Cedar (Cedrus spp.)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Cedar of Lebanon, cedars of Lebanon, cedarwood, cedarwood oil, Cedrus deodara, Cedrus libani, Coniferales, essential oils, Juniperus ashei, Pinaceae (family), Pinales, plicatic acid.
Note: Cedar (Cedrus spp.) should not be confused with Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese cedar), Thuja occidentalis (northern white cedar or eastern white cedar), Thuja plicata (western red cedar), or Juniperus spp. (mountain cedar or eastern red cedar) as they are not closely related. This monograph only includes information on Cedrus spp.
Cedar is native to the mountains of the western Himalayan and the Mediterranean regions. Because moths and other insects are repelled by the scent of the wood and oil, cedar wood has been used in closets and chests to preserve fabrics and textiles. In one clinical study, patients with alopecia areata who were massaged with a combination of cedarwood oil, other aromatic oils, and carrier oils had significantly improved symptoms. However, there are currently no further well-designed studies in humans available to support the use of cedar for any condition.
In atopic patients, cedar pollen may cause allergic symptoms, including asthma. Occupational exposure to cedar wood dust may have irritant, allergenic, or carcinogenic effects.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Alopecia areata (hair loss)
Alopecia areata, a disorder in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles causing loss of hair on the scalp, face, and other parts of the body, is a difficult condition to treat. Massage with cedarwood in carrier oils may improve the symptoms of alopecia areata. However, additional studies are needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (over 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for cedar in adults.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for cedar in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to cedar, its pollen, its constituents, wood dust, or members of the Pinaceae family.
Atopic populations may experience allergic symptoms, including asthma, after exposure to cedar pollen. Occupational exposure to wood dust may have irritant and allergenic effects as well, including bronchial asthma, rhinitis (hay fever), inflammation in the lungs caused by inhaling dust, organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS), bronchitis, allergic dermatitis, and conjunctivitis (pinkeye).
Side Effects and Warnings
There is currently insufficient available evidence to assess the safety of taking cedar by mouth. Cedar is likely safe when cedarwood oil in carrier oils is applied to the skin. However, in sensitive patients, cedar pollen may cause allergic symptoms, including asthma. Occupational exposure to cedar wood dust may have irritant, allergenic, or carcinogenic effects, and may increase the risk of Hodgkin's disease. There may also be a possible increased risk of lung cancer. Microorganisms in the wood may cause alveolitis allergica and ODTS aspergillomycosis (fungus infections), bronchial asthma, and rhinitis.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Cedar is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Insufficient available evidence.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Insufficient available evidence.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Bist A, Kumar L, Roy I, et al. Clinico-immunologic evaluation of allergy to Himalayan tree pollen in atopic subjects in India--a new record. Asian Pac.J Allergy Immunol 2005;23(2-3):69-78. View Abstract
Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Arch Dermatol 1998;134(11):1349-1352. View Abstract
Maciejewska A, Wojtczak J, Bielichowska-Cybula G, et al. [Biological effect of wood dust]. Med Pr 1993;44(3):277-288. View Abstract
Ohrui T, Funayama T, Sekizawa K, et al. Effects of inhaled beclomethasone dipropionate on serum IgE levels and clinical symptoms in atopic asthma. Clin Exp Allergy 1999;29(3):357-361. View Abstract
Singh AB, Kumar P. Aeroallergens in clinical practice of allergy in India. An overview. Ann.Agric.Environ.Med 2003;10(2):131-136. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017