Red Cedar Essential Oil

The name Red Cedar may lead people to believe that the essential oil is from the cedar tree. In reality, Red Cedar Essential Oil comes from a juniper tree, whose scientific name is Juniperus virginiana, which belongs to the cypress family. Common names include aromatic cedar, pencil cedar, red juniper, eastern juniper, Virginian juniper, eastern redcedar and red cedar.

It’s found in North America but has been introduced to Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Its essential oil, produced from its heartwood, contains various component with several health benefits. Top elements are alpha-cedrene, beta cedrene, widdrol, thujopsene and cedrol. Red Cedar Essential Oil has diuretic, astringent, sedative, antifungal and antiseptic properties.

Red cedar grows in high altitudes and in cold climates. The essential oil is traditionally used for its ability to keep a person calm. It has a hearty and sweet aroma and used in the production of incense, colognes and perfumes. Native Americans and Egyptians have used Red Cedar Essential Oil for its cosmetic and medical benefits.

Red Cedar Essential Oil is also called Bedford cedarwood, Eastern red, Southern red cedar, Virginian, Cedar Leaf Oil or Western Red. The Red Cedar Essential Oil comes in clear, pale yellow or light orange in color. It’s been used for centuries and was used as an embalming agent by ancient Greeks and Egyptians. It’s valued in Asia for its medicinal properties. It’s an ingredient in the incense used in Tibetan temples.

Red Cedar Essential Oil Benefits

Red Cedar Essential Oil is used for treatment/relief of:

  • Acne, dandruff and eczema
  • Septic and fungal infections
  • Cough and phlegm in the lungs and respiratory tract
  • Headaches, red and watery eyes
  • Toothaches
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Arthritis, gout and rheumatism
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Pain and side effects due to menstruation
  • Asthma, respiratory seizures, restless leg syndrome and other spasmodic conditions
  • Anxiety and tension

Red Cedar Essential Oil Uses

  1. Red Cedar Essential Oil for Seborrhoeic Dermatitis. The essential oil prevents the condition where skin peels off the inner ear, scalp and eyebrows. In infants, it’s called cradle cap, much like dandruff in adults. It treats the infection and regulates the production of sebum.
  2. Red Cedar Essential Oil as Antiseptic. It can prevent tetanus infection. It can also prevent wounds from turning septic when applied to wounds externally. There are antiseptic creams that contain Red Cedar Essential Oil.
  3. Red Cedar Essential Oil for Joint Pain Relief. Its anti-inflammatory property is effective in providing relief for arthritis and inflammation of joints and tissues. Topical application or inhalation of the essential oil helps lower pain and discomfort.
  4. Red Cedar Essential Oil to Relieve Spasms. Spasms in the nerves, muscles, heart, respiratory system and intestines are relieved with the use of Red Cedar Essential Oil. It can also relieve asthma, restless leg syndrome and respiratory seizures.
  5. Red Cedar Essential Oil as Tonic. The essential oil tones organs and stimulates metabolism. It helps to tighten and tone the functions of the brain, stomach, digestive system, muscles, skin and the nervous system. It also promotes the functions of kidneys and liver.
  6. Red Cedar Essential Oil as Diuretic. It promotes urination, helping the body get rid of high levels of fat, water and toxins like uric acid. Expelling these extra fats and toxins help cure urinary tract infections, arthritis, gout, high blood pressure, obesity and hypertension.
  7. Red Cedar Essential Oil to Regularize Menstrual Cycle. With its impact on the endocrine glands’ hormonal functions, using Red Cedar Essential Oil helps stimulate the menstrual cycle. It lowers the side effects commonly associated with it like mood swings, nausea and fatigue.
  8. Red Cedar Essential Oil to Alleviate Congestion. Chest and nasal congestions are common when you have cold and cough. This essential oil not only relieves congestion but also loosens phlegm from the respiratory tract and the lungs. It also relieves headaches and red, watery eyes.
  9. Red Cedar Essential Oil as Sedative. The oil cures inflammation and skin itching. Used in a diffuser, its sedative property soothes and calms the mind and relieves stress, tension and anxiety. It promotes restorative and sound sleep and proves to be very good for insomnia sufferers.

