Cedrus deodara or Himalayan Cedar
It was a lucky sunny day of June 2016 at Kew Gardens – London, we were very much enjoying our tour of this unique botanical garden guided by Dr. Viv Anthony, a renowned botanist and aromatherapist who practices in Switzerland. She had dozens of essential oils flasks for us to discover at the same time with seeing the plants before our eyes, what an experience for the senses!
As we walked through the astonishing rose garden, a tall tree caught my attention there in the background of all this pinkish, whitish, reddish, yellowish beauties. I asked her who was this dark green impressive presence, she asked me to be patient as we will go and visit them: the Pinaceae family.
There were many family members, the Larix, the Tsuga, the Abies, all grandiose in their own species, yet I was drawn to one particular tree, as it appears to me in a majestic aura. I couldn't but bow before him in acknowledgment of its noble and imposing spirit, which I needed so much at that time. And I hugged him, smelling his bark like a mammal; deep in my limbic system this fragrance recalled the sentiment of security thus freedom innate to all existence. This I can call an organoleptic encounter! All my senses were captivated in awareness. This evergreen being transpires both fresh endurance and vigorous resilience.
With Cedrus deodara, I am safe. I have the strength and courage to grow. I can affirm myself. Nothing paralyses me from elevating my spirit.
Today, I mean Now, as I smell the essential oil extracted from the wood of a wild-grown tree in India, curiously come the image of an ever-flowing river surrounded by all the spring flowers of the world gathered together that put a large smile on my face and make me feel totally calm and centered.
The Himalayan cedar, Cedrus deodara is very close to his cousin the Atlas cedar, Cedrus atlantica. The term Cedrus come from the Arabic “kedron” which mean “strength - power”. However, this cedar’s name, Deodar, derives from Sanskrit that translates to "timber of the gods." The tree is native to the Himalayas, where it has been known to reach 60 meters tall and live up to thousands of years. Upon first sight, you can recognize its elegant, pendulous branches with an attractive coloring and a certainly good-looking pleasing shape. Cedarwood is also immutable because its wood contains a high percentage of essential oils that no parasite, no bacteria, no fungus can attack.
According to Peter Holmes, Cedrus deodara has a similar odour to Atlas cedarwood (from Morocco) but “without the pronounced sweetness and with a stronger dry-woody note. The chemical profile is also very similar, as are its therapeutic functions and uses”. Nevertheless, Lydia Bosson recommend using more appropriately Cedrus atlantica when aiming for a better grounding whereas Cedrus deodara is to seek a higher connection with the heaven.
As stated in “Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit”: the oil’s deeply virile woody-balsamic aroma is one that helps us to take a negative or threatening situation, and transform it into an experience from which we can derive strength and wisdom.
Its dry-woody fragrance energy calm, stabilize and restore.
On the psychological level, Cerdarwood stabilizes the mind and promotes realism and emotional security as well as cognitive flexibility.
On the physiological level, it acts on the nervous, circulatory, digestive, urinary and respiratory systems. It is a nervous sedative and restorative, an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, an antihistamine and antiallergic, an mucosal restorative and mucostatic, a venous decongestant and diuretic, and a lymphatic stimulant.
Typically, all kind of applications aid:
Mild anxiety, insecurity, fearfulness, low self-esteem, resignation, low will power, poor perseverance, debility, burnout, cough with sputum, bladder irritation, vaginal itching and discharge, overweight, water retention, varicose veins, swollen glands.
Cedrus deodara is relatively safe to use even in high dilution, it is non skin-irritant and non-sensitizing. Nonetheless be cautious not to confuse Cedarwood from the Pinaceae family with other trees from the Cupressaceae family that are also called Cedar, such as and to name a few Red Cedar – Juniperus virginiana or Texas Cedar – Juniperus Mexicana with very different properties and White Cedar – Thuya occidentalis that is more aggressive and must be used with caution as it can be highly toxic.
Holmes, Peter. 2016. Aromatica: A clinical guide to essential oils therapeutics. Singing Dragon.
Mojay, Gabriel. 1996. Aromatherapy for healing the spirit: Restoring emotional and mental balance with essential oils. Healing arts press.
Bosson, Lydia. 2011. L'aromathérapie énergétique: Guérir avec l'âme des plantes. Amyris.
Myself in connection with Cedrus deodara at Kew Garden - London, Photo by Gabriel Mojay June 2016.
Cedrus deodara at sunrise in Alton, Hampshire, England: By Ericoides (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Old Cedrus deodara, Manali Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh, India; 2500m altitude.By Paul Evans from London, United Kingdom - DSC00483.JPG, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9471983