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"Libraries: The medicine chest of the soul."
Library at Thebes, inscription over the door
Cypress essential oil is extracted from the ancient cypress tree.  The cypress tree has been used for centuries as a medicinal aid.

Ancient Use of Cypress

The cypress tree (Cupressus sempervirens) belongs to the ancient Cupressaceae plant family; due to its age, the cypress tree has been used by several ancient civilizations. Chinese Medicine has traditionally used the cypress is used for purifying and cleansing. The ancient Egyptians used cypress wood to make coffins, as it was believed that cypress wood would not rot over time.  The ancient Greeks used cypress leaves and cones to treat internal bleeding and wounds;

Folklore Derivation of Cypress

Folklore legend tells that the cypress tree gained its name from the Greek Cyparissus; Cyparissus could not be consoled after killing a favorite stag in an accident.  He asked the Greek God Apollo if he could be allowed to grieve forever.  In response, Apollo turned Cyparissus into a cypress tree, a place where others could grieve. Today, there are many cypress trees found in European graveyards; it is also thought that the fragrance released by cypress trees helps to comfort the bereaved. 

Botanical Profile of Cypress

The cypress tree is a tall, evergreen tree that is shaped like a cone; it releases a very fragrant aroma.  The cypress tree produces small flowers and round gray-brown nuts.  Cypress essential oil is produced by steam distillation of the twigs and needles of the cypress tree; cypress oil has a fresh, warm and woody aroma, similar to that of pine.

The cypress tree is native to the eastern Mediterranean region and is found growing wild in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, the UK and North Africa; the cultivation of the cypress tree for distillation of essential oil is primarily carried out in France, Morocco and Spain.

Cypress Oil for Aromatherapy Use

Cypress essential oil has many properties.  It is astringent, antiseptic, tonic, deodorant, an insect repellent and antispasmodic.  Cypress oil can be used in the treatment of stress, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, nervous conditions, bronchitis, asthma, poor circulation, fatigue, oily skin, grief and anger; it also useful to use in times of transition and change such as in death, end of a relationship or an old way of life and moving house. 

Identification of Cypress Essential Oil

In aromatherapy, Cupressus sempervirens is the best essential oil to use; however, other species of cypress which also produce an essential oil include Cupressus lusitanica.  It is essential to correctly identify an essential oil by its Latin name, rather than the general English name, to ensure the correct oil is being used for the problems identified.

Cautions for Using Cypress Essential Oil

Cypress essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing; however, as is the advice when using any essential oil, cautions should be taken if unfamiliar with the use of essential oils and the effects of essential oils.  Some individuals may present conditions that may be contra-indicated in the use of a particular essential oil.

References:

Harding, Jennie 2005 Aromatherapy Massage for You UK: Duncan Baird Publishers
Lawless, Julia 1995 The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils UK:Thorsons


This article was written by Sharon Falsetto and appeared in its original format on Suite101 as Cypress Essential Oil

It is expressively prohibited to copy or use this article in any way unless written permission is given by the author Sharon Falsetto.  If it is discovered that copyright laws have not been complied with, legal action will be pursued by the author Sharon Falsetto.


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