|INCI: ||Juniperus virginiana|
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CEDAR WOODJuniperus virginiana (Cupressacee)
Also known as Virginia juniper, red cedar is native to the Rocky Mountains region in North America. It's now also found in Morocco's Atlas mountains, where it grows wild in dense forests. Red cedar is an evergreen conifer than can grow to a height of thirty-three metres. Its thick trunk can grow to a diameter of one and a half metres. It has a characteristic red heartwood and blueish-grey needles.
The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the chipped wood (or sawdust) and is an orange-yellow liquid with a distinctive "pencil shavings" scent that's crisp and slightly balmy. It combines well with benzoin absolute and the essential oils of Copaiba, Cypress, Juniper, Patchouli, Rose and Vetiver.
popular herbalist tradition)
The leaves, twigs and bark of red cedar were used by indigenous North Americans to prepare infusions for treating all kinds of ailments.
Essential oil of red cedar is mainly comprised of cedrene, of which it is an important source. Non-toxic and non-irritant, it has excellent trichological properties (it's used as a treatment for oily hair) and is of proven efficiency in the treatment of acne. It's also widely used as an insect repellent: long before the invention of synthetic repellents, an ointment containing a mixture of red cedar oil and the essential oils of citronella and/or geranium was held to be the most effective defence against mosquito attack. For best results as an insect repellent, it should be used with a diffuser.
Red cedar oil is widely used in insecticides and moth sprays.
It's occasionally used in cosmetics and perfumes with a dry, woody note.