Close your eyes and picture yourself hiking mountain trails throughout the Pacific Northwest. That piney aroma? That’s the scent of cedarwood essential oil—a crisp, piney fragrance that can wake you up while simultaneously help you feel relaxed and grounded.
This oil is popular for uses varying from soothing itchy skin to keeping biting insects away. Should you try some? Let’s look closer at what cedarwood oil really offers.
What is Cedarwood Oil?
Cedar trees (cedrus altantica) are naturally found in Morocco and the Middle East. The tree’s strong wood was used for building boats in the ancient world, and it became one of the first essential oils ever made when Egyptians deciphered how to steam-distill oil from its bark for ceremonial use, including embalmings.
Today, cedarwood oil is a common ingredient in personal care products like insect repellent, cologne, and shampoo. Its woodsy, cleansing aroma comes from its high sesquiterpene content, compounds considered to play significant roles in the health of both plants and humans.
Eight Benefits of Cedarwood Oil
Cedarwood oil offers more than a refreshing scent. Here are some of its most popular uses today.
1. Helps You Feel Grounded
Cedarwood oil is excellent for cultivating a relaxing environment, thanks to its natural sedative effect. You can diffuse some at home after a stressful day of work to enjoy a sense of calming for both your mind and body.
For a more focused benefit, massage some cedarwood oil on the bottoms of your feet. This promotes a relaxed, settled feeling, especially when you do so right before bed. Some also find that adding a few drops of oil to a hot bath reduces insomnia.
2. Promotes Healthy Hair and Scalp
Massaging your scalp with cedarwood oil may soothe itchy skin while preventing hair loss.
One study found that people with alopecia experienced significant hair regrowth when they committed to a daily scalp massage containing a blend of essential oils (including cedarwood). Further research shows that massaging your scalp with cedarwood oil can soothe an itchy scalp and reduce the signs of dandruff over time.
Experience the benefits for yourself by adding a few drops of cedarwood oil to your favorite shampoo. Make sure you rub it into your scalp with strong circular motions to increase circulation. For best results, let the treatment sit on your scalp for half an hour before rinsing.
3. May Boost Energy Before Exercise
If you’re struggling with motivation to hit the gym, a few drops of cedarwood oil may pull you out of a slump. While this benefit hasn’t been scientifically verified, many share that this essential oil revives them as well as caffeine.
Simply massage a few drops of oil (blended with a carrier oil) onto your chest before exercising, and you may soon experience a boost of energy.
4. Natural Antiseptic
Cedarwood’s antiseptic properties make it perfect for treating infections. Blend it with a carrier oil—coconut oil works well—and you can dab some on a papercut, apply it to your athlete’s foot, or use it to help prevent minor burns and other wounds from getting infected.
5. Helps You Maintain Healthy Skin
If your skin is prone to unpleasant flare-ups, cedarwood oil might help you get it back on track. This oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can both treat and prevent eczema and acne breakouts.
You can cleanse your skin by adding a few drops of cedarwood oil to a carrier oil and massaging it into your skin’s trouble spots a few times a week. Spot treat pimples by applying the diluted oil directly to them with a cotton ball and leaving it in place for up to 15 minutes.
6. Natural Insect Repellent
Cedarwood oil has a distinctive chemical composition that keeps bugs away. You can use it to make homemade insect repellents for people or apply some directly to your garden soil to keep pests off your plants.
Diluted cedarwood oil also works to repel fleas, ticks, and other insects from people, pets, and clothing. Note that some essential oils can be dangerous for animals, so talk with your vet before using cedarwood oil on your pet.
7. Soothes Arthritis Pain
Thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory properties, cedarwood oil is considered effective for treating joint pain and stiffness. Blend a few drops with a carrier oil and apply it topically to the place that’s in pain.
Note: Research indicates that other essential oils, including eucalyptus, frankincense, and lavender may be more effective than cedarwood for arthritis symptoms.
8. Acts as a Natural Cologne
Cedarwood’s woodsy scent is appealing to most, which is why it’s a familiar fragrance in men’s cologne. Skip the filler ingredients and use the oil itself (diluted with a carrier oil) by dabbing some behind your ears and on your wrists.
Are There Any Cedarwood Oil Side Effects?
Cedarwood oil is considered safe for topical use and can even be used as a food additive in small quantities. Obviously, those who are allergic to cedar should avoid it.
In rare cases, some people may experience skin irritation from using it. You can avoid this problem by always diluting the oil with a carrier oil and performing a “patch test” the first time you try it. To do so, dab some cedarwood oil on a discrete part of your skin and monitor it for a few hours to see if it develops any signs of irritation.
As with all essential oils, it’s best to talk with your doctor before using cedarwood oil if you are pregnant, nursing, or on medication.
How to Pair and Use Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedarwood oil can be enjoyed in the air through a diffuser or blended in your favorite personal care products. Some people enjoy dabbing a few drops onto their pillow before bed or adding some to a carrier oil to use as a skin and scalp nourishing treatment.
The oil’s warm, relaxing fragrance tones means it pairs well with bergamot, ylang-ylang, clary sage, frankincense, patchouli, and thyme essential oils. You can also enjoy it pre-blended within our Indigo Aura Illumination oil blend and our Take Root signature blend, which is based on the energy of the root chakra to help you feel connected with the earth.
No matter how you choose to use cedarwood oil, this scent’s grounding notes will help you feel relaxed within your space. It’s an essential oil well worth using.