Wood oils are essential oils derived from the wood, leaves, branches, or resin of trees. Today, we’re talking about cedarwood, vetiver, sandalwood, and black spruce. The benefits of wood oils range from supporting hair health to treating ADHD symptoms. Each oil has powerful properties that can aid in common issues and are especially good for emotional purposes. 

The Benefits of Woody Essential Oils 


Properties: anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, astringent, antifungal, anti-infectious, diuretic, sedative, insecticidal 

Cedarwood comes from the wood of the cedar tree and is considered a symbol of protection, wisdom, and abundance. You can use the oil both aromatically and topically to help with common concerns like hair loss, skin infections, unwelcomed insects, and more. 

How to Use Cedarwood Essential Oil: 

Hair Support: For a dry scalp, use cedarwood’s nourishing and antifungal properties to help heal and combat dandruff.  Mix 2 drops of cedarwood oil with a teaspoon or so of coconut oil and massage into the scalp. Let sit for 20 minutes and wash out. 

Purify & Deodorize Air: cedarwood has a wonderful woody scent and antifungal properties are perfect for freshening up a home. You can either add a couple of drops of cedarwood to your diffuser or try combining with any of these oils for a lovely blended aroma: frankincense, wild orange, myrrh. 

Skincare & Acne: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine published a study that found cedarwood oil to be helpful in controlling acne. We credit this to cedarwood’s antiseptic and antifungal properties. To help with blemishes, add 1 drop of cedarwood essential oil to your skincare (cleanser, moisturizer, etc.) and gently apply. You can also add a drop directly to a carrier oil and apply to the area of concern. Avoid eye area. 

Stress Relieving & Sleep Promoting: Aromatically, cedarwood can calm and relax the mind with its sedative effects. Add a couple drops to a diffuser before bed to help stop racing thoughts and promote a good night’s sleep. 

Foster Focus: A study found that cedarwood can reduce ADHD symptoms and improve brain activity. Cedarwood blends well with eucalyptus, floral oils, rosemary, clary sage, adn bergamot. A combo of these oils are going to help with memory and cognition. Inhale directly from the bottle or diffuse when you need to kick productivity into high gear. Check out our articles on using oils for ADHD, the best oils for back to school, and the 10 benefits of cedarwood essential oil for more information on this potent woody oil! 


Properties: antiseptic, antispasmodic, calming, grounding, immune stimulant, sedative (nervous system), circulatory stimulant 

Vetiver essential oil has been used for centuries in ancient cultures as traditional medicine for centuries to help heal, soothe, and calm. Today, it’s popularly known as one of the most grounding oils that can help with postpartum depression, insomnia, and more. In addition, the “oil of tranquility” can also treat common issues like acne, scars, and hormone imbalances! 

How to Use Vetiver Essential Oil: 

Relieve Anxiety, Stress, and Nervousness: A 2015 study found that inhalation of vetiver oil had the same effect of Diazepam, a prescription medication that treats seizures, muscle spasms, and anxiety, on rats! This promising research suggests that traditional use of vetiver is correct: that it can help relieve anxiety, tension, and nervousness. For anxious feelings, inhale straight from the bottle or diffuse a couple drops of the oil. 

Treat ADHD: Rather than prescription medication, vetiver has the potential to act as a natural remedy for ADHD. Results from a 2 year long case study found that vetiver had an increased performance of 100% and offered significant calming properties that helped with concentration, focus, fidgety behavior, and organization. To use, diffuser 3-5 drops or add 1-2 drops with equal parts carrier oil to each wrist. 

Heal Scars: Vetiver can regenerate and rebuild skin and tissue making it a perfect natural remedy to help heal scars and marks on the skin. Vetiver’s antiseptic properties can also reduce the risk of infection and kill bacteria for open cuts and wounds. Basically, keep vetiver on hand throughout the entire healing process of a cut or wound! Mix 2-3 drops of vetiver with coconut or jojoba oil and apply to the area of concern. For anti-aging and stretchmarks, add a couple drops to your moisturizer! 

Sandalwood (Hawaiian and Indian) 

Properties: antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-viral, expectorant, aphrodisiac, anti-tumor (1)  

Sandalwood essential oil is one of the most expensive oils on the market, and for a  good reason. Traditionally, sandalwood oil was used in religious ceremonies including births and weddings and to help deepen meditation practices. The sandalwood tree is considered holy, and to really reap the benefits of sandalwood the tree must grow for at least 40-80 years before the roots are harvested! 

Indian and Hawaiian Sandalwood are considered to be the best quality and purity rather than Australian Sandalwood. Praise for Sandalwood goes to its ability to induce mental clarity, promote relaxation, slow down aging, and more. 

How to Use Sandalwood Essential Oil:

Promote Relaxation and Calm: The Journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice  found that patients who received sandalwood aromatherapy prior to receiving palliative care felt much more calm and relaxed than those who didn’t. To use sandalwood to relieve anxiety, stress, and feelings of depression, inhale directly from the bottle or diffuse a couple of drops. 

Mental Clarity: the international journal Planta Medica studied the effects of sandalwood oil on attention and mood levels. The research found that sandalwood fostered high levels of attentiveness and mood. If you are looking for mental clarity and to increase productivity without all the jitters, inhale sandalwood directly from the bottle or diffuse a couple of drops. 

Treat Common Skin Issues: Sandalwood contains high levels of antioxidants that can help reduce free radical damage. It’s natural anti-inflammatory properties can also help relieve acne, psoriasis, eczema, and wars, a study found. It’s antiseptic benefits will also aid in reducing skin irritation from pimples and warts as well as more minor irritations. For skin issues, add a drop or two of sandalwood to a carrier oil and apply to the area of concern. 

Black Spruce 

Properties: antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antioxidant, cortisone-like, disinfectant 

Historically, spruce was used by the Lakota Indians to enhance spirit communications. Black spruce oil is symbolic of earthly protection and energy enhancing. At night, it’s believed that wild animals lie under black spruce trees for protection and rejuvenation. Today, spruce oil is used to enhance meditation, help with bone pain and aching joints, as well as emotional balance. 

Aromatically, you can use black spruce oil to ground the body, release emotional blocks, and create balance in your life. Topically, you can use it for dry skin, massage, cooling, and more. 

How to Use Black Spruce Essential Oil:

Skin Health: Ancient Native Americans used Black Spruce as a powerful skin cleanser. Black Spruce’s anti-inflammatory properties as well as constituents alpha-pinene and bornyl acetate can help reduce redness and blemishes. Use Black Spruce to soothe skin irritations and promote a youthful glow. To use, dilute 1-2 drops of black spruce with a teaspoon or so of carrier oil and apply to skin. 

Emotional Balance: Black spruce can help slow down racing thoughts or an anxious mind. It’s fresh, coniferous, clean, and slightly sweet scent can help provide grounding and balance which are crucial to help release emotional blocks. Black spruce blends well with Eucalyptus, frankincense, helichrysum, and wintergreen. Try diffusing black spruce on its own or blending it with one of the aforementioned oils to enhance meditation and balanced emotions. 

Non-Toxic Cleaning: Black Spruce’s antibacterial and disinfectant properties make it a great alternative to toxic cleaning products. Diffuse the oil to cleanse airborne germs or add to a DIY All-Purpose Cleaning Spray to wipe down counters. 

Now that you’ve learned about the top benefits of woody oils and how to use our favorites, are you excited to give them a try? What benefits are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments section below!


  1. Modern Essentials Handbook. AromaTools, 2019.

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