Cedar (Xue Song)
Botanical Name: Cedrus libani (Lebanon cedar), Cedrus deodara (Himalayan cedar), Juniperus virginiana (Eastern US cedar).
Cedar is an ancient healing tree associated with many sacred rites and healing powers by many cultures of the world. Native American peoples used it to treat a wide variety of conditions, including coughs, fevers, and bronchitis, and to help prevent infections. The incense is considered a powerful purifier and has been used by Native Americans, the Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and many other cultures to prepare for sacred ceremonies, prayer, and meditation.
Watch a short video, from Ann Christensen, Founder and Creator of White Rabbit Institute of Healing™ – Cedar As A Sacred.
Below is an overview of cedar, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of cedar.
How to take FULL advantage of Cedar's healing powers...
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Western Name: Cedar
Also Known As: Tree of Life, Arbor Vitae, Lebanon Cedar, Red Juniper, Red Cedar, Pencil Cedar
Organs/Systems: Respiratory, Skin, Cardiovascular, Genitalia
Key Actions: Antiseptic, Astringent, Antimicrobial, Antifungal, Diuretic, Expectorant, Sedative, Inhalant, Disinfectant, Purification, Insecticide
Medicinal Uses: Coughs, colds and flu, fevers, tuberculosis, bronchitis, improve digestion, bruises, purifies the environment, insomnia, diabetes, detoxifies the body, increases the flow of urine, water retention, promotes delayed menses, calm, stress, eczema, acne, fungal infections, ringworm, athlete’s foot, minor wounds, hair loss, syphilis, leprosy, repel ticks, fleas, termites, ants, mosquitos, cockroaches, flour beetles, and moths.
Pin Yin: Xue Song
Also Known As: Red Cedar, Hong Shan Shu
Meridians: Lung, Kidney, Bladder
Key Actions: Relieves Damp Cold, Relieves Skin Disorders, Opens the Mind
Medicinal Uses: Colds and flu, coughs, sore throats, bronchitis, tuberculosis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, prevent skin infections, acne, eczema, itchy skin conditions, warts, hemorrhoids, detoxify, bladder infections, constipation, digestion, flatulence, cleanse the body, open the mind, raise the spirit, calm.
Basic Habitat / Botany:
Cedar is a coniferous tree in the Pinaceae family, with many different known varieties. There are five taxa of Cedrus. It is a flat-topped, conical tree that can grow upwards of 30 feet or more. It has spicy-scented resinous bark that is thick ridged or square-cracked. The leaves are evergreen and needle-like arranged in an open spiral phyllotaxis on long shoots and in dense spiral clusters of 15-45 together. The seed cones are barrel-shaped and about 6-12 cm long and 3-8 cm broad. Cone maturation takes one year, with pollination occurring in the autumn.
Indigenous to Lebanese mountains, Southwest Turkey, Cyprus, the Himalayas, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Cedar likes moist and wet forest environments.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Oil, Leaf, Wood, Recently Dried Leafy Young Twig, Berry
Flavors/Temps: Bitter, Aromatic, Warming
Caution: Cedar leaves and berries are generally safe. The berries used in large doses can cause stomach upsets, and the leaves, containing higher levels of the compound thujone, which is quite toxic, can also cause serious health issues if used in high doses. Do not use it during pregnancy as it can stimulate the uterus for promoting delayed menses.
Key Constituents: Volatile oil (including Cedrine, Athantol, and Atlantone) Fenchone, Thujone, Proanthocyanidins, Resveratrol, Flavonoids, Glycosides, Resin, Tannins, Terpinene, Vitamin C (very high)
History/Folklore: Cedars are often confused with cypress or juniper trees, over time this has led to many trees being inaccurately named “cedar.” The Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata), Yellow Cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis), and the Mexican White Cedar (Cupressus lusitanica) are all actually cypress trees. Their healing properties, however, are the same as that of the cedar.
Cedar is resistant to decay and termites. Native Americans utilized every part of the tree. Spears and arrows from the wood and leaves and branches were used for insecticides, incense, and medicinally to treat a wide range of diseases.
Cedar is a strong disinfectant with a long history of treating lung infections. The tips of leaves can be made into a tea to treat coughs and colds and an infusion of the leaves can topically treat athlete’s foot and ringworm. A decoction of the heartwood is given for chest infections, insomnia, and diabetes. The essential oil has been prescribed for syphilis and leprosy. The twigs may produce an abortion by reflex action on the uterus from severe gastrointestinal irritation.
Both fenchone and thujone, compounds found in cedar, can stimulate the heart muscle.
An injection of the tincture into venereal warts is said to cause them to disappear.
Cedar blended with sage is recommended for a tea that can cleanse the body of all infections. Cedar helps improve the flow of blood and helps to activate the immune system further supporting the health of the body’s systems.
Cedar is commonly used to make shoe trees (wooden inserts for shoes) as they can absorb moisture and deodorize.
Cedar is said to have been brought to Britain in 1566. In Ancient times, cedar timber was used by the Phoenicians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians. The Egyptians used it for shipbuilding and the Ottoman Empire used it for railway construction.
Cedar is the symbol of Lebanon as the country was once shaded by thick cedar forests, called the Cedars of God, these forests are now much smaller, and survive only in the mountainous regions and slopes of Mount Makmel that tower over the Kadisha Valley.
Cedar is associated with strength. It has a long tradition of being used in prayers, healing, and dreams, and as a protection against disease. It is a symbol of generosity and there are Native American Tribes that had extensive rituals regarding the felling of cedar trees. Native American weavers make beautiful baskets out of narrow strands taken from the bark without injuring the tree.
In the bible, cedar is the Symbol of Mary. It is named strong and durable, graceful and beautiful, fragrant, and spreading wide. In religious paintings of Mary, there will often be a depiction of a cedar tree included.
Cedar berries are used to make gin. In large doses, they can become mildly toxic, but in proper doses, they are also used medicinally. They are high in nutrients and contain the same anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antidiabetic properties as the leaves. They are also antifungal and antibacterial.
Cedar berries are technically what is called a juniper. While they look like small blueberries, they are made up of soft scales that have coalesced, essentially a cone, though looking like a berry.
Gardens of Babylon
It is said that cedar was used to build the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Solomon’s Temple.
An ancient Lakota legend says the dried herb of the cedar is the Thunder Being’s (Wakinyan) favorite. Wakinyan will not strike cedars with lightning. The wood of the cedar is used to store feathers and other delicate and sacred items.
Cedar is specifically mentioned in Homer’s Iliad (book 24) referring to the cedar-roofed storage chamber where Priam goes to fetch treasures to use as ransom.
Take FULL advantage of Cedar (Xue Song)!
Connecting Eastern and Western perspectives on HOW and WHY this herb works. Find out how to safely and effectively use this healing herb for treating conditions and for your Body, Mind, and Spirit. Find True Health. Explore uses, safety information, benefits, history, recipes, gardening tips, essential oil information, if it applies, and much, much more in this online course.
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