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11 Benefits of Cedarwood Essential Oil for Beauty and Mental Health

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Cedar trees have been associated with wisdom and spirituality in ancient histories around the world. As it turns out, modern research has linked cedarwood essential oil (from the wood of cedar trees) with better mental states. Simply inhaling its aroma can lift your mood, relax your mind and improve concentration. It has internal and external health benefits and applications as a natural remedy. Its sweet, woody scent blends well with most other oils, including floral, citrus and spicy oils.

Here are 11 amazing benefits of cedarwood essential oil:

1. Treats Anxiety and Depression

Cedarwood essential oil is used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and calmness. In studies, it’s shown to act as a mild sedative when inhaled by directly modulating the autonomic nervous system [1]. It boosts your mood by increasing levels of serotonin—the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Antidepressants prescribed for anxiety and depression, including Zoloft, Prozac and Celexa, work in a similar way.

When you need to calm your nerves, inhale it from the bottle or add a few drops to an essential oil diffuser. It also reduces tension by alleviating muscle tightness and inflammation.

2. Remedies Insomnia

By stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, cedarwood oil aromatherapy helps your body come out of its “fight-or-flight” mode. Through this biological shift, it not only helps you relax for bed, but also reduces racing thoughts that keep you awake. Cedarwood oil also remedies insomnia by raising serotonin levels. Serotonin converts to melatonin (the “sleep hormone”) at night. Adequate melatonin levels tell your brain it’s time to sleep when you turn out the lights.

The effects of cedarwood oil on sleep quality have been studied by medical researchers and proven to have profound benefit. In a study on elderly people with dementia, inhaling cedarwood essential oil before bed was shown to improve sleep quality and duration. [2]. Another study showed that animals given caffeine slept better when they inhaled cedarwood oil compared to when they didn’t [3].

4. Tones, Tightens and Beautifies Your Skin

Cedarwood essential oil has all the beneficial components of a facial toner, plus it’s all-natural. It shrinks pores, balances oil production and tightens skin. This helps prevent acne, blackheads and whiteheads, and it reduces sagging and wrinkles. Cedarwood oil also promotes an even skin tone. Use it daily to diminish the appearance of blemishes and dark spots on your face, or to fade scars and stretch marks.

5. Helps You Grow Long, Healthy Hair

The astringent properties in cedarwood essential oil tighten the hair follicles to keep hair stronger and prevent strands from falling out. By increasing circulation on your scalp and unblocking clogged follicles, it helps you grow more hair. One study on people with hair loss showed cedarwood oil improved hair growth in 44 percent of people who tried it within 7 months. Especially when combined with other essential oils known to boost hair growth, like lavender and rosemary, it’s well worth a try for growing stronger, longer hair [4].

When applied to your scalp, cedarwood oil also eliminates dandruff and balances oil production to reduce scalp dryness as well as greasiness. Just add 2 or 3 drops to a dollop of shampoo when you wash your hair. Or, massage the oil into your scalp and let it sit.

6. Treats Minor Wounds

With its antimicrobial actions, cedarwood oil can also help clean minor wounds and prevent infections. As an astringent, it tightens tissue, constricts blood vessels and helps stop bleeding so that a wound can heal faster. Combine cedarwood oil with coconut oil or another carrier oil and apply it to cuts, scrapes or abrasions [5].

7. Heals Eczema

Cedarwood oil down-regulates the overproduction of sebum (the skin’s natural oil), which occurs in cases of eczema. The excess sebum production results in the infection of epidermal cells. Cedarwood oil can control this infection when used as a topical ointment. It relieves the dryness and inflammation, redness and scaly appearance while busting the underlying issue [5].

8. Improves Coughs

Cedarwood oil works as an antispasmodic, which can be used to treat a cough. You can get these benefits simply by inhaling it. Try using a diffuser or rubbing it onto your chest. It also works as an expectorant to loosen and expel mucus from the respiratory tract.

9. Repels Insects

You can use cedarwood oil as a natural bug repellant in your skin moisturizer or add it to a homemade bug spray. It’s effective against mosquitoes, flies, ants and other pests. One study even showed it repels and kills off ticks [6].

10. Boosts Focus and Concentration

Cedarwood essential oil is helpful for people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or for anyone who wants to experience better focus and concentration. In a study on children with ADHD, aromatherapy with cedarwood oil was shown to improve their brain wave patterns, behavior and cognitive performance. Researchers believe cedarwood oil improves focus due to its high content of sesquiterpenes, which enhance the oxygenation of brain cells [7].

11. Treats Acne

Many acne treatments contain harsh chemicals that can damage your skin in the long-term. Cedarwood oil is a natural yet effective way to treat acne. It works by killing the bacteria that causes acne, shrinking your pores and reducing excess oil production. Applying it directly (undiluted) to a pimple or acne lesion can help dry it out. By adding some cedarwood oil to your daily toner, you can improve and prevent acne daily after washing your face [8].

Cedarwood Oil Tips and Safety Considerations

Cedarwood essential oil is not recommended for internal use, as it may have toxic effects. However, you can reap the benefits of cedarwood oil for mental health simply by inhaling it. Try using an essential oil diffuser or even inhaling over an open bottle. When applying it to your skin, make sure you use a carrier oil like almond oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil to avoid skin irritation. Be sure to use only 100 percent pure cedarwood essential oil.


1. Autonomic responses during inhalation of natural fragrance of Cedrol in humans. Autonomic Neuroscience. 2003
2. Effects of Inhalation Aromatherapy on Symptoms of Sleep Disturbance in the Elderly with Dementia. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017
3. The sedative effects and mechanism of action of cedrol inhalation with behavioral pharmacological evaluation. Planta Medica. 2003
4. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Archives of Dermatology. 1998
5. Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017
6. Bioactivity of cedarwood oil and cedrol against arthropod pests. Environmental Entomology. 2014
7. The role of essential oils in the treatment and management of attention deficit hyperactive disorder. International Journal of Aromatherapy. 2001
8. Cedarwood Oil as Complementary Treatment in Refractory Acne. Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2016