Cedarwood essential oil

Cedarwood essential oil information

Cedarwood essential oil information

General Information

Common Name:  Cedarwood

Scientific Name: Juniperus virginiana

Family: Cupressaceae

Origin: Central part of Virginia, through North Carolina and the northern edge of South Carolina, into Tennessee, central Kentucky and Northern Alabama

Synonyms: Cedro oil, red cedarwood


Essential Oil Properties and Characteristics

Virginian cedarwood oil is a pale-yellow to slightly orange-yellow-coloured oil that is slightly viscous than Atlas cedarwood. The odour is at first oily and woody with a sweet balsamic scent typical of cedarwood lumber. The odour becomes drier and more woody, less balsamic as the oil dries out.

Origin and History

Juniperus virginiana is a slow-growing evergreen tree with a narrow, dense and pyramidal crown. It grows in a fairly continuous belt running approximately from the central part of Virginia, through North Carolina and the northern edge of South Carolina into Tennessee, central Kentuckyand northern Alabama.

The wood is highly prized for furniture making, older trees being preferred since they contain more of the reddish heartwood which not only gives a beautiful surface when polished, but also yields more essential oil than wood from young trees.

Virginian cedarwood oil has been used as an insect repellent. It is said that the oil distilled from the older trees and younger trees differs considerably in regard to the odour and chemical composition. Oil produced from older trees is higher in high boiling point constituents while oil from younger trees is richer in cedrol.

Method of Extraction

Cedarwood essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the wood, sawdust, shavings and other lumber wastes of the Juniperus virginiana.

Precautions During Use (Contraindications)

Cedarwood essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitising. Cedarwood essential oil should be avoided during pregnancy.

Download a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for cedarwood essential oil here.

Therapeutic properties

Cedarwood essential oil is astringent and antiseptic. It is useful in skin preparations for problem oily skin. Cedarwood essential oil is relaxing and soothing to body and mind. It has a sweet, warm and camphoraceous aroma with a woody-balsamic undertone.

Cedarwood essential oil blends well with bergamot, juniper berry, clary sage, rosemary, and ylang ylang.