Red Cedar Essential Oil Side Effects

Red Cedar Essential Oil is generally safe, but it is still wise to take additional caution when using it. Remember to dilute it with a carrier oil before application and always perform a skin patch test.

  • Avoid contact with the eyes, inner ears and other sensitive parts of the body.
  • It is not recommended to be used by pregnant women as it can induce miscarriage.
  • High concentrations can cause extensive damage to the digestive system.
  • Improper use can cause excessive thirst.
  • It can cause nausea, vomiting and skin irritation on people sensitive to this essential oil.

How to Use Red Cedar Essential Oil

There are various ways to use this essential oil. Here they are.

  1. Add 3-4 drops to your diffuser.
  2. Dilute with a carrier oil and apply 1-2 drops on affected area.
  3. Hair treatment.
  • Remove dandruff by mixing 2-3 drops of Red Cedar Essential Oil to unscented hair conditioner. Massage into the scalp, leave it one for 3-5 minutes before rinsing.
  • Treat oily hair by blending 3 drops or Red Cedar Essential Oil with 1 drop of olive oil and 2 drops of rosemary oil. Massage onto hair before you shampoo.
  1. Facial treatment. Add 1-2 drops of the essential oil to your moisturizer or facial toner.
  2. Mix one ounce of carrier oil with 2-3 drops of Red Cedar Essential Oil.
  3. Add 8-10 drops of the essential oil to your warm bath water.

How to Make Red Cedar Essential Oil

Chopped heartwood of Juniperus Virginiana or red cedar tree is used for steam distillation to draw out the essential oil. Sometimes, the wood’s sawdust, wood shavings and chopped stumps are used.

Red Cedar Essential Oil Recipe

While commercially processed Red Cedar Essential Oil is readily available, you can still make a small batch at home.

1. Steam distillation

You will need a large stainless steel pot, a clean, empty can open on one end, distilled water, gravy separator measuring cup and enough chopped red cedar bark, leaves and berries.


  1. Add a 1-inch high layer of red cedar materials into the bottom of the pot.
  2. Position the empty can in the center and add more red cedar materials until they almost reach the top of the can. Add 4 cups of distilled water over the cedar materials.
  3. Turn the stove to high heat and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let the water simmer until you see steam.
  4. Put the pot’s lid upside down so the lid handle is inside the can. Fill the pot lid with ice cubes.
  5. Remove the melted ice, check the amount of liquid that dropped into the can and add more ice cubes to the lid.
  6. Turn off the heat when you get about 3 cups of fluid in the can. This collected fluid is called hydrosol.
  7. Remove the cedar materials and strain the remaining liquid in the pot before adding it to the hydrosol.
  8. Pour the hydrosol into the gravy separator measuring cup. Leave it to cool.
  9. The oily fluid on top of the hydrosol is the pure Red Cedar Essential Oil.
  10. Use an eye dropper or cotton balls to pick up as much of the essential oil as you can.
  11. Store it in a dark glass bottle and cap it tightly.
  12. Use the remaining hydrosol as room deodorizer, as an after-shower body mist or as fabric freshener.
  13. Keep the hydrosol and the essential oil in the refrigerator.

2. Oil or Alcohol Base Process

You’ll need a large, clean and dry glass jar with tight lid, chopped red cedar bark, berries and leaves, vodka, grapeseed oil or almond oil, fine strainer or cheesecloth.


  1. Fill the glass jar with the red cedar materials.
  2. Pour your desired liquid to cover the red cedar until the jar is full.
  3. Cover it tightly and store it in a cool dark place for 7 days.
  4. Strain the oil into a bowl.
  5. Wash and dry the jar and transfer the Red Cedar Essential Oil back into it.
  6. Use as a massage oil or add to creams and lotions. You can also use it as a body spray.

Where to Buy Red Cedar Essential Oil

Several reputable essential oil stores sell Red Cedar Essential Oil. You can also find it at Amazon, eBay, Walmart and aromatherapy stores.

Red Cedar Essential Oil FAQs

  • It is used as a treatment for psoriasis and warts.
  • It can cure toothaches and strengthen gums.
  • It can tighten loose muscles and protect skin from toxins and bacteria.
  • Red Cedar Essential Oil is used as insect repellant and very effective against mosquitoes.
  • It is an ingredient in herbal antiseptic creams, perfumes, cleaners and room fresheners.