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The ABCs of Essential Oils: Arborvitae

The western red cedar, or Arborvitae (Thuja plicata), is known as the “tree of life.” Not only is it majestic in size, it can live for over 800 years. Arborvitae essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and twigs and is highly concentrated in tropolones. Tropolones, such as hinokitiol, are a group of chemical compounds that protect against seasonal and environmental threats, promote healthy cell function, and contribute to the wood’s distinctive aroma. In addition, this species also has powerful purifying properties that contribute to Arborvitae’s natural insect repelling properties. Native to Canada, Arborvitae trees were used extensively by Native Americans for their numerous health benefits; as well as for building vessels, totem poles, baskets, and clothing. Historically, Arborvitae was also used by ancient civilizations to enhance their potential for spiritual communication during rituals and other ceremonies. Because of its natural preserving properties, Arborvitae prevents wood from rotting, which makes it popular in woodcraft and for preserving natural wood surfaces. Emotionally speaking, Arborvitae is known as The Oil of Divine Grace; whose Latin name means “to sacrifice.” This oil helps individuals that struggle with distrust, fear, and a need for control to relax, and assist the soul to live effortlessly by trusting in divine grace.

BOTANTICAL FAMILY: Cupressaceae (conifer: cypress)



EXTRACTION METHOD: Steam distillation from leaves and twigs


  • Blends With: Birch, Cedarwood, Cassia, Eucalyptus

  • Substitutions: Melaleuca, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Oregano (varies on use)


  • Soothes respiratory issues.

  • Powerful cleansing agent.

  • Wood preservative and natural insect repellent.

  • Assists the body with fungal issues.

  • Soothes troubled skin and protects against sun exposure.

  • Balances and soothes emotions.

  • Assists with proper cell function.

  • Provides bacterial support against airborne pathogens.


  • Apply to wrists and ankles while hiking.

  • Add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and spray on surfaces or hands to clean and protect against environmental threats.

  • Diffuse to purify air and repel insects from home.

  • Mix 4 drops of Arborvitae essential oil and 2 drops of Lemon essential oil with a carrier oil for an effective wood furniture and floor polish.

  • Mix in with mulch while gardening.

  • Apply to pulse points to promote healthy cell function.

  • Use during meditation for a sense of peace and calm.

  • Diffuse for a grounding aroma.

  • Massage 1 drop over the throat and chest every couple hours for respiratory support.


  • Negative: Willful, struggle, distrust, rigid, fearful, need to control

  • Positive: Peaceful, grounded, allowing, relaxed, grace filled, effortless living

CAUTIONS: Possible skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas.

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