ATLANTIC CEDAR ESSENTIAL OIL (CEDRUS ATLANTICA):
Botanical Name: Cedrus atlantica
Common Method of Extraction: Steam distilled
Part Typically Used: Wood and sawdust
Color: Light golden yellow to golden yellow
Perfumery Note: Base
Strength of Initial Aroma: Woody, balsamic, rich dry overtones. Has a sweet and richly woody aroma with a camphoraceous base note.
Cedrus atlantica is a true cedar. It’s common name is referred to as Atlantic cedar and it is also known as the Moroccan cedarwood. Cedrus atlantica, the Atlas cedar, is a cedar native to the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco. Fully grown, Atlas cedar is a large coniferous evergreen tree, 30–35 m tall, with a trunk diameter of 2 m. It is very similar in all characters to the other varieties of Lebanon cedar, differences are hard to discern. The wood is very aromatic due to the high content of essential oil it contains.
Because cedars are reputed to be very long lived, they have been grown in churchyards. An enormous grove of cedars of Lebanon – from which King Solomon is said to have built his temple – exists still on the slopes of Mount Lebanon. The first cedar of Lebanon planted in Britain was in the Thames valley in 1646 – and it is still alive and healthy.
Cedars are the trees most mentioned in the Bible, symbolizing every¬thing that was fertile and abundant. The wood and its oil were used in embalming by the Ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians used cedarwood in the embalming process and as a perfume ingredient.
Cedarwood has a long history as an incense and perfume. The wood was burned by the Greeks and Romans to fragrant the air.
For therapeutic use, the only recognized oil of cedar is that from the Atlantic, or Atlas, cedar which grows in Morocco. The Moroccans produced some 6 – 7 metric tonnes of oil per year in the late 1980 Cedarwood oil is steam-distilled from the wood itself, and it is like syrup, yellowish and very balsamic, it has a turpentine scent, but one which is sweeter and more agreeable, similar in some ways to sandalwood.
Cedarwood was used to construct coffins. Like all conifers, Cedar is associated with eternal life and so it was hoped that a body placed in coffin fashioned from its wood would find easier access to the Otherworld.
Cedarwood essences, wood, wood shavings or powders were used in early potpourri and anti-moth bags. Many expensive fish are smoked over cedarwood.
FOOD / COOKING:
MEDICINE / HEALTH:
BEAUTY / COSMETICS:
It was also much used for incense, the scent being considered particularly purifying and sacred. It was used to consecrate ritual objects and to cleanse the ceremonial grounds. It helps focusing on the magical intent and to align with one’s highest purpose.