Essential Oil Profile: Cedarwood (Atlas)

by Amelia E. Hoard, RN


Common Name: Cedarwood (Atlas)

Synonyms: Moroccan cedar, Atlantic cedar

Latin Binomial: Cedrus atlantica

Family: Pinaceae

Production Method: steam distilled from wood, stumps, or sawdust

Countries of Origin: Native to the Atlas mountains of Algeria, Morocco

Typical Constituents: b-Himachalene (30.8-40.4%), a- Himachalene (10.3-16.4%), [E]-a-Atlantone (5.2-13.4%), g-Himachalene (6.7-9.7%), Deodarone (1.2-6.7), [E]-g- Atlantone (1.2-3.9%), Himachalol (1.7-3.7%), Isocedranol (1.2-3.1%), [Z]-a-Atlantone (1.0-2.8%), d-Cadinene (0.5-2.6%), 1-epi-Cubenol (1.1-2.5%),  [Z]-trans-aBergamotol (0-2.0%), Cedranone (0.7-1.7%), a-Calacorene (0.5-1.6%),  b-Himachalene oxide (0-1.6%), g-Curcumene (1.0-1.5%), b-Vetivenene (0.2-1.4%), Cadalene (0-1.4%), a-Deydroar himachalene (0.7-1.2%), Oxydohimachalene (0.6-1.0%)

Description of Oil: A yellow, orange, or amber colored viscous oil with a warm, sweet, woody scent.

Description of Plant: Pyramid shaped evergreen tree with a majestic stature. The wood itself is hard and strongly aromatic due to the high percentage of essential oil it contains.

History, Folklore and Myth: Used by the ancient egyptians for embalming, cosmetics, and pufumery. The oil was an ingredient in a renowned poison antidote that was used for centuries. Traditionally used in the East for bronchial and urinary infections, as a preservative and incense. In the bible cedar trees are symbolic of abundance, fertility and spiritual strength.

Properties and Uses: Antiseptic, astringent, antiseborrheic, diuretic, expectorant, insecticide, sedative.

Precautions and Contraindications: None known

Other Interesting  Information: The best quality essential oil is obtained from wood chips from trees that are 20-30 years old.



Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Lawless, Julia. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Shaftesbury, Dorset. Element Books. 1995.

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

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