Cedarwood Oil: Uses & Benefits


Cedar trees are native to many regions, and as such many species of cedar trees exist around the world.  However the many benefits of the essential oil extracted from the various types of cedar trees do not vary between species.  Much like the scent of the wood itself, cedarwood oil is known for its woodsy aroma, and that enticing scent contributes to its popularity in aromatic applications.  Many people seek time with nature to reconnect and relax; in the same school of thought, the outdoorsy scent of this oil can contribute to a sense of well-being, self-care, and relaxation.  It also yields other benefits less common to typical uses of essential oils, including repelling insects and curing fungal infections. Though most commonly used aromatically, it can also be used topically to promote clear, healthy skin and to minimize acne and blemishes.

What is Cedarwood Oil?

Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name: Juniperus Virginiana (Cedrus Doedara/Atlantica/Cedrus Libani)
  • Application: Aromatic, topical
  • Plant Part: Wood
  • Extraction Method: Steam distillation
  • Aromatic Description: Woody, earthy
  • Main Chemical Components: a-cedrene, cedrol, thujosene

Principal Benefits

  • Encourages a state of calm and relaxation
  • Can promote clear, even skin when applied topically
  • Acts as a natural insect repellent

How To Use Cedarwood Essential Oil

  • Add 3-4 drops of to a diffuser to increase feelings of comfort, vitality, and wellness.
  • Add several drops to a cotton ball and place in a closet to deter the presence of moths.
  • Add 1-2 drops to a facial or body lotion to enhance skin clarity and smoothness.
  • Add several drops to shampoo or conditioner to add shine to your hair, and to take advantage of its aromatic benefits.
  • Dilute 10-20 drops with a carrier oil to make a rub-on insect repellant.  Consider using oils such as sweet almond or avocado oil, which are light on the skin and minimally greasy.
  • Dilute several drops with a carrier oil and massage into the skin to reduce muscle and joint inflammation or to use as a topical antiseptic.

Directions for Use:

  • Aromatic: Add 3-4 drops to a diffuser, or dilute one drop with carrier oil and place directly beneath the nose.
  • Topical: Dilute with a carrier oil and massage into skin.  Alternatively, mix with skin cleanser or lotion to enhance benefits to skin.
  • Internal: Not recommended for ingestion in any quantity.

Cedarwood Essential Oil Health Benefits

  • As a natural and safe antiseptic, it can be applied directly to wounds to reduce the risk of inflammation and infection.
  • When used as an all-purpose health tonic, this oil can support the functions of the nervous and digestive systems, boost metabolism, and promote kidney and liver functions.
  • When incorporated into a skin care regimen, it can be used as an astringent or natural toner, minimizing the appearance of pores and protecting them from further introduction of bacteria or toxins.  As a result, its use may also lead to a reduction in the appearance of acne and skin blemishes.
  • Likewise, when incorporated into a hair care regimen, topical use can have many positive effects on the hair’s overall health and appearance.  These benefits include adding extra shine and luster, decreasing the potential or severity of dandruff, and stimulating hair growth.
  • Can be used as a natural insect repellant.  Many store-bought repellants have an unpleasant scent and contain chemicals and toxins that are harmful to both you and the insects that you seek to avoid; instead, using this oil oil presents a natural and less harmful alternative that many believe to be more effective than aerosol repellents.
  • Its earthy scent can have a soothing effect on the mind, relieving tension and anxiety while leaving behind a sense of vitality and comfort.  This oil’s ability to promote a general state of relaxation makes it a popular sleep aid, as a state of deep calm can lead to restorative and uninterrupted sleep.


Cedarwood – Juniperus Virginiana

Cedarwood Essential Oil Research

Cedarwood essential oil is extracted from the wood of the cedar tree through a process known as steam distillation.  Because cedar trees thrive in regions in many parts of the world, many strains of the cedar species exist: cedrus doedaracedrus atlantica, and cedrus libani, to name a few, with names of individual variants of the species indicating where in the world they can be found.  Oils can be extracted from the leaves of the cedar tree as well, but the chemical composition of the two oils are entirely different.  As such the oil gathered from the wood is exclusively used in essential oils applications.

