Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Essential oils: Other things about cedarwood

Cedarwood Texas is considered to be an anti-spasmodic, antiseptic, astringent, and expectorant. Cedarwood Virginia is considered to be an abortifacient, antiseborrheic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, expectorant, fungicidal, and an insecticide. We've already discussed the claims that cedarwood can be an abortifacient (not completely sure, but be careful!), sedative (confirmed), and insecticide (confirmed), but what about the other claims?

ASTRINGENT (Cedarwood Texas and Virginia) and ANTISEBORRHEIC (Cedarwood Virginia)
I've searched and searched and searched, and I can't find anything to confirm that this is an astringent essential oil. I use it as an astringent in my products - generally as part of my oily hair blend of equal parts lemon or lime, rosemary, thyme, and cedarwood - but I can't provide you with any compelling evidence as to why I'm using it in that way.

An aside...What does it mean for something to be astringent? An astringent is actually defined as "chemical that tends to shrink or constrict body tissues, usually locally after topical medicinal application." An ingredient like witch hazel is considered to be astringent thanks to the tannins contained therein. We tend to use astringent ingredients for oily skin or hair to remove sebum so our skin and hair can feel cleaner. 

When I use it, it feels to me like it's astringent and is removing sebum from my hair and skin well, but my anecdotal experience doesn't qualify as science, so I can't call this claim confirmed.

EXPECTORANT: I can't find anything scientific to back up this claim.

ANTISEPTIC: I can't find anything scientific to back up this claim.

FUNGICIDAL: I thought I found something relating to cedarwood Virginia and yeast, but I can't find it again despite a lot of searching.

ANTI-SPASMODIC: Again, I can't find anything.

Although I can provide you with a lot of "it's said that..." and "historically, cedarwood..." statements with lots of links, but it's hard to find good science on this essential oil. I think we've confirmed that it can act as a sedative, that it's wise not to drink it (scroll down to the government report part), that it behaves as a snake annoyer, and it is a possible mollusc killer. But that's about it.

If you have any good studies or reputable scientific sources to help me with these claims, please send them along to me at

Join me tomorrow for a few ideas on using cedarwood essential oil.

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