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Cedrus atlantica

Cedrus atlantica

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Atlas cedarwood, cedarwood, blue atlas

Original Habitat

This tree is found both in Morocco and in Algeria, growing in the Atlas and Riff Mountains in these areas. Cedrus atlantica is well suited to drought conditions once it has matured. An evergreen, Cedrus atlanica can grow upwards of 60 feet with needles that are greenish to silvery blue in colour and purplish cones towards the top of the tree. The oil of this tree has been used to repel insects such as moths. This tree can thrive in dry or clay-like soil, but cannot survive wet soils that are not well drained.[1][2]

Plant Part Used



C. atlantica oil is used in products for hair and scalp, in perfumes as a fixative, and in therapeutic aromatherapy as single oil and in formulas.


The oil is steam distilled from the wood and is a viscous liquid and light to medium yellow in colour with a light balsam or woody fragrance having a warm or medium note.[3]

Chemical Constituents

Sesquiterpenes: (50%)
Sesquiterpenol: (30%) atlantol
Sesquiterpenones: (20%) atlantone [4][5][6][7]

Medicinal Uses

Stimulates the lymph+++
Arterial regenerator++
Lipolytic+++ [8][9][10]

Antibacterial- Antibacterial action was shown against gram (+/-) bacteria from four diterpene alcohols obtained from Cedrus atlantica.[11]

Traditional Use

Cellulite, Water Retention+++
Lymphatic drainage+++ [12][13]

Cedarwood oil is lipolytic and lymphatic. It stimulates blood circulation and metabolism, acts as a diuretic and has a stimulating effect. It is non-aggressive and long lasting.

Contraindications and Precautions

Contains ketones and should not be used with children.[14]

There are no known reports of skin sensitization or photosensitivity.[15]



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]


  1. Rushforth K. Conifers. London: Christopher Helm; 1987.
  2. Lis-Balchin M. Aromatherapy science. Great Britain: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.
  3. Dubal, Sushilkumar A, Thiruselvam P, Ware, Adinath M, Momin SA. Cedarwood oil: an overview. Fafai Journal. 2008;10(2):81-83,85-87,89-92.
  4. Satrani B, Aberchane M, Farah A, Chaouch A, Talbi M. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of essential oils extracted from fractional hydrodistillation of Cedrus atlantica Manetti wood. Acta Botanica Gallica. 2006;153(1):97-104.
  5. Saab AM (Reprint), Harb FY, Koenig WA. Essential oil components in heart wood of Cedrus libani and Cedrus atlantica from Lebanon. Minerva Biotechnologica. Sep2005;17(3):159-161.
  6. Grimal E. The essence of the wood of atlas cedar. J. Chem. Soc. Abstr. 1903;84(1):46.
  7. Chalchat JC, Garry RP, Michet A, Benjilali B. Essential oil components in sawdust of Cedrus atlantica from Morocco. Journal of Essential Oil Research. 1994;6(3):323-325.
  8. Dakir M, El Hanbali F, Mellouki F, Akssira M, Benharref A, Quilez Del Moral JF, Barrero AF. Antibacterial diterpenoids from Cedrus atlantica. Nat Prod Res. Oct2005;19(7):719-722.
  9. Massy. Atlas cedar oil. Paris: Chimie et Industrie; 1922;8:464-465.
  10. Satrani B, Aberchane M, Farah A, Chaouch A, Talbi M. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of essential oils extracted from fractional hydrodistillation of Cedrus atlantica Manetti wood. Acta Botanica Gallica. 2006;153(1):97-104.
  11. Dakir M, et al. Antibacterial diterpenoids from Cedrus atlantica. Nat Prod Res. Oct2005;19(7):719-722.
  12. Massy R. Utilization in medicine of oil and of liquid tar of Cedrus atlantica. Bulletin de l'Institut du Pin. 1929;56:30-31.
  13. Chevallier A. The encyclopedia of medicinal plants. London: Dorling Kindersley; 1996.
  14. Schnaubelt K PhD. Advanced aromatherapy: the science of essential oil therapy. VT: Healing Arts Press; 1995.
  15. Tisserand R, Balacs T. Essential oil safety: a guide for health care professionals. Churchill Livingston; 1995.

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