close up of cedarwood atlas tree trunk

CEDARWOOD OIL Aromatherapy Essential “Oil of the Month”

Exploring Cedarwood “Atlas” and Cedarwood “Virginian”

Cedarwood Atlas:

Botanical Name: Cedrus atlantica

Cedarwood Atlas has a sweet woody base note with a spicy undertone. It originates from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

Cedarwood Atlas belongs to the pine family, the oil being steamed distilled from the foliage, branches, wood and roots. It is believed that the Ancient Egyptians used Cedarwood Atlas for embalming purposes, where as the Lebanon Cedarwood was used for building. The Lebanon Cedar is now protected from extinction in Lebanon and although Morocco has the highest total surface of Atlas Cedar in the world, it is in danger. Cedar plantations, mainly with Cedrus atlantica have been established in Southern France.

Constituents of Cedarwood Atlas: B-himachalene, a-himachalene, y-himachalene, Trans-a-atlantone

The himachalene’s has been shown to alleviate pain when used in aromatherapy. They can deter moths and other insects. There is research into the control of mosquito borne diseases.

Looking into Cedarwood Atlas there was not much about each component. A substitute to Cedarwood Atlas is the Cedarwood Virginian and with Cedarwood Atlas listed as endangered species (with exception to the plantations) it has prompt us to have a look.

cedarwood virginian tree
Jumiperus virginiana can be used as an alternative to the cedarwood atlas (cedrus atlantica) when using essential oils.

Cedarwood Virginian:

Botanical Name: Jumiperus virginiana

(Red Cedar or Eastern Red Cedar) Grown in Eastern and Central United States.

Constituents of Cedarwood Virginian: x-Cedrene, Thujopsene, Cedrol, B-cedrene, x-selinene, Widdrol, B-himachalene, B-chamigrene, x-chamigrene, cuparene

X-cedrene makes up about 20-30% of Cedarwood virginian and has shown effects that may help calm and reduce irritability. It is also cytotoxic to some leukaemia.

Thujopsene has pesticidal qualities against termites and antifungal qualities but the thujopsene was exposed to autoxidation.

Cedarwood virginian contains cedrol at approximately 12-22% and has shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic benefits. It has astringent and tonic qualities (tightening and toning effects) for the skin. It also shows sedative signs. Cedrol strongly attracts female mozzies so not so great for a repellent.

Overall Cedarwood virginian has minimal risk of skin irritation but may interfere with opioid Analgesics (pain relieving drugs).

Kid Safe: yes

Cedarwood virginian has a base note and we call it our “Taut Accent”

silhouette of an old ship
Some ancient wooden ships were built from Lebanon Cedarwood. “Notorious” the all wood replica of a 15th century Portuguese caravel is build with Cypress by Graeme Wylie visited Hervey Bay in may 2017.

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