When I was researching Atlas Cedarwood, I came across this blog written by Joy Neighbors, who calls herself a Tombstone Tourist, entitled Cedars in the Cemetery. She loves the abundance of evergreen trees found in the older sections of the graveyard. While cemetery evergreens include cedars, firs, pine, spruce, hemlock, juniper and yew trees, cedar trees are her favorite.
Cedars became popular as graveyard trees because they are considered sacred in many countries. Their evergreen nature represents eternal life or the concept of rebirth.
A couple of other bits of information shared by Joy are that if you plant a cedar tree you will bring good luck to the location, but cutting it down is bad luck. Cedar trees are considered to bring wealth and prosperity to the landowner as well.
The four cedars that she mentions actually do belong to the Pinaceae family and the genus Cedrus and essential oils are produced from the first two. According to GRIN and the IUCN Red List:
Cedrus atlantica, Atlas Cedar, Conservation Status: Endangered – decreasing. Native to Northern Africa Algeria and Morocco. Cultivated in other parts of the world as well.
Cedrus deodara, Deodar or Himalayan Cedar, Conservation Status: Least Concern. Native to Western Asia, Afghanistan; China and Indian subcontinent India, Nepal and Pakistan. Cultivated in other parts of the world as well.
Cedrus brevifoliaI, Cyprus Cedar, is considered to be a synonym of Cedrus libani
Cedrus libani, Cedar of Lebanon, Conservation Status: Vulnerable – decreasing. Native to Western Asia Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.
I do have an article written on three Cedarwoods used in aromatherapy and only one Cedrus atlantica belongs to the Pinaceae Family and the genus Cedrus. The other two belong to the Cupressaceae Family and the genus Juniperus.
Atlas Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
Plant Description: Evergreen tree that can grow up to 40 meters high. The wood is hard and strongly aromatic.
History/Folklore: The Atlas cedar grows on top of the Atlas Mountains in North Africa. It is still actively used in Tibetan Medicine and as a meditation aid by Tibetan Buddhists and others. It is thought to enhance spirituality and strengthen our connection to the Divine.
Extraction: The essential oils is obtained through steam distillation of the wood, stumps and sawdust.
Aroma: Woody with a camphorous tinge. Long lasting and acts as a fixative.
Odour intensity: Medium Low.
Perfume Note: Base.
Blends well with: Bergamot, clary sage, cypress, frankincense, ho leaf, jasmine, juniper, neroli, rosemary, vetiver, ylang ylang.
Perfume Key Qualities: Aphrodisiac, warming, tonic, uplifting, elevating, grounding, opening, comforting, reviving.
Chemistry: Ketones (19%); Sesquiterpene (50%); Alcohol (29%)
Cautions: Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing, it should be avoided during pregnancy.
On a physical level, Atlas Cedarwood’s antifungal and antiseptic properties make it an effective choice for acne, dandruff, dermatitis, eczema and fungal infections. It is also good for greasy skin, hair loss, skin eruptions and ulcers. Use for arthritis and rheumatism to help bring relief. The mucolytic properties make it effective in dealing with excess phlegm and it can help kill airborne bacteria and fungi. The astringent, decongestant and bactericidal properties found in this oil make it useful for hemorrhoid, while its diuretic properties make it helpful for urinary infections, cystitis and simple water retention.
On a psychological level, Cedarwood’s calming, sedative properties can be helpful in dealing with stress, tension and nervous disorders. It can also help one address fear and anger.
On a subtle level, cedarwood helps us to get back in touch with our true reality by affirming and clarifying our focus. It is grounding. Cedarwood can be used to clear and cleanse a room of negativity and bring in positive energy.
In Dr. Bruce Berkowsky’s Spiritual PhytoEssencing, Cedarwood can be considers when there is fear of what others are going to be saying about you. It is also used for those who have an attachment to the Church. Other themes around Cedarwood include those of security and protection.
In Valerie Ann Worwood’s AromaGenera, the Cedarwood personality seems to glide through life as if they had a royal charter. Use to counteract scattered thoughts, thoughtlessness, fixation on the past, anxiety, obsessions, mental strain, irrationality, emotional sensitivity, touchiness, paranoia, selfishness.
Reference Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, 1960 Salvatore Battaglia, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils ©1998-2018 Joseph Ben Hil-Meyer Research, Inc. Tony Burfield, Natural Aromatic Materials – Odours & Origins, 2000 Ernst Guenther, The Essential Oil, Vol V, 1948 reprinted 1972 Beverley Hawkins, Essential Oils and Carriers, Aromatherapy 101, Aromatherapy 201, Aromatherapy 301, 1999-2018 Peter Holmes, Aromatica, Vol 1 and 2. Singing Dragon 2016 & 2019 Alec Lawless: Artisan Perfumery or Being Led by the Nose, 2009, Julia Lawless, The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Sourcebook, 2017 Jennifer Peace Rhind, Fragrance and Wellbeing, Plant Aromatics and Their Influence on the Psyche, 2014 Tisserand and Young, 2nd Edition Essential Oil Safety, 2014 Valeria Ann Worwood, The Fragrant Heavens, 1999 Valerie Ann Worwood, The Fragrant Pharmacy, London, Bantam Books, 1991 Valerie Ann Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition, New World Library, Novato, California, 1991, 2016