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Cedar (Cedrus spp.)

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Also listed as: Cedrus
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • 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.

Background
  • 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.

Evidence Table

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. GRADE *


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.

C
* 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 for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

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.

  • Insect repellent.

Dosing

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.

Safety

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.

Allergies

  • 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.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Insufficient available evidence.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Insufficient available evidence.

Attribution
  • 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).

Bibliography
  1. 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.
  2. Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Arch Dermatol 1998;134(11):1349-1352.
  3. Maciejewska A, Wojtczak J, Bielichowska-Cybula G, et al. [Biological effect of wood dust]. Med Pr 1993;44(3):277-288.
  4. 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.
  5. Singh AB, Kumar P. Aeroallergens in clinical practice of allergy in India. An overview. Ann.Agric.Environ.Med 2003;10(2):131-136.

Copyright © 2011 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.

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