Evergreen, stoic, and ancients, cedarwood contains the spirit of the ancients. It is a steward for the forest, exuding the vigor of the universe.  Cedar has been referred as the tree of life. one encounter with it's evergreen, woody aroma and you'll know why.  Cedar calls us back to nature, grounding us in our humanity.


When you smell the aroma of the cedar tree or gaze upon it standing in the forest, remember 

that if you are Tsalagi {Cherokee}, you are looking upon your ancestor.

Juniperus virginiana

As common as cedar trees are, it is surprising that there are only four true species of cedar. Atlas, Himalayan, Cyprian, and lebanon cedar are spread across the globe and are all ancient species in their own right. Many of the trees we refer to in North American as a cedar tree isn't in the Cedrus genus at all. Most are in the Cypress, pine, and juniper families. These trees have been sacred to indigonus peoples across the Americas for both their medicine and their resources. 

Cedars, or cedars' great grandmother, have been in the Americas long before antiquity began. Plant fossils show that a tree like the western red cedar has been growing around the northwest for as long as 50 million years. Cedars are

coniferous trees. Many species can grow 89 feet to 120 feet tall.

The essential oil, and thus the plant we're specifically profiling today is Juniperus virginiana. This plant is also known as red cedar, eastern red cedar, Virginian juniper, or eastern juniper.  It is a "false cedar", being a species of juniper native to eastern North America. You can find this lovely tree from southeastern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and east of the Great Plains. Even though it's technically a juniper this tree still belongs amongst the ancients. The oldest virginian cedar reported was a whopping 940 years old. 

The eastern red cedar gets its name from reddish-brown, fibrous bark. 

Eastern juniper is a pioneer species. This means if land is damaged by fire, eroded, or just cleared this tree is one of the first to move back into the neighborhood. They are the first to increase the biodiversity in an area, bringing life back into the region. Red cedar is so good at growing that it has become invasive in some areas. Indigenous cultures controlled the population with controlled fires. 

Fun Facts

Cedarwood is a traditional medicine in numerous Native American tribes. Many burn it during purification rituals. 

The heartwood was once almost exclusively the source of wood for pencils. 

Cedarwood is what traditional Cherokee drums are made from. 

Cedarwood was use in the embalming process in Egypt. Cedar trees are believed to have originated from the Egyptian god Osiris. 

Cedar was commonly used to build temples in antiquity, including King Solomon's temple. 

Because of its resistance to decay, fence posts are fashioned from the wood. 

Moths don't like cedarwood so it is commonly used to line clothes chests and closets.

Native American tribes have historically used poles of juniper wood to demarcate agreed tribal hunting territories. French traders named Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which denotes "red stick", from the reddish color of these poles. 

Cedar is a traditional decoration for Yule logs. 



Cedars are dioecious, meaning you need two of the opposite sex if you want them to pollinate. 

Seed propagation has a low yield, so if you are trying to grow cedar from seed, make sure to show a lot of plants. It is best to show the seeds in the fall. You can also propagate cedar from cuttings. You can also go to a nursery and just buy a baby tree. 

Once it's planted, cedar is not fussy. It is quick to grow and thrives in even inhospitable conditions. Their preference ranges from full sun to shade. They do prefer a dryer soil, but can also handle occasional flooding. 

Remember these babies grow big. Make sure to plant them at least 5 feet from any buildings and six feet away from each other. 

Cedarwood Essential Oil Info

Cedarwood Essential Oil Info

As previously mentioned, there are many different types of cedarwood. Atlas, Virginian, Himalayan, Texas and Chinese are just some of the variety of essential oils you find on the market. Some of these are technically "false cedars". However, the chemical composition of the essential oils are so similar they are considered cedarwood. 

We use virginian cedarwood in our blends, for a variety of reasons. Atlas cedarwood, or Atlantic cedar, is a very popular essential oil and comes from a true cedar. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, however, lists this tree as an endangered species. It’s not a restricted tree, which means it can still be harvested and sold.

