Drugs A - Z
Cedar (Cedrus spp.)
Generic Name: Cedrus
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
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.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: 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.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. 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 healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
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.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
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
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, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): J. Kathryn Bryan, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Julie Goodfriend, PharmD (Northeastern University); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: 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.
Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Arch Dermatol 1998;134(11):1349-1352.
Maciejewska A, Wojtczak J, Bielichowska-Cybula G, et al. [Biological effect of wood dust]. Med Pr 1993;44(3):277-288.
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.
Singh AB, Kumar P. Aeroallergens in clinical practice of allergy in India. An overview. Ann.Agric.Environ.Med 2003;10(2):131-136.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.