Cedar (Xue Song)

Botanical Name: Cedrus libani (Lebanon cedar), C. deodara (Himalayan cedar)

Cedar has been a revered plant by many cultures throughout history. It is burnt for sacred ceremonies, cleansing energies, healing the lungs as well as used to make teas and infusions to treat a wide variety of ailments. The Cedars of God remain one of the last vestiges of the extensive forests of the Cedars of Lebanon that thrived in ancient times.

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Remember to check with your doctor before trying new medicines or herbal remedies, especially if you are taking other medication where drug interactions are possible.

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.

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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: Lungs, Skin, Heart, Genitalia

Key Actions: Antiseptic, Astringent, Antimicrobial, Antifungal, Diuretic, Expectorant, Sedative, Inhalant, Disinfectant, Purification, Insecticide

Medicinal Uses: Coughs, cold and flu, fevers, tuberculosis, bronchitis, improve digestion, bruises, purify the environment, insomnia, diabetes, detoxify the body, increase the flow of urine, water retention, promote 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: Lungs, Kidney, Bladder

Key Actions: Relieves Damp Cold, Relieves Skin Disorders, Opens the Mind

Medicinal Uses: Colds and flus, coughs, sore throats, bronchitis, tuberculosis, ringworm, athletes 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, 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 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 Eastern U.S. cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is actually in the juniper family. 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, remain the same as the cedar’s.

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, dedar timber was used by the Phoenicians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians. The Egyptians used it for ship building and the Ottoman Empire used it in 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, 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 as 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 in fact made up of soft scales that have coalesced, essentially a cone, though looking like a berry.

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Did you know?

Gardens of Babylon

It is said that cedar was used to build the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Solomon’s Temple.

Wakinyan's Favorite

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. Wood of the cedar is used to store feathers and other delicate and sacred items.
Fun fact!

Homer’s Iliad

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.

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ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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