Fall is the perfect time of year for us to introduce our newest product line extension -- Cedar. Its warm, woodsy, rustic aroma brings to mind hay rides at fall festivals, long hikes in a chilly forest, and hot toddies by the fireplace. (HIVE HACK: Bee sure to use Savannah Bee honey in your hot toddies this season!)
My parents had a cedar chest in their bedroom where they used to store comfy blankets and bulky sweaters. When those came out of the cedar chest, I knew the seasons were changing in the Ohio suburb where I grew up. They had all spring and summer to soak up the deliciously earthy aroma, and I would get a little whiff of it every time I wrapped myself up in one of those blankets during the cold months.
Because it is an effective deodorizer and bug repellant (moths in particular), the wood is traditionally used to construct storage chests like my parents', shoe trees, birdhouses, and cigar boxes, as well to line closets. If you have come across one of these items in your lifetime -- or if you were ever tasked with emptying the pencil sharpeners in elementary school -- you know what cedar smells like, and you know how pleasant and comforting it is. The same can be said of cedarwood essential oil, which is steam-distilled from the same wood.
Essential Oil History & Source
Cedarwood is thought to be one of the first essential oils extracted from nature. It is mentioned regularly in the bible and is known as one of the world’s earliest perfumes, along with frankincense, myrrh, and lavender. Egyptians used cedarwood essential oil in the embalming process as well as for incense, perfumes, and in cosmetics. Native Americans used it to treat skin conditions, arthritis, respiratory ailments, and to repel insects. The scent is symbolic of strength, nobility, and dignity.
There are a few different cedarwood essential oils used in cosmetics and aromatherapy, some derived from pine trees and some from cypress trees. The essential oil in our Cedar Beeswax Hand Cream and Cedar Beeswax Salve comes from Virginian cedar (Juniperus virginiana), also known as Eastern red cedar, which is from the cypress family. The tree is native to North America and can grow up to 100 feet tall and live more than 1,000 years.
Virginian cedarwood essential oil is clear and pale yellow to light brown. Its aroma is a little milder than Himalayan and Atlas cedar from the pine family but is still characteristically woodsy and coniferous in nature, with hints of camphor and musk. It is soothing but also enlivening.
Essential Oil Uses & Benefits
Cedarwood has numerous therapeutic uses for body and mind. The major constituents of cedarwood essential oil are alpha cedrene, beta cedrene, cedrol, widdrol, thujopsene, and a group of sesquiterpenes. These are what give the oil its many health benefits: anti-fungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and astringent.
Cedarwood essential oil is useful for helping:
Soothe skin irritation: The discomfort associated with a variety of skin issues, such as eczema, dermatitis, rashes, and psoriasis, may benefit from treatment with cedarwood essential oil because of its natural anti-fungal, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Clean and protect wounds: These same properties, as well as its antiseptic abilities make the oil helpful in treating minor cuts and scrapes.
Regulate sebum production: As an antiseptic, cedarwood can also help curb production of the oily secretions that trap dirt and clogs pore, which is a major cause of acne.
Relieve mild pain and stiffness: Cedarwood essential oil's anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties may help with minor soreness in muscles and joints when applied topically.
Improve skin tone: Cedarwood acts as an astringent, a chemical that shrinks or constricts body tissues. Regular topical application can help reduce the appearance of pores and tighten skin.
Combat stress and ease tension: The aroma of cedarwood essential oil is a natural sedative, having a calming effect on the mind and encouraging sleep. The scent promotes the release of serotonin in the brain which gets converted to melatonin, the chemical that encourages a calm mind and restful sleep. This in turn slows the heart rate and respiration which can result in a decrease in blood pressure.
INSIDER INFO: The word “fragrance” can have a bad connotation that can scare away well-informed customers. (Believe us, we are thankful more people are taking notice and caring about the ingredients they are putting in and on their bodies.) Please know the word “Fragrance” in the Cedar Beeswax Salve ingredient list refers to organic essential oils and not synthetic fragrances.