Western Red Cedarwood has been considered the cornerstone of the Northwest Coast Aboriginal culture. They were Mother Earth’s First Nations and considered people of the Red Cedar. Coast Salish people wove baskets, used red cedar planks to both cook on and create dugout canoes, boxes and furniture. The bark was made into clothing, mats, fishing cords. They believed the Great Spirit declared the Red Cedar would be useful to the people for making all these things. And as the original herbalists and environmentalists, they did make good use of Red Cedarwood just as they made use of over 122 or more plants on Vancouver Island. I lived much of my life on the coast and like a mindful herbalist, I used Cedarwood in many of those ways: I wove baskets and cooked salmon on planks. Our family would spend time on the beach to collect seafood from the ocean, mushrooms and plants from the woods. It was Cedarwood that would cook our food. I was fortunate enough once to be invited to a Bighouse Potlach on Vancouver Island. I will never forget the scent of Cedar smoke and wood and the power of that spiritual gathering. The experience solidified my relationship with Mother Earth and a deeper respect for the First Peoples of Canada.
Western Red Cedarwood requires one’s respect when using the oil. It can be a skin irritant due to the thujone content but it is an intense oil worth knowing. The scent is fresh smelling due to branch distillation versus the bark. It is that walk in the forest I recall so well when hunting for wild mushrooms every rainy fall, the scent of rich earth, fungi and that familiar Dalmation Sage like scent. Western red Cedarwood is an oil that must be diluted for topical use to treat skin conditions or in muscle rubs for arthritic support of which it is well known for. I prefer it most as a diffused oil or for meditation, where I feel it encourages spiritual enlightenment. Sandalwood can be added to create a meditation blend but for me, one deep sniff of the oil is all I need, putting me right back at that Bighouse on Vancouver Island.
Suggested uses: Blends well with Sandalwood, various Cedarwood’s such as our Atlas Cedarwood, and Black Pepper. Can be used to treat Alopecia, Psoriasis and Arthritic conditions. Also helpful as an anti fungal as well as an insect repellant. Highly recommended to blend with Sandalwood oil for meditation purposes.
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