Because Atlas Cedarwood is considered endangered we don’t use it. 

Properties of Cedarwood Essential Oil:

Anti-Inflammatory, Antifungal, Anti-Seborrheic, Astringent, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, Antiseptic, Calming, Detoxifying, Emmenagogue, Expectorant, Insecticidal, Sedative, Stimulating, Soothing, Tonic, Restorative

Cedarwood Card

Skin and Hair

Cedarwood is wonderful for your skin and hair. Cedarwood and rosemary would be a wonderful combination for hair care. First of all, cedarwood promotes hair growth and soothes a dry scalp. Actually, cedarwood is good on any dry skin, not just the stuff on your head. Cedarwood treats dry, cracked, and peeling skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties help with skin irritation, inflammation, redness and itching. It is also a wonderful choice to help ease the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.  Cedarwood also regulates sebum production and has powerful antibacterial properties. This makes it a powerful treatment for acne and breakouts. Speaking of anti-inflammatory, cedarwood is a good oil to have in your first aid kit. It is useful in treating wounds, while preventing infection. Its antibacterial nature also makes it a good addition in natural deodorants. For those that are interested, cedarwood oil also reduces the signs of aging. 

Circulatory System

Cedarwood is good at healing wounds and decreasing muscle soreness because it increases circulation. It also helps in reducing blood pressure. 

Digestive System

Cedarwood is also a friend to your digestive system. It stimulates both your digestion and boosts your metabolism. This helps you get the maximum nutrition from your food and makes you burn it more efficiently. 

Musculoskeletal System

Cedarwood works wonderfully in topical pain treatments. It reduces both the pain and inflammation caused by both arthritis and muscle fatigue or injury.  

Respiratory System

Cedarwood is an ally for your respiratory system as well. It helps relieve congestion and opens breathing passages. It helps soothe spasmodic coughs and makes them more productive. 

*There are new studies coming out that indicate Frankincense can target and kill abnormal cells. This could be a promising component in future treatments of cancer.* 


Cedarwood is an extremely grounding oil. It reconnects us to nature and encourages us to grow.  It reduces mental fatigue, stress, hyperactivity, and anxiety, Cedarwood is highly effective in boosting cognitive function. It improves  focus and concentration. Cedarwood helps us sleep. It also boosts confidence, and courage. 

Energetic properties

Indigenous people have always used cedarwood in their cleansing ceremonies. It banishes negativity, bringing with it the power of the universe. Cedarwood is a good tool to use during meditation. Cedarwood brings you back into your roots, connecting you with nature and your ancestors. Cedarwood is a powerful tool to use while doing dreamwork. 

Home Use

Cedarwood is dead useful around the house because bugs hate it. I'm sure you have heard of cedar chests and cedar lined closets that protect clothes and precious keepsakes from moths. Did you know, however, that ants and ticks also hate cedar? Yup, you can make a spray out of the essential oil to discourage these pests from taking up residence on your property. Cedar is also useful indoors as  a natural deodorizer. It also prevents the development of mildew, making it handy to use in bathrooms, utility rooms, or basements that always seem to be damp. 


Non-toxic, non-irritant. Avoid use during pregnancy or while nursing. Use in moderation

Cedar is a sacred tree. It has been used as medicine and materials in North America as far back as we know. Cedar brings us the steadiness of the Earth. It reminds us that we too have ancient roots in our humanity. Cedar has been around long enough to see it all and calls to us to remember our own history, to a time when we lived  in nature.  Cedar has, and always will be there to heal us, mind, body, and spirit. If you haven’t become familiar with cedarwood take the time and do it. 

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Frankincense is such a special medicine. We have a variety of blends that include this special oil. All of them are grounding, and centering. Each one is relaxing, yet focusing. All of these blends are powerful tools in your wellness arsenal.