Cedarwood Essential Oil Nutrition

This oil does not yield health benefits in and of itself, as it is not specifically a vitamin or nutrient supplement.  However cedarwood oil can be used in topical applications to the overall benefit of many of the bodily systems that support the processing of nutrients taken in the form of foods or supplements.  One noted effect of this essential oil is that it can stimulate the ability of the liver and kidneys to effectively filter out toxins from the body.  It has also been known to boost the metabolism and prime the digestive system for effective breakdown of foods and absorption of nutrients.  It can also indirectly lead to benefits in overall bodily health when used as a sleeping aid, as a well-rested body will perform more efficiently in all other functions.

Cedarwood Essential Oil Safety

Cedarwood oil should not be ingested in any quantity; ingestion can lead to severe damage to the digestive system as well as vomiting or nausea.  As is the case with many essential oils, direct topical use may irritate the skin; dilute with a carrier oil or lotion prior to topical use in order to minimize the risk of irritation. The use of essential oils should not be substituted for any prescribed medication for any medical condition, and should not be used against the advice of a medical practitioner.

Cedarwood Essential Oil Substitutes

The benefits of cedarwood oil are not backed by scientific studies.  As mentioned above, essential oils should never be substituted medications prescribed by a doctor or against the recommendation of a medical practitioner.  However the benefits of this particular oil may be used to complement medications and supplements that target specific ailments.  For example, diffusing as a part of a nighttime routine could increase the effectiveness of sleeping medications. This oil can, however, be used as a natural alternative commercially available insect repellents, many of which contain harmful chemicals and toxins. Using a natural blend instead will reduce exposure to the toxins contained in manufactured repellants.

Cedarwood Essential Oil Blends

Cedarwood oil blends particularly well with oils that have a complimentary earthy aroma, such as juniper and sandalwood.  Oils with a hint of spice in their scent, such as thieves essential oil, will also produce an enticing aroma, while combining with a lemon or other citrus oil can create a fresh, clean smell.

Pairing with another oil with calming or tension-relieving properties can intensify those effects.  Consider adding several drops of bergamot, lavender, or chamomile oils to induce a greater state of relaxation.

To create a multi-oil natural insect repellant, consider adding several drops of basil, thyme, or pine oil.  Additional oils, such as cinnamon or bergamot, can add a spicy or sweet note to the repellant.  Feel free to experiment and find the perfect blend!

Other popular oil pairings include: benzoin, cinnamon, clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, jasmine, lime, neroli, palmarosa, rosemary, and vetiver.


Cedarwood essential oil is widely used to improve sleep quality, promote healthy skin, repel insects, and create a beautiful aroma.  The soothing side effects induced by an aromatic application have been noted to reduce the effects of stress and anxiety and increase the quality of sleep achieved while using cedarwood oil.   When introduced into a skincare routine, it can reduce the appearance of blemishes and protect pores from bacteria and toxins.  This oil is a natural insect repellant and can be used to avoid pesky mosquitos without exposure to dangerous chemicals and toxins.  Finally, it gives off a pleasant woodsy, earthy aroma that makes it a desirable addition to insect repellants and household cleansers alike, and can be combined with other spicy or citrusy scents to create the perfect aroma for any home.


Can cedarwood oil really help you sleep better? There are no published and scientifically backed studies that would support this claim, and the FDA does not evaluate any stated health benefits of cedarwood oil. Essential oils should never be used in place of prescribed medication or specifically to treat or diagnose any illness, nor should they be used against the advice of a doctor. However avid users of essential oils have reported deeper, more restful developments in their sleeping patterns when using cedarwood, and similar testimonials exist for the benefits detailed in this article.