Originally published on Guide to Aromatherapy
There are four main types of cedarwood essential oil, from two different plant families. Atlas Cedarwood and Himalayan Cedarwood are from the Pinaceae family, while Virginian Cedarwood and Texas Cedarwood are from Cupressaceae. Atlas cedarwood and Virginian cedarwood are the oils which are most frequently offered for sale.
All types of cedarwood are generally safe for use in aromatherapy, but none of them should be used by pregnant women or on children under 12 years of age. As with most essential oils, they should be used diluted with a carrier oil for use on the skin. Use a rate of 5 drops essential oil to each 10ml carrier oil or other base.
Cedarwood oils blend well with essential oils from herbs and spices: aniseed, angelica, basil, bay, black pepper, cardamom, carrot seed, celery, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, coriander, dill, fennel, ginger, marjoram, nutmeg, peppermint, rosemary and thyme. Remember to use no more than 4 essential oils to a blend, and that the total number of drops should be the normal 5 drops to each 10ml carrier oil. eg. if you’re blending cedarwood and rosemary into 20ml carrier oil, you would use no more than 5 drops of cedarwood and 5 of rosemary (or 6 and 4, or whatever blend you prefer that adds up to 10, since there’s 20ml carrier oil).
Atlas cedarwood essential oil is also called Atlantic cedar, African cedar, Moroccan cedarwood and libanol. It’s extracted by steam distillation from the wood of Cedrus atlantica. You might also see an absolute or a concrete on sale.
Himalayan cedarwood is extracted from the leaves, twigs and branches of Cedrus deodara by steam distillation. The Himalayan cedar is also called deodar cedar and considered sacred. Because of this, the oil is sometimes used for spiritual purposes.
Atlas and Himalayan cedarwood essential oils are helpful for skin conditions like greasy skin, spots, zits, acne, eczema and dermatitis, also for fungal infections. It is also helpful for dandruff and to help prevent hair loss. Massage into affected areas to relieve arthritis pain, or over the whole body for stress and nervous tension. In an oil burner or electric diffuser, atlas cedarwood is helpful for coughs including bronchitis, catarrh abd congestion. You could also use it as a chest rub for the same purposes.
Texas cedarwood essential oil is extracted from the heartwood and shavings of a felled Juniperus ashei tree (syn. J. mexicana), also called mountain cedar, Mexican cedar and Mexican juniper. The fragrance is like a harsher variant of Virginian cedarwood.
Texas and Virginian cedarwood oils are used for the same purposes as Atlas and Himalayan cedarwood, but can also be used to treat psoriasis, added to shampoo for greasy hair and used as an insect repellent.