Herb Spotlight - Cedar Tips

Cedar Tips (Thuja occidentalis)  

Family: Cupressaceae

Part Used: Leaf; Bark 

Flavor/Aroma: Bitter

Energetics: Warming


More commonly known as Arbor Vitae, Cedar is indegenous to the Eastern North American regions, as well as parts of Europe. Cedar is mostly grown as an ornamental tree, but is steeped in mystical folklore and prized for its protective characteristics.


Cedar thrives in the cooler, wet climates of North America, and is found in misty forests such as the Cascade Mountains up into southern Alaska. It grows as a tall evergreen, with a cinnamon red or greyish trunk.¹ Cedar is adorned with flat, greenish yellow leaves, that are fragrant and soft; the flowers bloom in the late autumn and are slightly golden in color.

Cultivation and Harvesting:

Cedar tips are best harvested when the leaves are full and green, before the flowers appear. Although all parts of the Cedar are usable for medicinal purposes, we must be mindful when harvesting branches and bark. The essential oils in the Cedar leaves is highest in the late summer and fall, making this an ideal time to harvest.

Southern Oregon Cultivation:

Cedar trees are often found in the drier areas of the Willamette Valley and mountain ranges of Southern Oregon. They have a remarkably high shade tolerance, meaning saplings have a high chance of survival, even in densely wooded areas. Its seeds are numerous, and easily cultivated right in your backyard.

History and Folklore:

American Native Uses: Cedar is steeped in practical uses from building large canoes, durable clothing, water-tight basket weavings, strong cordage, and even entire houses.¹ There were tribes that used Cedar as medicine to treat headaches, colds and respiratory distress, arthritis, rheumatism², gout, as well as externally for rashes, burns, and swollen appendages. The leaves were also burned as smudges to energetically and physically cleanse the house and during ceremony. 

The Salish tribes referred to Cedar as “Long life giver”, “Rich women maker”, and “Mother”.

Modern Applications:

Cedar has been indicated to improve circulating blood flow, increasing oxygen absorption and availability, and improving our detoxification processes. Cedar has been supportive for enhancing immune function, soothe ulcers, bedsores, fungal infections³, warts, prostate issues, toothaches, and whooping cough. It has also been used to remedy bronchitis, asthma, pulmonary diseases, and urinary incontinence. Cedar is commonly used as a building material, landscaping adornment, and is also made into incense.

Uses and Preparations:

Dried Herb Tea Preparation: 

1-2 teaspoons per cup of water.

Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds. 

Dried Herb:

1 tablespoon of dried herb in one cup of cold water, and let it steep for several hours or overnight


1-2 mL up to three times per day.

Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.  


Add 1 oz. of the cold infusion tea to a pot and bring to a boil; deeply inhale for respiratory relief. 

Recommended Usage:

It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended usage amounts are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the usage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.


Not for use in pregnancy except under the supervision of a qualified practitioner due to the emmenagogue and abortifacient effects.


  1. Cedar. (2016, May 12). www.wildfoodsandmedicines.com/cedar/ 
  2. Thuja. Thuja occidentalis. Arbor vitae, White Cedar. (n.d.). www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/usdisp/thuja.html
  3. Naser, B., Bodinet, C., Tegtmeier, M., Lindequist, U. (2005, March). Thuja occidentalis (Arbor vitae): A Review of its Pharmaceutical, Pharmacological and Clinical Properties. www.ncbi.nlm.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1062158

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.