Cedarwood oil, also sometimes called just ‘cedar oil’, is an essential oil that comes from the foliage, wood and roots of most conifers. It is used in medicine, art and perfume and has a range of potential benefits, though these vary depending on the type of cedarwood oil.
The ‘crude’ oils are yellowish and dark in color and these include oils from Juniperus ashei and J. deppeana. They are viscous and likely to crystallize when left standing. They are often used for their fragrance and thus find their way into soaps and perfumes. Likewise they are popular in aromatherapy.
Another non-medicinal use of cedarwood oil is as an insecticide. Those technically it is not known as an insecticide, it is very useful in keeping insects off of plants and vegetables as it can block the noses of insects and thus prevent them from breathing. It is also used traditionally in painting and was used for embalming in ancient Egypt. Finally it can also be used to regain the natural smell of cedarwood in your furniture.
Cedarwood oil can be used either by inhaling, or by applying topically to the skin. Applied to the skin it has some astringent properties and is able to soothe rashes and has some reported antiseptic properties. However it’s worth noting that there are other substances better used for their antibacterial properties – such as good old fashioned soap or an over-the-counter antiseptic cream.
Inhaled cedarwood is also an expectorant and is useful or breaking up phlegm and mucus as well as for reduces the production of sebum. Thus if you have a cold you might benefit from aromatherapy using this oil.
As a fungicide it is also sometimes recommended in order to treat and prevent some fungal infections – it is worth nothing though that fungal imbalances are highly delicate and vary greatly from case to case. You should not attempt to self-medicate, but rather consult with your GP.