Essential Oil Profile: Cypress

by Amelia E. Stone, RN


Common Name: Cypress

Latin Binomial: Cupressus sempervirens

Family: Cuprressaceae

Other Common Names: Italian cypress, Mediterranean cypress, Common Cypress

Production Method: Steam Distilled

Countries of Origin: Crete

Typical Constituents: α-Pinene (20.4-52.7%), δ-3-Carene (15.2-21.5%), Cedrol (2.0-7.0%), α-Terpinyl acetate (4.1-6.4%), Terpinolene (2.4-6.3%), [+]-Limonene (2.3-6.0%), b-Pinene (0.8- 2.9%), Sabinene (0.7- 2.8%), b-Myrcene (<2.7%), δ-Cadinene (1.7-2.6%), Terpinene-4-yl-acetate (1.2-2.1%), α-Terpineol (1.2-1.4%), Sandaracopimaradiene (0.2-1.3%), ρ-Cymene (0.2-1.2%), γ-Terpinene (0.4-1.1%), Terpinen-4-ol (0.3-1.0%), Borneol (tr-1.0%)

Description of Oil: pale yellow or colorless, scent reminiscent of pine needles and juniper berry with a unique dry-out of a delicate and tenacious sweetness; woody and slightly spicy yet refreshing

Description of Plant:  a tall, conical evergreen with hard reddish yellow wood and brown gray cones

History, Folklore and Myth: It was said that Apollo transformed a young Greek named Cuparissos into the Cypress tree.  There is also a legend that the Cross was made from the wood and generally seems to have a connection with death.  The Greeks and Romans planted it in their burial grounds and Pluto, god of the underworld, lived in a palace beside which grew the Cypress tree.  The Greeks also used it for sculpting statues of their gods because it does not decay easily.

Properties and Uses: antiperspirant, antiseptic, antitussive, astringent, detoxifier, vasoconstrictor

Precautions and Contraindications: Avoid old or oxidized oils

Other Interesting Information: toning effect on veins


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

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

Sellar, Wanda. The Directory of Essential Oils. London: Random House. 2005

Shutes, Jade. Advanced Aromatherapy Certification Program. East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. 2014

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