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Benefits of Cedarwood Essential Oil

Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) oil is an essential oil that has long been utilized in traditional medicine for an array of clinical conditions.

Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) oil is an essential oil that has long been utilized in traditional medicine for an array of clinical conditions. It has been demonstrated to have potent antimicrobial effects against “superbugs” such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 (the organism responsible for Shigella), Bacillus subtilis, Streptococcus mutans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa amongst others [1]. The antimicrobial effects of cedarwood essential oil have been attributed to 4 core components – thujol, cedrol and α and β-cedrene; these components penetrate and disrupt the cell walls of the aforementioned pathogenic microbes. This antimicrobial effect is the mechanism of action through which cedarwood enacts its therapeutic effect in refractory acne, as evidenced by a study conducted in 2016 [2].

Apart from its antimicrobial activity, cedarwood essential oil is also renowned for its antifungal and pest-control properties. A study conducted in 2012 showed that the cedrol component of cedarwood essential oil was a significant repellent to fire ants and black-legged tick nymphs [3]. Another study in 2013 suggested that cedarwood essential oil was potent against 4 species of fungi.

Clinically, cedarwood essential oil has shown merit in the treatment of common ailments such as refractory acne, chronic insomnia and alopecia areata (hair loss). In a recent study published in 2017, cedarwood essential oil was shown to improve sleep disturbances in elderly individuals when prescribed as an inhalation aromatherapy [4]. This is not to say that cedarwood is not beneficial to the young; indeed, one study showed that the cedrol component of cedarwood improved sleep in young women [5]. Cedrol’s mechanism of action has been explored in animal models. It was shown to have sedative effects in rodents, resulting in prolonged sleep [6]; validating its relaxing and soothing effect on the central nervous system.

Cedarwood aromatherapy has also been validated as a safe and effective treatment modality for hair loss – a randomized double-blind controlled trial (representing the highest level of academic evidence) showed that 44% of patients in the experimental (cedarwood) group showed improvement of alopecia compared to just 15% in the control (placebo) group [7].

At Ananda, we want to nourish you with the finest oils you can find. Our mission is to provide you with the latest scientific research so that you can make an informed decision and benefit from the synergistic qualities of the purest oils we can find. In order to stay true to the values, integrity, and compassion with which we were founded, we have chosen to discontinue Atlas Cedarwood due to its place on the Endangered Plant Species List. We encourage you to refer to the extensive selection of articles we have written to further expand your knowledge. You can view our selection of Cedarwood by clicking here. As always, we wish you love, light, and radiant health!


  1. Chaudhari, L.K., et al., Antimicrobial activity of commercially available essential oils against Streptococcus mutans. J Contemp Dent Pract, 2012. 13(1): p. 71-4.
  2. Hassoun, L.A., J.N. Ornelas, and R.K. Sivamani, Cedarwood Oil as Complementary Treatment in Refractory Acne.J Altern Complement Med, 2016. 22(3): p. 252-3.
  3. Eller, F.J., et al., Bioactivity of cedarwood oil and cedrol against arthropod pests. Environ Entomol, 2014. 43(3): p. 762-6.
  4. Takeda, A., E. Watanuki, and S. Koyama, Effects of Inhalation Aromatherapy on Symptoms of Sleep Disturbance in the Elderly with Dementia. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2017. 2017: p. 1902807-1902807.
  5. Yamamoto, Y., et al., THE EFFECTS OF CEDROL ON SLEEP. Japanese Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 2003. 8(2): p. 69-73.
  6. Kagawa, D., et al., The sedative effects and mechanism of action of cedrol inhalation with behavioral pharmacological evaluation. Planta Med, 2003. 69(7): p. 637-41.
  7. Hay, I.C., M. Jamieson, and A.D. Ormerod, Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Arch Dermatol, 1998. 134(11): p. 1349-52.
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