Cedar tree - Cedrus spp. (Pinaceae)

Medicinal Use of Cedar – Cedrus spp. (Pinaceae)


Cedar of Lebanon (C. libani) is a majestic flat-topped tree growing to 130 ft (40 m). It has dark green needle-like leaves and oval cones. African cedar (C. atlantica) grows to 115 ft (35 m).

Habitat & Cultivation

Cedar of Lebanon is native to mountain forests of Lebanon, Israel, and southwest Turkey. Atlas cedar is native to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, growing from 4,600–7,200 ft (1,400–2,200 m) above sea level.

Parts Used

Leaves, wood, essential oil.


The essential oil of Atlas cedar wood contains mainly alpha-pinene (up to 79%).

History & Folklore

Cedar of Lebanon is thought to have been used in building Solomon’s Temple and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The oil has been used for thousands of years in incense, perfumes, and embalming.

Medicinal Actions & Uses

Cedar of Lebanon is antiseptic and expectorant, acting to disinfect the respiratory tract. Cedarwood essential oil has been used for thousands of years for perfumes and for embalming. It is most commonly distilled from Atlas cedar and eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginicus). The oil is strongly antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, and sedative. Diluted and massaged into the skin, it treats congestion, chest infections, and cystitis. It is used to treat skin wounds and ulcers.


Do not take essential oil of cedar internally except under professional supervision.