What is Thuja Essential Oil?
Derived from a tree better known for its decoration, it is certainly not one of the best known of the essential oils family but don’t let that deter you. Thuja essential oil has a number of impressive health benefits which range from treating rheumatism to improving respiration and much more besides.
Before we go on to look at the health benefits you can get from Thuja essential oil, let’s take a brief look at the plant from which it is derived. Thuja which is also known by its botanical name – Thuja Occidentalis or sometimes called white cedar is a medium sized coniferous tree native to the North and East of Canada as well as Northern areas of the United States.
These days it is widely cultivated as a decorative garden plant but it is also used for its essential oil which is derived from its leaves and branches by steam distillation and has a variety of health uses.
Composition and Properties
Thuja essential oil has a very pleasant, sweet fragrance similar to eucalyptus.
Its major chemical components include:
- Alpha pinene
- Alpha thujone
- Beta thujone
The documented therapeutic properties of the essential oil include antbacterial, anti-fungal, astringent, anti-rheumatic, expectorant, diuretic, emmenagogue and stimulant properties giving this under-appreciated oil many unexpected health benefits.
There are however some very serious safety concerns regarding the use of thuja essential oil and it is not recommended that you use it unless you are doing so under expert supervision.
Thuja Essential Oil Benefits
1. Rheumatism and Arthritis
For the vast number of people suffering from the painful effects of arthritis and rheumatism, thuja essential oil may be able to play its part in your recovery. You must dilute your thuja oil well with an appropriate carrier oil like coconut or sweet almond oil before massaging it into your joints and muscles.
While not the most popular choice of oils, it does have anti-rheumatic properties and the ability to improve circulation. Thuja essential oil is also a natural diuretic that can help the body to get rid of toxins like uric acid that contribute to conditions like rheumatism and gout.
2. For the Skin
While not among the best-known or most popular essential oils to treat the skin, thuja essential oil does contain antibacterial and astringent qualities that may be useful in combatting a variety of chronic skin conditions including acne, psoriasis and eczema.
It is also an excellent astringent which means it can be used as part of your skin care routine to strengthen the skin and improve its general appearance. It is important to dilute thuja essential oil before applying it topically because it can cause a severe skin reaction when used undiluted.
Thuja essential oil has natural diuretic properties that make it an ideal oil for detoxification purposes. Unless you have been hiding behind a box, you will be aware of the need to detoxify your body from time to time because of the accumulation of toxins that occur from environmental and dietary factors.
Detoxing your body from time to time will help take the strain of your major organs especially the liver which is otherwise overworked to the point of exhaustion. Because of its diuretic properties it helps you to urinate more often and with a higher volume and this in turn helps the body to excrete unwanted salts and toxins like uric acid from the system.
4. Congestion and Respiration
Despite the fact that thuja essential oil needs to be treated carefully when inhaled, it does have some outstanding expectorant properties that makes it a great choice for relieving congestion and easing your breathing.
If you are suffering from congestion because of the cold, bronchitis or any other illness, thuja essential oil can help relieve the congestion by loosening the phlegm and mucus responsible for obstructing your respiratory system.
5. Menstrual Symptoms
This essential oil may be helpful to the many women who suffer from the regular symptoms of menstruation. It can help relieve nausea, fatigue, bloating and abdominal pain. Many women also find that the aroma of thuja oil improves their emotional wellbeing and when inhaled or diffused could combat the mood problems associated with monthly menstruation.
6. For Warts and Skin Tags
If you are suffering from unsightly warts or skin tags, then there are many effective natural alternatives to medical procedures.
- Thuja essential oil can be applied directly to your wart or skin tag each day for as long as necessary and with any luck you will see your skin tags and warts disappear before too long.
7. Emotional Well-being
Like many essential oils, thuja might be very helpful in dealing with the emotional issues that affect so many of us. Stress, nerves, anxiety and panic attacks are a growing problem that affect millions of people and many of those either do nothing or resort to very powerful prescription drugs.
Many essential oils can help and very often it is a case of trial and error before you find the most suitable oil for your condition. There is no scientific proof that thuja essential oil can help but having said that, the power of smell is very subjective and scientific studies are not necessarily a gauge when it comes to your personal preference.
8. Insect Repellent
Thuja essential oil can be a great benefit to your health but it may also prove deadly to insects. People who have used it suggest that it can help repel and even kill the variety of unwanted guests that enter our homes including mosquitos, cockroaches, silver fish and ants.
- You can add a few drops of thuja essential oil to a water dispenser or diffuse it near your front door to prevent invasion as an alternative to the potentially dangerous chemical repellants available.
How to Use it
You can use thuja essential oil on its own but most essential oils perform even better when blended with other essential oils. Thuja essential oil blends especially well with cedar wood, geranium, tangerine, mandarin, neroli and lavender oil but there are plenty more options.
- You can inhale thuja essential oil so long as you are careful not to overdo it. When diffused in a machine it can help improve general mood, respiration and repel insects.
- When applied topically to treat the skin and muscles, it must be properly diluted with a suitable carrier oil.
- You can add a few drops to a hot compress and apply to your stomach to help with the symptoms of menstruation or to ease muscular pain.
- Add just a drop or two to your bath water to improve circulation and muscular pain.
Side Effects and Precautions
The reason that thuja essential oil is not popular among aromatherapy practitioners is that it has potentially serious side effects.
- It should never be taken internally and is considered toxic for the digestive and the reproductive system
- Pregnant women must never use thuja essential oil because of the potential effect on the fetus and the possibility of termination.
- Breast feeding mothers should also avoid using this oil.
- The thujone present in the oil can cause a severe skin reaction.
- Because of its potential toxicity, you should always consult your medical provider before using this oil.
Because of the safety concerns always try a small area first if applying topical–or inhale a small amount and make sure you do not have a reaction.