Schmidt's Cedarwood+Juniper Bar Soap on a wood block and surrounded by tree leaves

Schmidt’s Cedarwood+Juniper bar soap

Photo courtesy of Schmidt’s

I’ll never forget the smell when I first stepped out of the car in Olympic National Park. A couple years ago, my husband and I went on a road trip to the Pacific Northwest — this Wisconsin girl had never seen trees so tall in all her life, and the scent that went along with those trees will always stay with me. The aroma of the cedar trees, mixed with notes of pine, instantly soothed me. I had been using cedarwood essential oil for years, but I had never experienced the scent so powerfully in nature. I was hooked. 

It turns out that my feeling of tranquility is actually rooted in scientific research. Cedrol, a type of alcohol found in the oils of conifer trees, is considered a sedative and is known to make a person feel calmer. Cedarwood is know to carry many physical benefits as well. 

Cedarwood essential oil can be applied topically (just be sure to test it on a small area of skin first in case your skin reacts to it, or use a carrier oil to help apply). It can also be enjoyed aromatherapeutically by dabbing it on your skin, diffusing it, or soaking up the scent through soap, or deodorant.

Here are five ways to harness the power of this earthy essential oil. 

Lessen Anxiety

Several studies have pointed to the fact that inhaling the scent of cedarwood can decrease the effects of anxiety. One study tested the effectiveness of cedarwood essential oil among others and determined that aromatherapy can act as a complementary treatment to those who struggle with anxiety. As I’ve experienced firsthand, how can you not feel peaceful when you sniff this scent and imagine that you’re standing in a grove of cedar trees?

Harness Antimicrobial Properties

Cedarwood oil can serve as an all-natural antiseptic. It is known to be used topically to help combat bacterial and fungal infections, and study after study has proven that cedarwood oil indeed has antimicrobial properties. Put a bit of cedarwood oil (with a carrier oil like avocado or grapeseed oil) on a paper cut and see it go to work.

Improve Skin Conditions

Over the years, scientists and herbalists have discovered that cedarwood can aid in a number of skin woes. The New York Institute of Aromatic Studies says that cedarwood oil can make skin less oily and improve acne, which has been studied and proven through scientific research as well. Apply cedarwood oil to your trouble areas before going to sleep at night.

Schmidt's Cedarwood+Juniper natural bar soap box on a mossy ground in dark lighting

Schmidt’s Cedarwood+Juniper bar soap

Photo courtesy of Schmidt’s

Keep Bugs Away

In addition to acting as an anxiety fighter, cedrol is also said to also keep creepy-crawlies at bay. A study conducted by Cornell University determined that cedarwood oil is a non-toxic way to deter mosquitoes and moths. Another study says that cedarwood oil is especially effective against ants and ticks. Before your next hike, put a few drops of diluted cedarwood oil on your ankles, wrists, and neck — it’ll smell a lot better than bug spray, and it’ll be better for your body, too.

Get Some ZZZ’s

I love using lavender oil to soothe myself to sleep, but for a change of pace and to invite in a different scent, I’ll often use cedarwood oil before jumping into bed. The sleep benefits of cedarwood have been studied, and it has proven valuable when dealing with sleep disturbances. I like to dab the diluted oil on my wrists or even put a few drops on my pillow before drifting off to dream about standing in that beautiful Washington forest once again.

Articles from The Natural should not be considered medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please consult a medical professional.