lebanon is believed to be one of the first essential oils to be distilled by man.

The Sumerians considered the cedar tree as the tree of life. They believed God held the energy of the Cosmos in the cedar and that its wood could gift the worthy with power, greatness, and immortality

The Ancient Egyptians used cedarwood oil for embalming their dead. Native American and Tibetans also used this essential oil for its health benefits.

Benefits and uses of cedarwood essential oil

1. Reduces hair loss

Many people who suffer from hair loss resort to medications that may have side effects. Cedarwood essential oil has proven to improve hair growth naturally. Many herbalists also recommend it for treatment of various types of alopecia.

According to a 1998 study, researchers treated 86 patients with alopecia areata with various massage oils including cedarwood oil. The results showed that 44 percent of the patients showed an improvement in their condition after seven months of treatment (2).

Ways to use

  • Mix 2 to 3 drops of cedarwood oil in a spoon of coconut oil and massage on to your scalp. Rinse after an hour.
  • Add a few drops of cedarwood essential oil to your shampoo or hair conditioner.

2. Treats dry and itchy scalp

Cedarwood oil is effective in normalizing dry and itchy scalp. When massaged on to the scalp, cedarwood oil stimulates the scalp and increases circulation. The antifungal and moisturizing properties of this oil are also helpful in improving dandruff and scalp eczema.

Ways to use

  • Mix two drops of cedarwood oil in a spoon of coconut oil and sub it onto your scalp for five minutes. Wash it out after 30 minutes.
  • Add four or five drops of this essential oil to your shampoo or conditioner.

3. Treats eczema

Cedarwood essential oil has antiseborrheic, anti-inflammatory and healing properties that aid in the treatment of seborrheic eczema. This essential oil balances the skin’s sebum production, which helps improve dry, itchy, and flaky eczema patches. It also heals infected skin.

Ways to use

  • Add this essential oil to your skin lotion or soap.
  • Mix it with a carrier oil and rub it on the infected and itchy area.
  • Add four or five drops of this oil to your bath water.

4. Reduces acne breakouts

Cedarwood oil tightens pores, reduces oil buildup and fights acne-causing bacteria. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties make it highly beneficial for treating acne.

According to a case report published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, adding cedarwood to traditional treatment for acne helped in alleviating stubborn acne breakouts.

Ways to use

  • Add two or three drops of this oil to five teaspoons of noncomedogenic carrier oil and apply it on the affected skin.
  • Wash it after 20 minutes. Do this two or three times a week.
  • Add a few drops of this oil to your face scrub.

5. Disinfects wounds

Cedarwood essential oil is a natural antiseptic. It prevents the growth of harmful that can affect skin health (3). When applied in diluted form to topical wounds, it prevents infections.

Ways to use

  • Add a few drops of cedarwood oil to an antiseptic cream.
  • Add a few drops to coconut oil and dab on to the wounds.

6. Treats fungal infections

Cedarwood essential oil has antifungal properties that help treat athlete’s foot and nail fungus. It also protects you from fungal pathogens and food poisoning.

According to a 2012 study, pure essential oils including cedarwood oil are effective in controlling both bacteria and yeast responsible for oral infections (4).

Ways to use

  • Dilute this oil with a carrier oil and apply on the affected area.

7. Eases symptoms of arthritis

The presence of anti-inflammatory compounds in cedarwood essential oil makes it highly effective in reducing joint pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. Many topical pain relievers for joint and muscle pain also contain cedarwood essential oils.

When this essential oil is massaged into the skin and inhaled simultaneously, it helps reduce joint and tissue inflammation and reduce the perception of pain.

Ways to use

  • Apply diluted cedarwood oil to the painful joints.
  • Add 5 to 10 drops of this oil to your bathwater.

8. Clears toxins of the body

Cedarwood oil has natural diuretic abilities. It contains bioactive sesquiterpenes like cedrol, beta-cedrene, and thujopsene, which exert diuretic activities (5).

This means cedarwood oil can induce frequent urination, which flushes away toxins and water trapped in the body.

Ways to use

  • Massage diluted cedarwood oil over your kidneys and bladder.

9. Provides cough relief

The natural sedative properties of cedarwood oil provide relief from respiratory problems like asthma and chronic coughing. Its antispasmodic abilities provide relief from cough. It also helps get rid of stubborn phlegm in the respiratory tract.

Ways to use

  • Rub some diluted cedarwood oil to your throat and chest.
  • Breathe in the oil deeply.

10. Relieves anxiety and stress

According to a 2018 study, cedrol in cedarwood oil has a soothing effect on mood and helps in reducing anxiety and stress (6). Another study from Japan showed that cedarwood oil has a sedative effect when inhaled (7).

Unlike other antidepressants, cedarwood oil is natural and does not cause any side effects.

Ways to use

  • Diffuse this oil in a diffuser.

11. Improves sleep

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, cedarwood oil is the answer for you. Its sedative properties induce total body relaxation and alleviate insomnia.

When you use this oil in aromatherapy, it facilitates the release of serotonin, which is converted to melatonin by the brain to promote uninterrupted and restorative sleep.

Ways to use

  • Diffuse this oil in your home around your sleep time.
  • Add a few drops to your bath water and take a relaxing bath before you sleep.

12. Reduces symptoms of ADHD

According to a recent study, inhaling cedarwood or vetiver can improve memory and focus in people with ADHD. According to D. Terry S. Friedman, using cedarwood oil on children can significantly improve their focus and learning capacity.

During this study, children diagnosed with ADHD were given cedarwood, vetiver or lavender oil and asked to inhale it three times a day by opening the bottle close to their nostrils and taking deep breaths.

The results showed a significant improvement of symptoms in both vetiver and cedarwood group (8).

13. Regulates menstruation

If you suffer from irregular menses, cedarwood oil can help. It stimulates the flow of blood to the pelvic region and regulates the periods. It also helps lower PMS symptoms like fatigue, abdominal cramps, nausea, and mood swings.

Ways to use

  • Apply diluted cedarwood oil to the abdomen and soles of the feet.

14. Insect repellent

Cedrol, an active component of cedarwood oil is very useful in keeping bugs away. Be it fleas, ticks, moths, or ants; cedarwood oil keeps them all at bay.

Apply it on your skin or on surfaces to keep the bugs away. The anti-inflammatory properties of cedarwood oil also help in treating itchy insect bites.

Ways to use

  • Dilute and use on your skin.
  • Dilute it in water and spray it on surfaces.
  • Add cedarwood oil to cotton balls and place them in your closets to keep moths away.

15. Deodorizer

Cedarwood oil has an earthy woody aroma, which has a pleasant and soothing effect. When used around the home, it freshens the air and acts as a natural deodorizer.

Ways to use

  • Diffuse a few drops using a diffuser.
  • Dilute in water and spray in the air.

Precautions and side effects

Cedarwood oil can cause nausea, vomiting, and damage to the digestive system when used internally. So avoid using cedarwood oil internally.


Always dilute cedarwood essential oil with a carrier oil or water before you use it topically. This oil can cause skin irritation if used without dilution.

Test this oil on a small patch of your skin before using it for the first time.

Pregnant women and children should avoid using it.

Final thoughts

Cedarwood essential oil is extracted from the wood pieces of the cedar wood tree. It contains alpha cedrene, beta cedrene, cedrol, widdrol, thujopsene and a group of sesquiterpenes that provide it numerous beneficial properties.

Always dilute cedarwood oil before use and never use it internally.


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